Arkansas Preparing For Another Rushing Test

FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas linebacker Sam Olajubutu has a pretty good idea what fourth-ranked Georgia has planned for the Razorbacks on Saturday.

Who wouldn't after Arkansas' 34-17 loss to Auburn?

The Bulldogs know what happened to the Razorbacks after halftime. The Tigers bullied Arkansas up front and piled up 166 of their 233 rushing yards. So Olajubutu figures Georgia's talented offense must be licking its chops this week.

"I figure after they watch film, they'll try to do the same thing," said Olajubutu, who recorded 18 tackles against Auburn. "We know what we've got coming for us.

"We know they're going to try to run the ball on us."

Arkansas also knows it must turn in a better performance against the run after reserve tailback Kenny Irons rolled to 182 yards, helping the Tigers easily erase a 10-6 deficit against the Razorbacks. But Olajubutu and the Hogs (2-4, 0-3 in Southeastern Conference), who are looking for redemption after being run over by Auburn, know they won't have an easy time against the Bulldogs (6-0, 4-0).

Georgia's ground game is ranked No. 2 in the SEC and 27th in the nation (189.7 yards a game). Tailback Thomas Brown leads the charge with 393 yards and 2 touchdowns on 69 attempts. But sophomores Danny Ware (57 carries, 286 yards) and Kregg Lumpkin (22-100-2 touchdowns) will get their share of carries as well.

Then there's dual-threat quarterback D.J. Shockley. The senior, who sat behind departed starter David Greene for three seasons, is third on the team in rushing (224 yards) and leads the Bulldogs with three rushing touchdowns.

"They're very strong, they're very talented," Arkansas defensive coordinator Reggie Herring said about Georgia's backs. "They're a lot like the Auburn backs. You don't really see any Herschel Walker's back there, but you see good quality.

"If they probably try to run the ball more, you'd probably hear more about those guys. What I see is very talented, power backs. They're physical runners."

Herring said the difference with Georgia is that coach Mark Richt isn't someone who "really wants to line up and run the ball every down."

Sure, the Hogs will see a heaping helping of the Georgia tailbacks Saturday. But Herring said the Bulldogs set up their run game by passing the ball early and often.

"He loves the play-action game, vertical game," Herring said. "He loves to stretch the field and then, all of a sudden, he pops a draw in there or runs a hard-hitting play. They can do whatever they want. They can come out and decide they're going to run the ball or throw the ball. They're that good an offense.

"We're going to have to defend everything. They're so talented everywhere, you can't hone in on one thing. Stop the run. Stop the pass."

Georgia hasn't put up 70- or 80-yard rushing plays like Arkansas this season. In fact, Brown has Georgia's longest on a 42-yarder against Vanderbilt last Saturday.

But its ground game has been productive and turned in an impressive performance in the 27-14 win at Tennessee on Oct. 8. Brown ran for 94 yards, leading an attack that gained 198 against the nation's fourth-ranked run defense.

"The offense might have been overlooked a little at the beginning of the season because our defense is so good," said tight end Martrez Milner. "But our quarterback and running backs are showing people that we are capable of making big plays."

That wasn't the problem for Arkansas last Saturday. The Razorbacks never surrendered a huge play, but let the Tigers methodically keep the ball on the ground, rip up yardage and move downfield the entire second half.

In fact, Irons touched the ball on 10 of 21 plays during Auburn's first two scoring drives in the second half. The Tigers ran the ball 11 times on its second possession, a 14-play, 85-yard drive that ate 7:01 off the clock and gave Auburn a 20-10 lead.

"It was very frustrating," linebacker Pierre Brown said. "They're not doing anything you haven't seen. They're just running the ball and being more physical up front than we were and they won the game.

"It's a state of mind. You have to go out there with the mindset that you're going to be more physical than other teams and stop the run."

Herring described it as a helpless feeling and said most of the trouble came from the interior of Arkansas' line.

The Razorbacks' rotated players on its front trying to keep players fresh. They even put eight players in the box. But Herring said Auburn found a way to block everyone and controlled the second half.

He didn't point fingers at anyone about Arkansas' struggles against the run and said "we've got to find a way to finish a big game" at Georgia.

"We come out we play wonderful the first half," Herring said. "We show that we can play with those guys, we're doing some great things. And then the second half, for some reason, the switch goes off.

"We need somebody to step up and be a leader. That's something we've got to grow out of and we've got to do it in a hurry. We're running out of time."

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