Duo Gives Hogs Much-Needed Pass Rush

FAYETTEVILLE — Antwain Robinson is not that physically intimidating. Well, at least not compared to Arkansas' other defensive end, Jamaal Anderson.

Anderson stands 6-foot-6 with big hands and a large backside. He's 280 pounds and has a deep voice that fits his imposing size.

Robinson, meanwhile, is three inches shorter and 25 pounds lighter than Anderson. The sophomore often hears from opposing players that he's too small to compete against them, though naturally he disagrees.

"I've got long arms, I've got ball-awareness and I've got quickness," Robinson said. "I've got more power than more people think in my little, small body."

That small body happens to lead the Southeastern Conference in sacks. And the recent emergence of Robinson and Anderson has given Arkansas (3-1, 2-0 SEC) a pass rush that was noticeably missing over the first few weeks of the season.

Before last Saturday's game against Alabama, the Razorbacks had managed just three sacks in three games — and two of them came in the 50-14 season-opening loss to No. 3 Southern California.

But Robinson, Anderson and the rest of Arkansas' defensive line got plenty of opportunities to add to their sack total and hit Alabama quarterback John Parker Wilson in the 24-23 double-overtime win.

"It felt real good," Anderson said of the team's five sacks against the Crimson Tide. "It's something that we hadn't done in a while."

Anderson hadn't recorded a sack this season until he burst past Alabama's offensive line and got a clear shot on Wilson early in the first quarter. In the process, he showed the type of explosiveness that Arkansas' coaches had expected to see from him.

"Ever since he pulled his (hamstring) before the Southern Cal game, he's been held back. He hadn't turned it loose like he had been last year," Arkansas defensive coordinator Reggie Herring said. "(But) for the first time this year, he seemed to be close to his old self, the way he ended last year."

Anderson tied his career-high with two sacks against Alabama, but Robinson outdid the junior by breaking his own personal best. Robinson recorded 2.5 sacks against the Crimson Tide, giving him an SEC-leading 4.5 sacks on the season.

But the mild-mannered Robinson didn't realize he was the SEC's current sack leader until some teammates told him earlier this week.

"Many players have told me. I just don't read the papers," Robinson said. "I'll just wait to the end of the season. I'll look at my stats and see where I fall."

One of Robinson's sacks last Saturday led to Arkansas getting its long-awaited first turnover of the season.

The 6-foot-3, 255-pound sophomore hit Wilson, causing the quarterback to fumble the football. Strong safety Randy Kelly picked up the loose ball and raced 39 yards to give the Razorbacks a much-needed defensive touchdown.

"The challenge with Antwain right now is we're very proud and excited about what he did in the game against Alabama, but we're still looking for sustainment, consistency," Herring said. "And when that happens, then we'll be ready to put him up there with a blue-ribbon stamp."

Even though Robinson is tied for 10th in the nation with an average of 1.13 sacks per game, Herring has been displeased at times with the sophomore's effort. Robinson is too often a "spurt guy," a player who has a great game one week and then disappears for a few weeks.

Herring wants Robinson to maintain the intensity.

Robinson was held out of practice last week because of a hip pointer, though he's expected to be ready when Arkansas faces second-ranked Auburn (5-0, 3-0 SEC) on Saturday.

Anderson, meanwhile, is close to being back to full strength. His hamstring isn't bothering him as much, which bodes well for the Razorbacks.

"If they can come and produce like they did against Alabama against Auburn," Herring said of Robinson and Anderson, "then they'll be something to brag about."

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