Hogs Must Keep Grinding

Arkansas showed disappointment after a 23-20 loss to No. 1 Florida, but the Hogs could see their improvement, too.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Arkansas players said all the right things about the way to handle the near miss in The Swamp.

All had heard the message from head coach Bobby Petrino. Six games remain. What remains will define the Arkansas season, not losing 23-20 Saturday at No. 1 Florida.

The question is how will they put that behind them to prepare for a trip to Ole Miss?

"You do that by grinding," offensive coordinator Paul Petrino said. "Yes, this hurts. Yes, we missed some opportunities. We should have gotten touchdowns instead of field goals a couple of times.

"But how you get over this is to grind. That's what we do. We go back to practice and grind." And, that's how the Hogs tried to beat a great Florida defense.

"We wanted to attack those corners," Petrino said. "They are really good, but no one had really tried to attack them. That's what we thought we could do. We got some plays on them and we were close on a few more. We just had to make a few more plays."

Petrino knew the Hogs had to run to throw.

"We tried to grind it on them a little, especially in the second half," he said. "If you don't run it at them, they tee off on the quarterback. So we went right at their front.

"We could see that our offensive line was doing some things up there, then Dennis Johnson started breaking tackles. He really made some great runs, going through some people."

There were a few plays the wideouts didn't make, but Petrino said he'll take their effort.

"I saw our guys compete and play hard," he said. "That's all you can ask. You ask them to fight and scratch. We did that. They fought their butts off.

"Losing sucks. I don't know any other way to put it, but no matter what if you grind and play hard, you have to take that.

"Life is all about what you do when you get knocked down. You have to get back up and grind." Greg Childs made some of the plays. He had four catches for 135 yards, including a 75-yard catch and run that gave the Hogs the lead in the fourth quarter.

"He could have made a couple of more, but he made some great plays against those corners," Petrino said. "The long one was something we had a couple of other times, but didn't hit. Sometimes their safeties don't get off the hash in cover two. He stayed there that time and Greg just ran by the corner. That one was on the safety."

Childs said it was about "matching" those great corners, Janoris Jenkins and Joe Haden.

"I thought we matched up well against their secondary," Childs said. "We came in here knowing they were good, but that we could play with them. I thought we did, too.

"This is disappointing. We thought we were going to win all the way to the end. We are very disappointed, but we have to come back. What we have is six more games. All are winnable. We have to keep going." Most will focus on the help the Gators provided. Four lost fumbles gave the Hogs plenty of chances.

"That hurts because we beat ourselves," Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett said. "Florida is a great team, but we beat ourselves. What did we have, 10 for (92 yards)? We killed ourselves, shot ourselves in the foot." Some of them were questioned by the Arkansas head coach. He was asked about two 15-yarders which helped one Florida scoring march.

"I didn't like them," Bobby Petrino said. "I didn't think they were good calls."

Petrino was irate in the first half when Mallett slid to the ground after a scramble only to be drilled with a helmet hit. Florida was penalized just three times for 16 yards.

The officials missed several chances to throw flags on the Gators. Arkansas defensive back Andru Stewart was in position for an interception in the end zone midway through Florida's winning drive, but a Florida receiver went through him to break it up on what appeared to be offensive pass interference.

The small group of Arkansas fans in the southeast corner of the stands called the Hogs as the Arkansas team exited the field -- just after booing the officials went through the same tunnel.

On the other end, the Gators celebrated their victory. Mallett knew what they were thinking.

"They have a great defense, but we have a good offense, too," Mallett said. "If they had to play us again, they wouldn't agree to it."

The Arkansas defense looked like a solid unit in spots, too.

"We are getting better," defensive end Jake Bequette said. "We got some pressure on Tim Tebow today. We had to stop the run first, and then go after him. We hit him a lot today. We played our hearts out. But we had some mental errors, too. We did stop their bread and butter.

"There are some positives, but it hurts a lot right now. We have six games left and all of them are games we have a chance to win."

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