Lessons Learned

FAYETTEVILLE — Former Razorback Kendall Trainor knows how Felix Jones felt last week after fumbling three times against Southern California.

Trainor's senior season at Arkansas started out downright miserably for the kicker, as he hit just one of his first four field-goal attempts.

"I started reflecting back on just going to the basics," Trainor said this week. "Really, for me it was more along the lines of mentally getting myself together and determining that I wasn't going to let me fundamentals break down any more.

"Also, some of it's about luck. I'm sure that there were some circumstances in there that Felix could've helped and some that he probably couldn't."

After a halftime chewing out by longtime Razorbacks' assistant Ken Turner, Trainor turned things around, making three second-half field goals to help lead Arkansas to a 21-13 win. Over the last nine games of the season, he went 20 of 20, finishing his Razorbacks' career with 23 consecutive field goals made.

Jones will try to pull off a similar turnaround Saturday when Arkansas plays Utah State.

"I'm very anxious to get out there again," Jones said. "I let my teammates down and I want to show them that I can hold onto that ball and I can be a better player than I was last week.

"These are my brothers out here and I trust them. I let them down Saturday and I'm going to make it up this coming Saturday."

The Aggies might be just the team for Jones to get back going against, as Utah State allowed 221 rushing yards against Wyoming a week ago.

By the time the second quarter was two minutes old against the Trojans, Jones had dropped the ball three times, losing two.

"I've never had a game like that," Jones said. "That was the first time and I'm very disappointed, but it's something I've just got to look forward to hanging onto the ball more."

Tuesday, in addressing his fumbling problems, Jones didn't deflect any of the responsibility from himself.

"I don't know," Jones said when asked if USC caused any of the fumbles. "It's just me not holding onto the ball. I have no excuses.

"It's going to make me a better player. I'm learning from my mistakes."

Jones has been schooled plenty in hanging onto the ball this week.

In Tuesday's practice, he cradled a ball on the sidelines when he wasn't on the field going through drills. Wednesday, he played catch with a teammate. Every time he caught the ball, an assistant was standing right next to him trying to beat the ball out of his hands. It didn't work.

"I always have a football with me but I'm more conscious of it now," he said. "I'm hanging on now."

The key, Trainor said, is pushing the negative feelings out of your mind while not forgetting the lessons learned by the struggles.

"The one thing I wouldn't do is blow it off," Trainor said. "Learn from it. Everybody's going to have a bad night. The ones that truly go onto have stellar careers can do that. I think Felix is a wonderful talent. He's going to be a great back and people aren't going to remember the USC game, if he learns from it and fundamentally does the things he needs to do right.

"I think he bounces back (this) week and every game after that."

During the game, Jones got some moral support from his teammates. Rashaad Johnson and Darren McFadden each took time to find Jones on the bench to offer encouragement. Jones said McFadden told him to forget about the fumbles and concentrate on his next opportunity.

"You've just got to let it go but you can't forget about it," Jones said. "It's something that you've always got to know can happen and it happened to me three times Saturday. It's something that I've got to keep off my mind but (remember to) hang onto the ball."


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