Hogs Offensive Line Taking Alternate Route

FAYETTEVILLE -- Since Texas didn't show much of its revamped defense during last Saturday's 65-0 win against North Texas, Arkansas' offensive line has had to take an alternate route in their preparation for Saturday night's game against the Longhorns.

First-year defensive coordinator Greg Robinson has installed an aggressive, 4-3 scheme which centers around Longhorns linebacker Derrick Johnson and relies heavily on pressure up front from the defensive line.

Robinson was the architect behind the defense which led the Denver Broncos to back-to-back Super Bowl victories in 1997-98. He spent the past three seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs.

"I think they have a lot more stuff they're going to throw at us than what we saw (against North Texas)," said Hogs left guard Stephen Parker. "So we're going to watch some pro cutups from what (Robinson) did the last few year with the Chiefs. It's what we think he's going to do more than what they showed us Saturday."

Arkansas offensive line coach Mike Markuson isn't reading too much into what Robinson did in Kansas City. But the Chiefs were among the league leaders in sacks and stops behind the line of scrimmage, so Markuson does expect to see some blitzes thrown in Saturday.

"You've just got to kind of watch and see if there's some ideas," Markuson said. "You've only got one game to go off of and they didn't show a whole lot against North Texas, so you have to kind of generate your own ideas about what they might do.

"So it's kind of a guessing game."

The flip side of it is that Arkansas' offense didn't have to show much either during its 63-13 win against New Mexico State, meaning Texas may have to do some guessing as well.

"We didn't really have to run a lot of our plays, so it was a lot of vanilla out there," Parker said. "It'll be a little different this Saturday because it should be a closer game and we'll be able to incorporate more plays into our offense.

"Plus, the atmosphere is supposed to be insane so we're going to be even more pumped."

Parker looked pumped against the Aggies when the sophomore graded out at 93 percent on run blocking and 100 percent on pass blocking in his first career start.

Markuson also was excited with the play of center Kyle Roper and right guard Gene Perry, who also were making their first starts.

As far as Texas, the offensive linemen still are trying to get a handle on what to expect Saturday.

"They all play technique really well," said right tackle Zac Tubbs. "There's some big boys in there (on Texas' defensive line) and it looks like they try to hold the line up, so Johnson can make plays."

No matter what's thrown at them, Markuson is confident his young offensive linemen are mature enough to make adjustments on the run.

"If they're giving us certain looks that we can't handle, we'll go to something else," Markuson said. "You really don't know what they'll do so you've just got to go out and play football.

"This is a huge test for them and this is where we will really see where they're at."

Tight Ends Thin
Junior tight end Jared Hicks didn't practice Tuesday and remains questionable for Saturday's game with a sprained right shoulder.

If Hicks is out, that means only Payne Hall and Mason Templeton bring game experience -- their first appearances were against New Mexico State -- into Saturday's matchup against Texas. True freshman Marc Winston also is expected to play.

"They really wanted to redshirt me," Winston said. "But they don't think they're going to be able to because of certain circumstances that have come up. Coach told me to be ready to go, so I told him I welcome the challenge and I'm more than ready to play."

Tight ends coach Clifton Ealy doesn't know whether Winston is ready, but added that he better be.

"Marc's got to be ready to go," Ealy said. "He's doing a lot of good things and nobody knows if they're ready until they get out there. But if we put him out there, we're counting on him to get the job done."

The Razorbacks opened in a two tight end set against New Mexico State and if they do it again, Templeton and Hall likely will start if Hicks can't return in time.

"You don't know what's going to happen so you have to go with the approach that you're preparing to play without him," Ealy said. "If Hicks is back from a coach's standpoint then that's great. But if not, we've got to be ready and have the mindset that he's not coming back."

League Of Their Own
Arkansas found itself on top of the Southeastern Conference in eight different categories after the first week of the season.

Some of those include categories like scoring offense (63 points), total offense (548 yards), passing offense (327 yards), turnover margin (plus-3), passing efficiency (230.7) and third-down conversions (68.8 percent). The Razorbacks also are tied for the conference lead in sacks (three) and sacks against (zero).

Individually, Jones is No. 1 in the conference in passing efficiency (204.2) after completing 13 of 16 passes for 195 yards and touchdown in the opener. Arrion Dixon leads the league in tackles for losses (3) and was named SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week for his efforts.

Grid Bits
True freshman Jamaal Anderson spent time with the first team defense in place of bandit end Marcus Harrison, a true freshman who started Saturday's game but was limited in Tuesday's practice with a sprained left knee. Redshirt freshman Derek Moore worked in place of Anderson on the second team ... Linebacker Michael Robinson attended Tuesday's practice in plain clothes and it's not clear when he'll return after suffering a seizure during practice a week ago ... Defensive tackle Titus Peebles continues to improve, but was limited Tuesday with a sprained left ankle ... Several scout teamers were in different-colored uniforms Tuesday to simulate Texas' players such as Hogs 6-6 receiver Anthony Brown posing as 6-5 quarterback Vincent Young.

Morning News Staff Writer Robbie Neiswanger Contributed To This Report.

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