Herring Wants Secondary Mistakes Corrected

FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas defensive coordinator Reggie Herring had major concerns about his secondary heading into last Saturday's season opener against Troy University.

Cornerback Jerell Norton was unproven. Free safety Michael Grant was coming back from a torn anterior cruciate ligament. And strong safety Matt Hewitt was moving back to his original position.

Herring has a better idea about his secondary after Troy quarterback Omar Haugabook exposed the unit during the first half of No. 18 Arkansas' 46-26 win in Reynolds Razorback Stadium.

"We didn't know much about our secondary going in. We do now and that is we panicked in the second quarter," Herring said Wednesday.

"We did a little bit of everything you could do wrong: We busted some coverages, we had some penalties in holding (and pass) interference when we didn't have to."

Herring said the secondary's lack of experience showed. Haugabook passed for 173 yards in the first half, and Arkansas' cornerbacks and safeties were called for too many penalties.

"We had them covered. If we just cover them and leave them alone and get our hands off, the balls are five miles over the heads or incomplete and we live another day," Herring said.

The Razorbacks (1-0) have two weeks to prepare for their Southeastern Conference opener at Alabama on Sept. 15. Much of that time will be spent on correcting the busted zone coverages and other mistakes committed by the secondary on Saturday night.

Arkansas cornerback Matterral Richardson (wisdom tooth) and backup free safety Kevin Woods (strained hamstring) missed Wednesday's practice, but both are expected to return for Alabama.

Despite the glaring mistakes against Troy, Herring said he was pleased with how his young secondary responded, holding Haugabook to only 31 yards passing in the second half.

"At the end of the day, you'd have to say for three quarters they played exceptionally well against a very good offense," Herring said.

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