Bequette's Big Day

Arkansas junior defensive end Jake Bequette was all over the field making plays in Saturday's scrimmage for an improved defense, including one that caused both joy and some consternation.

It's not often that you make a spectacular play that would cause absolute pandemonium among the fans in a game, but then regret it because it was only a practice.

But such was the case with University of Arkansas junior defensive end Jake Bequette, who was the clear defensive star of Saturday morning's scrimmage.

The play that brought the biggest reaction for the crowd was one where he stole the ball from quarterback Ryan Mallett's hand and took off headed for the end zone.

What's the problem with that? He had Mallett in an awkward position.

"I really put some good pressure on the football, but I really shouldn't have stripped the football from Mallett there," Bequette said. "That is a big no-no on my part…I am not suppose to reach the quarterback while he is about to throw in practice. That's just not good. I am in big trouble for that.

"Mallett, he's the man so I have got to take care of him," Bequette said. "I have to take care of my teammates and make sure they are ready to play on Saturday…It's part of the learning process. I just have to be more mature."

Bequette, who had 5 tackles, a sack, another tackle for lost yardage and both a forced and recovered fumble in the scrimmage, would certainly celebrate that play in a game.

"If I can make that play on a Saturday, that is what it is all about," Bequette said. "If I can do the same things on Saturday night, that would be great, but just not right now."

Bequette also had a big play while dropping in coverage during a scrimmage where he forced a couple of fumbles.

"He made a lot of good plays," noted safety Elton Ford, who delivered a couple of bone-jarring hits and led the way with 12 tackles. "He is a play-maker. He's all over the field and that was the mentality of our whole defense today."

Bequette felt like the Arkansas defense, which was much maligned last season has improved and that showed Saturday.

"We kind of got off to slow start there at first, but we held them to a field goal on that first long drive," Bequette said. "But after halftime we really stepped it up. We put a lot of pressure on the QBs and made some plays that forced some turnovers and basically just got after it."

Playing well against one of the nation's most prolific offense makes the defense feel good about itself.

"Everyone in the nation knows how explosive our offense is," Bequette said. "We are very blessed to play against them every day. We know that if we can stop them, we can stop anybody."

It capped off a good week for the defense according to Bequette said.

"We had a good practice yesterday and then came out strong today," Bequette said. "It was a good way to finish off the week."

Bequette sees definite improvement from his side of the ball from last season.

"As far as improvement goes, we are miles ahead of where we were, even in the spring," Bequette said. "You turn the film on and we a different team. We are flying to the football. Anybody who watched that scrimmage can tell. Anybody who watches practice can tell. Our defensive backs have improved an incredible amount and we have just got to keep getting better every day."

Bequette has adapted well to new Arkansas defensive ends coach Steve Caldwell.

"Coach Caldwell is a very detailed-oriented guy and he is all about flying to the football," Bequette said. "That's one of the things I have been trying to change in my game. I want to be consistent."

He loved getting the offense in tough situations.

"I think the defense as a whole did a good job by putting them into third and long and forcing them into passing downs," Bequette said. "As a defensive end, I like to tee off and I feel like that opportunity."


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