There wasn't much to say after the Rebs got rooted out of their own stadium by the Hogs, 44-8. Read…
44-8. Is there much that can be said about that kind of game? Not much, but unfortunately, that's our job, and it had to be done after Arkansas left the Rebels in their wake Saturday afternoon at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. On offense, four interceptions were the undoing of a group that had been playing respectably for most of this season. Not today. "You can't turn the ball over and expect to beat a good football team," said Offensive Coordinator Dan Werner. "That's as true now as it was when football was invented." Rebel Coach Ed Oreron mentioned postgame the team did not seem to have the same look in their eyes that they did against Alabama and Florida, for instance. Werner did not have a response to that observation. "I felt our guys would be ready to play, I really did, but obviously we did not play very well and when you aren't playing well and you turn the ball over, it creates a flat-looking team," Dan stated. "We did everything we could to get ready, but it did not work out today, obviously." The Razorback defense stymied the Rebs on third downs early in the game, enough to build a 21-0 halftime cushion the Rebs could not overcome. "They had a real nice package we worked hard on this week where they overload one side. We tried to slide the protection that way and we just didn't handle it very well. Our protection broke down too much and we got sacked too much," Werner said. "They were bringing an extra guy and we didn't handle it. We didn't get to the spots to protect the way we should have." Rebel QB Seth Adams had his worst statistical day, going 9-21 with 4 picks, which makes 10 in the last three weeks. "Those interceptions go in his stats, but they were not all his fault, I can tell you that for sure," Dan noted. "One was tipped, the receiver should have run through the ball once and he got hurried a lot. We just were not very good in a lot of positions. "Take away the interceptions and it probably wasn't a terrible game for Seth, but those kind of overrides everything." Is there a difference in Adams now and earlier in the season when the Reb offense was not turning over the ball much? "We were a little more cautious with him then and not throwing as much. We needed him to start throwing it more and that puts more plays on the ball into play. Also, I thought he had some bad luck today on a couple of throws that weren't his fault," said Werner. "He was pressured early so we went to the quick game and they were able to sit on that and make a couple of big plays." The coaches inserted Brent Schaeffer at QB after the fourth pick thrown by Seth. Werner's impressions? "I thought he did a good job. He drove us down and got us on the board. I was proud of him because he wasn't put in the game under normal circumstances. The play-action stuff was not fooling anyone because they knew we had to throw and they were coming after him," Werner continued. "He handled the no-huddle very well and did what we needed him to do when he went in there." Werner said even though the Hogs got up by three TDs, there was no reason to change what they were doing offensively until later in the game. "We still wanted to stay balanced. We thought we could get a score by mixing it up and make it a two score game. From there, you never know what can happen," he stated. "When we got way behind, we had to take some shots and that got us out of our gameplan." Dan said it was one of those days when nothing seemed to go the Rebs' way. "A drop here, a bad throw there, a missed protection over there and it snowballed on us," he closed. "It was just one of those days you can't have against good competition. I give them some credit but a lot of it comes back in our laps." Thompson, whose defense didn't fare any better, said his group got off to a bad start and it didn't get any better until the Hogs had a three TD lead. "The first third-and-10 they had set the tone for the game. We ran an all-out blitz, Arkansas gashed it for a first down and then scored on the next play from 38 yards out on another run," J.T. noted. "They caught us. We weren't thinking run then and they showed their hand and popped us. "It was the only blitz we ran all day. We ran some stunts and did some slanting, but it was our only blitz. That gave them momentum and we never really got it back from them. Then we missed an assignment on Felix' run on the next play and they scored in a hurry. They (Arkansas) had a great plan and it was a rough day for us." Thompson said he knew all along the Rebs would have to play one of their better defensive games. It didn't happen. "Arkansas has some stallions in their backfield and Casey Dick is a reliable QB who makes throws when they need them. We had to play our best and we were a long way from that," he said. "When you have three guys like McFadden, Jones and Hillis, you ride them. They did and we couldn't stop them." "I didn't really feel like we missed a lot of assignments. They just took it to us and hit us for a lot of 6-7-8 yard runs. Our LBs made a lot of tackles, but they were down the field." While Darren McFadden and Felix Jones each gained over 100 yards on the day, it was Peyton Hillis and TE Andrew Davie who scorched the Rebs for three TD receptions combined. "Peyton was everywhere. They had not been using him the way they did today, in a three-back set with the Wild Hog they run with Darren getting the direct snap. Peyton, who I have known since the eighth grade, was instrumental in blocking us and he caught some key passes for them," Thompson assessed. One player who did have a better day for the Rebs was MLB Tony Fein, who ended up with 13 tackles despite not starting the game. "I am real proud of Tony. He was emotional and he's been working hard to get himself ready. We have corrected some things in the last two weeks in practice and it showed today in the game," Thompson said. Fein's enthusiasm seemed to be rare on the defensive side of the ball. Did Thompson feel a lack of intensity? "Not really. Defense is emotional and I felt we were ready. It was such a big game and I thought we were prepared to play. It just didn't happen for us," he said. "We just didn't do what it takes to win - stop them often enough and cause some turnovers." Any residual left over from the Alabama heartbreak? "I don't buy that. We moved on. We had a good week of practice. We didn't miss many assignments today. They just kicked our tail," John noted. "I believe we will keep battling and competing. We will step up and look the kids in the eye and tell them the truth. Sometimes you get taken to the woodshed, despite the effort you put in. We will not get down on them, but we will push them to not let this happen again. "This was a game of momentum and we didn't ever grasp the momentum. They got it early and never gave it up. We zeroed in on them sometimes, but not often enough." Thompson does not believe it will be a problem to get the Rebs to overcome this loss. "We only get 12 shots a year. If you say your aren't ready, that's a cop-out, to me. We will be ready to play the rest of the games," he closed. "We will not accept anything less." After seemingly building a little momentum from some previous games, even though they were losses, the Rebs gave it all back today. Don't look now, but Auburn on the Plains is next up. The assignments get no easier. "It's all about bouncing back," Werner said. "Coach O will not let the team get down. We will stay with our plan and we will be prepared to take on Auburn."
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