Secondary Improvement

Cornerback Andru Stewart keeps turning heads with an interception. He said it's just a matter of experience.

Loose coverage sinks ships, especially in the back end of a defense. That's been the big problem for this Arkansas defense the last several seasons. Coverage in the secondary with the corners and the safeties has been too loose.

Perhaps that's changing.

"I think we are way better," said Andru Stewart, battling with Ramon Broadway at boundary cornerback. "We've got a lot of veterans now, players who have experience and know what they are doing.

"No longer are we trying to figure out the calls, or just how to get lined up. Now, it's about just polishing technique or just taking care of yourself on the physical side. We are able to just go out and play the game.

"So are we better? Yes, sir. It's a huge difference."

You can see it on a daily basis. The coverage is tighter. More passes are being deflected and intercepted. And, more and more, quarterbacks are having to tuck and head up the middle because no one's open. That didn't happen in fall camp the last two seasons. The phrase coverage sack has returned to the Arkansas jargon.

"I think you are going to see that, yes I do," said Stewart, referencing coverage sacks. "And if they throw it, we are going to get them. We want to have the highest turnover ratio in the country."

Stewart seems to end up with a pick per day, sometimes two.

"I think it's just about reading my keys, playing technique," he said. "You play the route and see if it's a three-step drop. Then, you watch for the hips to sink from the wideouts. You time your break when those hips sink, and there's the ball. The other part, if 11 get to the ball, turnovers happen. That's our emphasis."

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