Thursday Grid Update, 8/25

Did Arkansas practice harder after last week's Alabama game? Bobby Petrino has an answer for that question as the Hogs completed their last major workout for the trip to play Texas.

Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino said his team didn't practice "harder" in the wake of a 49-14 loss to Alabama. But the Razorbacks may have parcticed better.

That was his take Thursday as the Hogs put the wraps on their Texas preparations with a 75-minute workout in Reynolds Razorback Stadium. The Hogs will have a brisk walk through Friday morning in Walker Pavilion before departing for Austin. Game time is 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

"I don't think we practice harder, but I think the focus and energy was good," he said. "We concentrated more on what the coaches were emphasizing. On defense, we ran full speed to the ball. On offense, we worked on running the ball better. We tried to eliminate mistakes. Our focus was good.

"I was proud of he way our team came to practice this week. They focused hard on technique and fundamentals."

Petrino said the Hogs are trying to play more as units. There has been solid effort at times and individual highlights, but it's not been a matter of all 11 clicking at the same time.

"We just want consistency, one play at a time," he said. "We want effort. Our players worked on that this week. They studied what they have been doing, watched a lot of video."

Petrino was asked if he was looking for a fast start against Texas.

"We've been talking about that for about a month now," he said. "We do want a fast start. We need to make that happen.

"Our problem has been that about 10 do their job and there is one breakdown. It's not every play like that, but we've had some of that."

Someone asked if there were times that more than one failed to do their job.

"Really, there hasn't been too much of that," he said. "Mostly, it's just been one and it's usually a different one. I think we've made progress in some areas. We actually made some progress on defense in the second half of our last game, except for a couple of plays. We did play faster in the second half and executed better on defense. We have emphasized playing at a high tempo and our defense has looked at film each night to see if all 11 were flying to the ball. That's been the emphasis."

Did the pride factor kick in with the defense this week?

"Actually, I think it did with the entire team, not just defense," Petrino said. "It's something we continue to work on. I do think we practiced with a lot of enthusiasm, a lot of focus. Definitely, we had all 11 running to the ball on every play in practice."

How did quarterback Casey Dick respond to a poor performance against Alabama?

"He responded well," Petrino said. "He was focused. We've talked about this, but when you play the quarterback position almost everyone has had a game somewhere along the way like that. He was focused and practiced hard. What we concentrated on was the progressions and the footwork, his technique."

Petrino praised running back Michael Smith for the way he led the team this week after a solid performance in practice.

"I've talked with him about being a more vocal leader," Petrino said. "He's doing that. He talked to the team some this week. We'd like to have more leaders, but to be a leader the first thing you have to do is be a good example for your peers. You have to perform first. He's doing that. His teammates see the way he competes.

"We hope to get more from the other running backs. De'Anthony Curtis has run with more balance, had his feet under him better. Dennis Johnson is gaining confidence. He's had better focus. We need more from them and I think we'll get more."

Asked about the rotation on both offense and defense at several positions, Petrino said the Hogs would continue to try to utilize what little depth is available. He noted the expected game-time temperatures in the 90s.

"We are going to play everyone we've got," he said. "That's all we can do. I think we are going to need everyone to play. We will continue to do that."

Petrino said wide receiver Lucas Miller has been ruled out of the game because of a concussion from the Alabama game.

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