Four Downs: Arkansas Prepared For Blitzing Rebels; Early Kick No Problem


FOUR DOWNS – ARKANSAS VS. OLE MISS NOTES

1. Prepare For Blitzes

Dave Wommack was known for bringing blitzes when he was the defensive coordinator at Arkansas from 2002-04. So there’s no reason to think much has changed as the Ole Miss defensive coordinator prepares for Arkansas on Saturday.

Coach John L. Smith said Arkansas expects to see its share of blitzes from the Rebels, who are ranked fourth in the Southeastern Conference in sacks (19). It means quarterback Tyler Wilson and the offensive line will have to be prepared.

“They are going to bring it around and come after you,” Smith said. “We’ll have to wait and see how much they give us of that, but I think that bodes well for us.

“We like our matchups from our wideouts on different guys.”

Arkansas’ offensive line has done a solid job in pass protection the past few weeks, allowing one sack in three games. It was an improvement from earlier this season, when opponents sacked Arkansas quarterbacks seven times in four games.

Arkansas has allowed the third-fewest sacks in the SEC this season. But Wilson said the Razorbacks much be prepared for Ole Miss’ pressure.

“They’re going to challenge you,” Wilson said about Ole Miss’ defense earlier this week. “We’ve got to offensively do what we do best. I always say that we need to take care of ourselves, and I think we can score some points. Obviously, we have a lot of respect for them, so we’re going to prepare hard.”

2. Early Kick? No Problem

Arkansas will be playing its third game of the season with kickoff time set before noon. The Razorbacks won at Auburn (24-7) and lost at Texas A&M (58-10).

But Smith believes the early start will be beneficial for the Razorbacks.

“We think that fits our mentality and our makeup playing early,” Smith said. “I think our kids believe that, you know, because we’re used to getting up early in the morning. We’d rather get up and play the game than wait all day. So, the atmosphere, the fans will take care of that. We have to take care of on the field.”

3. Moving Indoors

Showers and cold temperatures moved through Northwest Arkansas on Thursday afternoon, pushing Arkansas’ final workout of the week indoors.

Smith said the weather report for Saturday’s game against Ole Miss doesn’t call for showers, so the Razorbacks didn’t stay in the elements.

“We just went indoors just because of the rain,” Smith said. “We’re not expecting rain down there so we didn’t think we needed to get out and get in it. Saturday is supposed to be OK, a little cooler, but that’s fine. That will be good for us.”

4. Extra Points

Tight end Chris Gragg did not have any setbacks this week and is expected to be ready for Saturday’s game against Ole Miss, according to Smith. He said Gragg is still experiencing some soreness in his knee, but should be available. … Smith was asked Thursday if receiver Brandon Mitchell would be available for Saturday’s game. After a long pause, Smith said: “As far as I know.” Mitchell is third on the team in receiving with 15 catches for 257 yards. … Smith said he isn’t sure how much defensive tackle D.D. Jones will play this week. Jones missed the Kentucky game because of leg fatigue. Smith said Jones can help himself by losing weight: “We had a little meeting with him about trying to lose some weight and getting his weight down.”

— Robbie Neiswanger • Arkansas News Bureau