State of the Hogs: Saying Uncle

Arkansas coaches and players react to their 41-38 loss to Alabama in Tuscaloosa on Saturday night.

There were times when Alabama had its way. There were times when Arkansas had things its way.

"Sometimes it is going to be who makes the other one say uncle," Alabama coach Nick Saban said. "There was a time out there when they had us saying uncle."

In the end, Alabama won, 41-38, but no one in the Razorback locker room was saying uncle.

""I thought we fought our guts out and had a chance to win on the road," said Arkansas defensive coordinator Reggie Herring. "We came back and did everything we could until the last drive. I'm proud of the way our guys fought and played and came back."

Saban, the former LSU coach, was giving Arkansas as much credit as his team. He recalled winning a 41-38 game "against Matt Jones and that team."

And, he recalled losing to Arkansas on a last-minute pass in Little Rock.

"I have a history with this team," Saban said. "They beat us on the last play of the game.

"I've lost the way we played today and I've lost the way it went today. I've had both feelings."

The feeling in the Arkansas locker room was of disappointment. Star tailback Darren McFadden, held out of the closing minutes because of a "slight concussion," pounded his fist on a door as he made his way to the dressing room.

"He's going to be fine, but he didn't need to be going back in the game," said Arkansas trainer Dean Weber. "It was a slight concussion. He wanted to go back in, but I told him no."

Herring wouldn't say much on two key penalties in Alabama's winning drive, although he hinted that a third-down throw into the end zone which produced a pass interference call "was an uncatchable pass."

"Doesn't really matter," Herring said. "They called them penalties.

What were they? Holding, interference? I didn't see them that well.

"What really matters is we didn't get it done on that last drive. We did for most of the second half, and didn't in crunch time. We have to go back to the practice field and get ready for a good Kentucky team, go back to work with what we've got."

Offensive coordinator David Lee gave credit to the rest of the offensive staff for making corrections at halftime to get the running game going in the third quarter.

"I was ready to go with the passing game, since we were behind, 21-0, but Houston (Nutt) kept saying stick with it and we did," Lee said. "Give our guys credit. We got it going and then (offensive line coach) Mike Markuson's guys got them wore down."

Lee said it was also a good job of checks and reads by quarterback Casey Dick in the second half.

"He made some good throws and made some big plays on the road," Lee said. "I've been with Casey this spring and in the fall and this is the first time I've had a chance to really praise him. I'm proud of the way he fought back. He had a couple of freak things happen that were not his fault."

Lee pointed to a dropped pass on a slant in the first half by Reggie Fish, and then a fumble in the open field by London Crawford early in the second half. Crawford lost the ball when he was shifting the ball from one hand to another without contact.

"You guys saw the slant he hit," Lee said. "I don't know, maybe it was going for six. He made a big throw to London, too.

"He had a couple of passes batted down that were not his fault, too. Really, I thought Casey played well. I was proud of our offensive line. That group fought their guts out, too. My hat is off to them and the offensive coaches."

Defensively, the Hogs had stretches where they had control of the Alabama passing game, but not early or late in the game.

"We tried to mix it up in both halves, but in the first I don't think we had a good read on their plays," said Weston Dacus, senior middle linebacker. "I thought our defensive line and linebackers got a better read on all of their plays as it went along. Then, it was mainly the two-minute offense at the end. We were just trying to confuse him and get him off balance. Sometimes we did, sometimes we didn't."

Safety Matt Hewitt, another senior, said he was coming on the blitz a lot in the second half and didn't always get there.

"I was trying to show him two-deep shell and come at the last minute," Hewitt said. "I have to work on maybe coming a little sooner so I make sure I get there.

"I know we gave it our best. But you have to finish off four quarters. We have to go back to the drawing board and make sure we finish games off."

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