Offensive Line Has Its Hands Full

FAYETTEVILLE -- Mike Markuson's hair was a mess after Saturday's 27-10 Arkansas win against Alabama.

The Hogs' offensive line coach pulled it out watching his guys go up against the Southeastern Conference's top-rated defense.

"It was welcome to the SEC for a young football team," Markuson said. "Particularly when we were having trouble moving the football, guys were beginning to wonder, 'Hey, what's going on?'"

Alabama often stacked the line with seven and eight defenders, putting as much pressure on the Hogs' offensive front as it's seen all season.

Arkansas even gave up its first sack in the first quarter when 'Bama's Mark Anderson, blitzing from the blind side, and Todd Bates sandwiched quarterback Matt Jones for an eight-yard loss.

Jones was sacked again in the first for a 10-yard loss when he slipped while trying to duck out of a tackle by Alabama's Chris Harris.

"They had a ton of people in the box," said Razorbacks right tackle Zac Tubbs. "They were some tough cats to block. They were big and physical and their linebackers moved around real well."

The Hogs entered Saturday averaging more than 500 yards per game, but were limited to 100 yards heading into their last drive of the first half which covered 84 yards.

They were inconsistent running the ball (season-low 4.3 yards per carry) and never established an efficient passing game (season-low seven completions for 122 yards).

"It just got real stagnant there for a while and got tough," Markuson said. "You got to go through those hard times in a football game. And it's all about poise and confidence and keeping your cool and look what happened."

The Hogs put together an 80-yard scoring drive which ate up more than five minutes in the fourth quarter and put the game out of reach.

The final play exemplified Markuson's comment when left guard Stephen Parker pulled and pancaked linebacker Freddie Roach to pave the way for Peyton Hillis' seven-yard touchdown run.

"We mixed it up a little bit on them," Markuson said. "It was some new looks that we haven't shown in the prior three games, but it was still basically our base offense and you have to be proud of the way the guys executed there.

"We're going to learn a lot from this game."

First Pick
Michael Coe's first-quarter interception of a Marc Guillon pass intended for Tyrone Prothro was the first given up by the Tide in 78 passing attempts this season.

Prothro appeared to make the catch until Coe stripped it out of his hands.

"We got great pressure from the defensive line right there," said Coe, who went up and over Prothro to make the pick. "The receiver was about 5-foot-9 or 5-10, so I had about four inches on him and that helped.

"If it was a 6-3 receiver, it probably would have been a catch."

The interception came a play after Jones had a pass picked off.

"That's two weeks in a row that after a turnover, we come out and get it right back," said UA defensive coordinator Dave Wommack. "I can't think of a bigger lift than that."

Honorary Captain
Former Razorbacks tailback Gary Anderson was an honorary captain. He is the coach of the Arkansas Twisters Arena-2 Football League team in Little Rock.

Anderson was a four-year letterman for the Hogs from 1979-82, gaining 1,999 yards on the ground and another 3,074 yards in receiving and kick return yards. He holds the Razorbacks' record for punt returns with 115.

Anderson was drafted in the first round of the 1983 draft by the San Diego Chargers and also played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Arkansas Men's Athletic Department will present an honorary captain for each Fayetteville home game this season.

For Starters
Arkansas started Sam Olajubutu at middle linebacker in place of Clarke Moore, the starter there the first three games.

Olajubutu, who started eight games a year ago, had seven tackles while also forcing and recovering a fumble.

Moore, who came in at the start of 'Bama's third possession, had five tackles.

Injury Report
Starting tailback DeCori Birmingham didn't play the second half with back spasms.

He was replaced by De'Arrius Howard on offense and by Carlos Ousley on punt returns.

Cornerback reserve Chris Houston dressed, but did not play with a sprained right ankle. Coe injured his left ankle in the first half, but returned after being replaced by true freshman Matterral Richardson for a series.

Jones Sets Record
Jones surpassed former UA quarterback Clint Stoerner for the all-time touchdown responsibility.

Jones' six-yard touchdown run in the first quarter gives him 63 total touchdowns, both running and passing.

First Time Out
Alabama native and Arkansas scout team linebacker Donovan Johnson dressed out for the first time on Saturday.

Johnson, who wore No. 40, is a true freshman and the younger brother of former Razorbacks linebacker Quinton Caver.

Leach On Sidelines
Hogs reserve quarterback Landon Leach had successful reconstructive surgery on his throwing (right) shoulder earlier this week. He wore a sling on the sidelines and is not expected to return this season.

Hawgs Daily Top Stories