Arkansas vs. Vandy

As one of only four teams in the nation to not yet force a turnover, Arkansas (1-1) knows that's a trend its defense needs to turn around quickly in a 11:30 a.m. game Saturday afternoon at Vanderbilt (0-2).

Arkansas' coaches and players insist it's only a matter of time before it happens. Of course, they can't say with much certainty when that will be.

Maybe it will come today or perhaps it will take another week or two. Who knows?

But sooner or later, an Arkansas defensive lineman will emerge from the bottom of a pile and celebrate a fumble recovery. Or maybe a pass will sail over its intended target and right into the hands of one of Arkansas' defensive backs.

Either way, the Razorbacks are bound to get their first turnover of the season, right?

"Basically, once you get one, they come in flocks," Arkansas strong safety Randy Kelly said. "We're just waiting on that one to come before we get plenty more."

Heading into today's game at winless Vanderbilt, Arkansas (1-1) is the only team in the Southeastern Conference that has not yet forced a turnover this season.

Only three other teams nationally — Hawaii, Northwestern and Colorado State — have gone two games without getting either an interception or a fumble recovery.

Whether it's simply because the football didn't bounce in their direction, or as a result of some other reason, the Razorbacks have come up empty-handed so far in the turnover department.

"I wish we'd get six (turnovers) every game. I'm disappointed in that," Arkansas secondary coach Louis Campbell said. "But at the same token, you go out there and you play hard and you do what you're supposed to do. Sometimes, they come, and sometimes, they don't.

"But the fact you don't have turnovers doesn't mean you're not playing good. And the fact that you do have turnovers, that doesn't mean you're playing good, either."

On the flip side, Arkansas has committed six turnovers through the first two games, including five in a 50-14 loss to No. 4 Southern California in the season opener.

The six turnovers — three fumbles and three interceptions — is tied with Vanderbilt for the most in the SEC. At the same time, Arkansas ranks last in the conference in turnover margin at minus 3.00.

"(Turnover margin) is the single most significant statistic in predicting victory," LSU coach Les Miles said. "If you can be in the plus-end of turnovers versus takeaways, if you're ratio is positive, it's certainly a great prediction of a successful outcome."

It's not that the Razorbacks haven't had their chances. They forced two fumbles against USC, but they were unable to recover them.

Meanwhile, cornerback Matterral Richardson had a pair of opportunities to intercept a pass in last Saturday's 20-0 win over Utah State, but the junior couldn't hold onto the football.

"We're going to try to create turnovers every day of the week and stress it," Arkansas defensive coordinator Reggie Herring said. "If they come, we hope they come. If they don't, we hope that's not an Achilles' (heel) for us. But we want to create turnovers."

Since the beginning of two-a-day practices, Arkansas' coaches have been stressing the importance of forcing turnovers.

And like most teams, the Razorbacks have a five-minute period early in practice in which the defense works on creating turnovers.

Herring also said players were reminded during Tuesday's practice that they haven't forced a turnover so far this season. They were told that they need to create things for themselves.

"It's going to happen for us. I know it's going to happen," Arkansas defensive line coach Tracy Rocker said. "But it's a matter for that time to happen, and we all wait."

For whatever reason, it usually takes a team getting one turnover before a bunch more come.

Rocker compared it to someone getting on a roll while gambling. Herring, meanwhile, likened it to his ongoing attempts to lose a few pounds.

"There is no secret to turnovers. It's like asking me when I'm going to lose weight," Herring said. "I mean, I don't know, but I'm trying."

Kelly, meanwhile, had perhaps the most unusual comparison for how turnovers tend to come slowly at first and then more regularly after that.

"I guess it's like chicken pox. You get one chicken pock and then it's all over your body," Kelly said. "Sometimes, that's just the way the ball bounces. Sometimes, you get one, you get many."

When that first one will come, however, no one knows.


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