Coach O: We had a nice practice today. It was physical and hard-nosed. Guys were flying around. Again, it was great to have our indoor practice facility.
Q: You have had success against Arkansas' run game the last two years. What went right then?
Coach O: Patrick Willis. (laughed) Him and Rory Johnson were the keys, really. We fit our gaps well and we tackled. We are working on that really hard this week. We feel we have a handle on what they are going to run. We know where they are coming from. It's not about that, it's about execution.
Q: If he plays, do things change defensively when they have Marcus Monk in the lineup?
Coach O: He had a big game against us two years ago on third downs. But it's hard to concentrate on him when you have to deal with Darren McFadden and Felix Jones. It's hard.
Q: What is the difference in Jones and McFadden?
Coach O: They have different styles, but I think Felix is overshadowed by Darren and is really good in his own right. They are both NFL backs. Felix is really strong and fast, Darren can run through you or around you. He is tall and long-legged. He's hard to tackle.
Q: How is John Jerry doing?
Coach O: He's back and doing fine.
Q: Do you like bringing Greg Hardy off the bench like you have been or is that just the way it's worked lately?
Coach O: Not really. I'd like for him to be an every-down player and he's getting there.
Q: With Jamarca Sanford out, is Johnny Brown in his league yet? Is there a comparison between the two yet?
Coach O: No, not yet. Johnny is just trying to get his job done. Jamarca is confident and directing traffic, telling guys where to line up. Jamarca knows where a play is going by formation. Johnny is nowhere near that yet.
Q: How has Kendrick Lewis done the last couple of weeks?
Coach O: Better with his tackling. He just has to learn to play the position. He's getting there.
Q: Has the deep ball to Mike Wallace opened up the other receivers?
Coach O: No, but it's opened up the run game some. I think the other WRs have earned their own spurs. They are really good right now. I am glad to see their progress. Mike Hicks is a good example. He came in here with our first recruiting class and we only have 9 or 10 of them left. I am proud of what he has done.
Q: When you added Dexter McCluster back into the mix, did it give you every type of receiver you needed?
Coach O: We still lack a big receiver. A real big one. We want one of those 6-5, 6-6 guys. Like Greg Hardy's twin brother.
Q: Any progress on the kickoff team, in your mind?
Coach O: That has been our biggest challenge thus far. We're not going to change our kicker, but it's obvious he doesn't have the leg strength we need. We have to do the best we can with him right now. It's been a lane thing, a getting blocked thing, a deal where we don't know where the ball is going to land, inconsistency. We were spoiled with Will Moseley, you know. I think we are figuring things out now.
Q: Any residual from the Alabama game?
Coach O: We don't talk about that - this is Arkansas week. What happens out of here, I don't know. I mean, I've had conversations away from here. I don't know if we will ever forget it, but when we are in a work setting, it's not on our minds.
Q: A kickoff guy will be a big emphasis in recruiting, we assume.
Coach O: Yes. We will sign a guy who can kickoff. You know where one is?
Q: What are your feelings on the kickoff being at the 30?
Coach O: I'd love for it to go back to the 35. It gets kind of sloppy out there. You see kicks out of bounds, pooch kicks, squibs. I'd rather see you kick it off to the goalline and see if you can tackle the guy. It's more exciting. The new distance is too much to make up now and there is too much empahsis on the kicker. That's one of the biggest rules changes I have seen. It has certainly affected us and a lot of other teams as well.
Q: Does the extra field position put more pressure on the defense as well?
Coach O: Yes. Most people are taking the ball now when they win the toss. Before, everyone used to defer.
Practice Notes: We were able to attend the first portion of practice today. The following are a few notes we jotted down. . . John Jerry, suspended last week, is back in good graces, but he was still working wtih the number two OL today behind Thomas Eckers, who started in his place at right guard and played well against Alabama. . . SS Jamarca Sanford, as was previously reported, is not practicing. Johnny Brown is the number one SS in his place. . . The same trio of LBs who started against Bama were in Red today - Ashlee Palmer, who looks healthier than two or three weeks ago, Brandon Thomas in the middle and Jamie Phillips. . . Kentrell Lockett is still working with the number one defense at the LEO ahead of Greg Hardy in practice. . . The scout team offense had Jeremy McGee simulating McFadden, Cordera Eason giving the Felix Jones look and Derrick Davis acting as Peyton Hillis at FB today. Also, the scout team line was beefed up with Bradley Sowell, Mark Jean-Louis, and Alex Washington included. The Rebel defense worked extremely hard on the run game preparing for one of the most lethal rushing attacks in the country, statistically.
Practice report, Wednesday
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