Hogs Better Prepared For Big-Play Threat

FAYETTEVILLE -- Cornerback Chris Houston only needed two words to sum up everything he remembered about Louisiana-Monroe's offense last September.

"Deep ball," Houston said. "That's it. Deep ball."

Houston said it's hard to forget something like quarterback Steven Jyles' 77-yard touchdown pass to receiver Drouzen Quillen. It's even harder to forget the Indians' 278 passing yards, 8 pass plays of 15 yards or more and 20 points in the first half.

The barrage temporarily turned a typical, nonconference snoozer into a first half nail biter the Hogs eventually won 49-20. So Arkansas cornerbacks coach Bobby Allen hopes the Razorbacks will be better prepared for the Indians -- and their big-play capabilities -- when the teams meet in War Memorial Stadium on Saturday.

"They threw the ball around and did a great job," Allen said. "I was as impressed with Monroe as I was with anybody we played last year.

"We haven't forgotten about those guys from last year."

How could they? Jyles averaged 21.4 yards a completion in the first half against the Hogs and finished with 298 yards. Quillen's touchdown catch was the longest of his career and the biggest chunk of his 3-catch, 127-yard day.

Tight end Joey Trappey also did plenty of damage, hauling in a 50-yarder as part of his 4-reception, 105-yard performance.

"I know they got a couple of big plays on us they shouldn't have gotten," Arkansas strong safety Vickiel Vaughn said. "They came out fired up and we were a little lackadaisical in the first half."

Arkansas defensive coordinator Reggie Herring said the Razorbacks can't afford the same attitude Saturday because the Indians will be hard to contain.

He expects Louisiana-Monroe to use "every formation known to man and probably every trick play" against Arkansas, which is surrendering 264 passing yards a game. Herring said the Indians operate out of the shotgun "95 percent of the time" and will spread the field, run the option and get several players involved.

"It's an offense that, regardless of the name of the school, regardless of the caliber of their team, they run an offense that if you're not ready to play and you're not prepared, you can get embarrassed," Herring said. "That's what we're trying to get across to our kids. It's going to be a tremendous challenge to get lined up and to defend them because they're everywhere on every play."

Arkansas made a dramatic improvement one week after surrendering 70 points and 736 yards against Southern California, holding the Crimson Tide in check during the 24-13 loss. But the performance was tainted by the defense's last play, when the Razorbacks left Alabama wide receiver DJ Hall all alone. Quarterback Brodie Croyle hit Hall for an easy, 5-yard score that gave the Crimson Tide it's game-winning cushion.

"We don't want to leave anybody uncovered this week," Herring said. "I'll leave it at that."

Jyles doesn't have the name recognition of Croyle, Vanderbilt's Jay Cutler or USC's Matt Leinart, but will be the fourth consecutive senior quarterback Arkansas has faced. He has completed 90 of 167 passes for 983 yards with 5 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. Jyles also has rushed for 177 yards and 4 more scores.

He was named the Sun Belt Conference player of the week Monday after leading the Indians to a 31-27 win at Arkansas State. Jyles, a dual threat, rushed for two touchdowns, threw two more and holds ULM's career total offense record.

"He's a senior quarterback and any time you're facing a senior quarterback, what you're involved in is he's got more composure," Herring said. "He's got more confidence, experience. He knows when to tuck it down to run. When to throw.

Trappey and Quillen are his favorite receivers, combining for 34 catches.

Allen said Trappey is utilized as an H-back in the Indians' system and has good speed and soft hands. The 6-foot-6, 215-pound Quillen is Louisiana-Monroe's big-play threat with four touchdown catches, including 58- and 30-yarders last week.

"He's one of the biggest (receivers) I've ever played," Houston said. "When you're playing off and the ball is in the air, you've got to be in perfect position. That's a corner's worst nightmare, being in bad position when you're 5-11 and he's 6-6."

Herring said the Razorbacks must be extremely disciplined if they intend to slow Louisiana-Monroe's offense, which gained confidence during its 409-yard outing against Arkansas State. He said the Indians are a "major, major" concern for his unit, which gave up a 43-yard touchdown pass from Croyle to Hall on Sept. 24.

Houston said the Razorbacks understand the threat and are approaching Saturday's game with a different attitude this season.

After the surprise attack last September, Houston said the Hogs are taking the Indians seriously.

"We were just freshmen going in there (last season) thinking, 'This is Louisiana-Monroe,'" Houston said. "But once you get in the game, it's a different story.

"We've grown up a lot now. We know what to expect."

Hawgs Daily Top Stories