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Arkansas Well-Versed in Option

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Arkansas will once again be asked to defend an option running attack when it travels to No. 21 Mississippi State this weekend.

Led by quarterback Chris Relf and running back Vick Ballard, the Bulldogs are third-best in the SEC, averaging 211.7 rushing yards per game this season.

“They’re a lot like Auburn and they run the ball well,” Arkansas defensive coordinator Willy Robinson said. “They have a very physical offensive line, probably comparable to Auburn. The quarterback is a lot like the Texas A&M kid, Jerrod Johnson – real quick They don’t have the big bruiser like they had in the backfield last year but these kids run physical.

“They’re a good football team. They really are.”

The No. 13 Razorbacks have struggled against the run at times this year, allowing more than 150 rushing yards per game. Arkansas has faced several mobile quarterbacks similar to Relf. In addition to Johnson, the Razorbacks have had to defend the likes of Auburn quarterback Cam Newton and Ole Miss quarterback Jeremiah Masoli, among others.

“There hasn’t been an offense that hasn’t given us an option look since the Georgia game,” Robinson said, citing the Razorbacks’ third opponent of the year. “The biggest concern here is the fact they have three ways to go – the dive, the quarterback and the pitch. You have to have great discipline and know where your assignments are against these guys.”

Arkansas prepared for the flurry of option offenses by practicing against it quite a bit during the spring. Razorbacks quarterback Brandon Mitchell served as the option quarterback in those drills, though he isn’t on the scout team this week.

“We made sure that we got to practice on some of the things we were going to see throughout the year, option wise, so it wasn’t just three days before you practiced it,” Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino said Monday. “There were a lot of things put on video, a lot of study over the summer time. A lot of preparation has gone to it besides this week.”

Joneses Bouncing Back

Robinson said both DeQuinta “D.D.” Jones and Byran Jones have had good weeks of practice despite difficulties off the field and with injuries.

D.D. Jones was suspended one game after being arrested last month for possession of marijuana. Last weekend his brother, Deddrick, was one of three Southern Miss football players shot outside a club. Deddrick Jones remained hospitalized Wednesday, though his injuries are not considered life-threatening, according to reports.

“D.D. is doing good,” Robinson said. “He’s giving it all he can and he does a great job when he gets in there. One thing about D.D. on Saturday is he comes to play hard and has a different mentality about him. If there’s one thing he needs to mature is he needs to continue that as he grows up day in and day out.”

Byran Jones has missed the last two games with an ankle injury suffered in the first quarter against Vanderbilt on Oct. 30. He has practiced all week and should be ready to play Saturday.

“Byran is in the rotation and is giving us some depth there,” Robinson said. “He keeps working on his treatment and he’ll play for us this week.”

Quotable Willy

Robinson is a reporter’s dream when it comes to quotes for his uncanny way to mix words together and his brutal honesty.

The third-year defensive coordinator delivered again Wednesday when asked about his unit’s success this season on third downs and whether it was the most important down during a series.

“I lost a job answering that question a long time ago, answering that question in an interview,” Robinson said. “I always thought the most important down was first down. I still believe that.”

Arkansas ranks tops in the SEC and seventh nationally, allowing opponents to convert third downs at a 30.8 percent clip.

For more visit WholeHogSports.com. You can follow Matt Jones on Twitter @NWAMatt.

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Thursday Post Practice Notes

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It has been a pretty uneventful week with the Arkansas football team; not upsetting for Razorbacks coaches and not particularly surprising with Conference-USA foe UTEP coming to town this weekend. Here are a few notes from Thursday’s practice:

Byran Jones will likely play against the Miners on Saturday. Jones missed last week’s win over South Carolina with an ankle injury but has practiced each day this week. The freshman has started four of the eight games he has played this season, recording 21 tackles.

Joe Adams might return punts on Saturday, though that determination hasn’t been made, Petrino said. Adams won the SEC Special Teams Player of the Week award in the Razorbacks’ win over Ole Miss on Oct. 23, thanks in large part to a 97-yard touchdown return in that game. He hasn’t returned punts since, however, after an ankle injury kept him out of the Vanderbilt game and limited him against South Carolina.

Petrino said he has yet to see the YouTube video from Monday night’s Razorback Marching Band Spectacular at Barnhill Arena, in which six football players joined the band in a percussion ensemble. “Tonight is family night, so I might watch it then,” Petrino said. “What’s it called? YouTube? The kids know all about that.”

For more visit WholeHogSports.com. You can follow Matt Jones on Twitter @NWAMatt.

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Byran Jones Back at Practice

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Arkansas defensive tackle Byran Jones returned to practice Tuesday after missing Saturday’s game at South Carolina with an ankle injury.

Jones was injured early in the first quarter of the Razorbacks’ game with Vanderbilt on Oct. 30 and missed all of last week’s practices. The freshman was able to run some on a treadmill over the weekend, Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino said Monday.

“Byran’s got a chance (to play),” Petrino said. “He did a lot of treatment over the weekend.

“We’ll see how, as the week progresses, his change of direction goes. If he’s able to do that, then he might be ready to go.”

Jones has recorded 21 tackles in eight games this season, including four starts.

Arkansas hosts UTEP this Saturday. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. and the game will be televised by ESPNU.

For more visit WholeHogSports.com. You can follow Matt Jones on Twitter @NWAMatt.

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SEC Headlines – 11/5/10 Part One

1.  Nick Saban says that right tackle DJ Fluker is still short of 100% health.

2.  Bama wants to get off to a better start on the road this week.

3.  It looks like Mark Ingram might have a stretch of highway named after him in his native Michigan.  (It will be located right next to The William J. LePetomane Thruway.  Careful with the audio on that link, folks.)

4.  Linebacker Josh Bynes still isn’t satisfied with Auburn’s tackling.

5.  Demond Washington is making an impact on the Tigers’ special teams unit.

6.  5-10, 214-pound linebacker Jerico Nelson is making a big impact for Arkansas.

7.  Bobby Petrino believes receiver Joe Adams will be ready to play against South Carolina tomorrow.

8.  But defensive tackle Byran Jones will not play.  Might that lead to the reinstatement of suspended DT DeQuinta Jones?

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Byran Jones Out Saturday

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Arkansas freshman defensive tackle Byran Jones will not play Saturday at South Carolina with an ankle injury suffered in the first quarter last weekend against Vanderbilt.

Jones has played in all eight games this season, starting four times. He has 21 tackles.

Razorbacks coach Bobby Petrino said he hasn’t decided whether he will reinstate fellow defensive tackle DeQuinta Jones for the contest. Jones, who was arrested last Wednesday for drug possession, has been indefinitely suspended.

“He has done everything I’ve asked him to do up to this point,” Petrino said, “but the week’s not over yet.”

Petrino said wide receiver Joe Adams will play Saturday after missing last week’s contest with an ankle injury. Adams, the SEC Special Teams Player of the Week two weeks ago, returned punts in Thursday’s practice.

“Joe’s had a good week,” Petrino said. He came out on Tuesday and he got some work in. He actually did more than I thought he’d do and looked good. He came out Wednesday and did more. He hit top speed probably four or five times on Wednesday, and then came out today and went through the entire practice. As long as there’s not a setback, I believe hell be ready to go.

“If he’s 100 percent, he’ll be our punt returner.”

Adams had a 97-yard punt return for a touchdown in his last game two weeks ago.

Petrino said injured receiver Greg Childs will undergo surgery Friday to repair a patella tendon. Childs was injured early in the fourth quarter last week and will miss the remainder of the season.

Running back Dennis Johnson is also out with a season with an internal injury suffered on Sept. 11 against Louisiana-Monroe. The junior has been spotted running around Donald W. Reynolds the last two days and should be ready for spring practice, Petrino said.

“He’s doing good,” Petrino said. “The last two weeks he’s really taken huge strides forward. They’ve let him do more and more each week. He was out there running sprints today, and he looked pretty good. He looked liked maybe he could return a kickoff or two for a touchdwn. We’re just so happy that  he’s healthy.

“The biggest reason he had to take so long before he could start to workout again is because they didn’t want any chance of a hernia developing. So they had to let all those muscles heal completely. Otherwise, Dennis was itching to get going earlier. But he did the right thing, he was very patient, he did exactly what the doctors told him.”

For more visit WholeHogSports.com. You can follow Matt Jones on Twitter @NWAMatt.

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Adams Back at Tuesday’s Practice

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Arkansas receiver Joe Adams returned to practice Tuesday after missing the Razorbacks’ game against Vanderbilt with an ankle injury.

The junior said his injured ankle is “about 80 percent” but should be full-speed by the weekend. The No. 18 Razorbacks visit No. 19 South Carolina on Saturday.

“I thought he did all right,” Arkansas offensive coordinator Garrick McGee said. “We’ve got to continue to evaluate him throughout the week and see how it goes. I think he kind of feels the urgency that he needs to get out there. But we’ve got to continue to evaluate him.”

Adams has 30 catches, 544 yards and 4 touchdowns this season – all second among Arkansas receivers behind Greg Childs, who will miss the rest of the season with a knee injury.

“I wasn’t able to do the punt return duties, but got into some of the other stuff,” said Adams, who was named SEC Special Teams Player of the Week prior to the injury. “I’m getting better.”

McGee said he expects younger receivers such as Cobi Hamilton and Julian Horton will step up in Childs’ absence. Horton had a 52-yard reception against Vanderbilt in place of the injured Adams.

“We recruited well at the position,” McGee said. “We’ve got a lot of good players; a lot of fast kids. They’ve been training hard all season. They looked good. We looked as good as we could.”

Horton, a freshman, said his confidence is high following Saturday’s game.

“That was really big,” Horton said. “I’ve got to stay humble, though, and just keep working because I’m only a freshman and that’s just the beginning for me. It’s a big confidence boost because they’ll know my name around Arkansas, but I’ve got to keep working.

“I’m getting better every week in route-running. The first week of camp it wasn’t good, but as the season has gone along it has gotten better just understanding the whole scheme of things and the whole concept of the plays.”

Keeping Up With the Joneses

Suspended defensive tackle DeQuinta Jones was back at Arkansas practice Tuesday, nearly a week after being arrested for possession of marijuana. Jones was suspended for the Vanderbilt game and his status for this weekend is uncertain.

Freshman defensive tackle Byran Jones wasn’t at practice Tuesday as he continues to recover from an ankle injury suffered in the first quarter against the Commodores.

For more visit WholeHogSports.com. You can follow Matt Jones on Twitter @NWAMatt.

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Report: Vandy Ball Boys ‘Abused’

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A report today in The Tennesseean says two Vanderbilt ball boys working on the Arkansas sideline Saturday night were “verbally abused and physically pushed” by a member of the Razorbacks’ support staff.

According to the report written by Jeff Lockridge, Vanderbilt equipment manager Luke Wyatt said the two students required protection from on-field Arkansas State Troopers following an altercation early in the game, a 49-14 Arkansas victory in Fayetteville. Commodores coach Robbie Caldwell declined to comment on the situation, according to the report.

There has been little love lost between the two schools since the conclusion of Saturday’s game. Razorbacks coach Bobby Petrino said Monday defensive tackle Byran Jones was injured on a “dirty, bad play” by a Vanderbilt offensive lineman in the first quarter.

The two teams are scheduled to meet again next season in Nashville.

For more visit WholeHogSports.com. You can follow Matt Jones on Twitter @NWAMatt.

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Petrino Tired of ‘Dirty’ Plays

Arkansas
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Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino said Monday defensive tackle Byran Jones was injured on a “dirty, bad play” in the Razorbacks’ win over Vanderbilt Saturday.

Jones, a freshman, went down on the Commodores’ first offensive possession and didn’t return with an ankle injury. His status for this weekend’s game against South Carolina is uncertain.

“It was a bad-looking play,” Petrino said. “It’s a shame, because the guy blocked him and Byran took off running and the guy clipped him from behind on his ankle. Terrible way to get hurt because it was a dirty, bad play, and it’s unfortunate. His ankle did swell a lot.

“Byran is very tough and has shown that he’s a quick healer. So we’ll have to wait and see.”

Petrino said Jones is just the latest player to get injured on a dirty play. He said Ryan Mallett’s concussion at Auburn and Joe Adams’ ankle injury against Ole Miss were the results of horse-collar penalties that weren’t called.

“It’s a bad deal,” Petrino said. “I’m a little upset, the fact that we’ve had three injuries now.”

Of course Arkansas has received some criticism of its own from opponents this season for so-called “dirty play.” Offensive lineman Wade Grayson became a household name in Alabama after this low block on Crimson Tide defensive lineman Marcell Dareus was posted on YouTube earlier this year. Dareus left that game with an ankle injury and didn’t return.

The Razorbacks were also flagged twice Saturday for chop blocks against Vanderbilt.

For more visit WholeHogSports.com. You can follow Matt Jones on Twitter @NWAMatt.

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Petrino Tired of ‘Dirty’ Plays

Arkansas
Content provided by The Slophouse.

Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino said Monday defensive tackle Byran Jones was injured on a “dirty, bad play” in the Razorbacks’ win over Vanderbilt Saturday.

Jones, a freshman, went down on the Commodores’ first offensive possession and didn’t return with an ankle injury. His status for this weekend’s game against South Carolina is uncertain.

“It was a bad-looking play,” Petrino said. “It’s a shame, because the guy blocked him and Byran took off running and the guy clipped him from behind on his ankle. Terrible way to get hurt because it was a dirty, bad play, and it’s unfortunate. His ankle did swell a lot.

“Byran is very tough and has shown that he’s a quick healer. So we’ll have to wait and see.”

Petrino said Jones is just the latest player to get injured on a dirty play. He said Ryan Mallett’s concussion at Auburn and Joe Adams’ ankle injury against Ole Miss were the results of horse-collar penalties that weren’t called.

“It’s a bad deal,” Petrino said. “I’m a little upset, the fact that we’ve had three injuries now.”

Of course Arkansas has received some criticism of its own from opponents this season for so-called “dirty play.” Offensive lineman Wade Grayson became a household name in Alabama after this low block on Crimson Tide defensive lineman Marcell Dareus was posted on YouTube earlier this year. Dareus left that game with an ankle injury and didn’t return.

The Razorbacks were also flagged twice Saturday for chop blocks against Vanderbilt.

For more visit WholeHogSports.com. You can follow Matt Jones on Twitter @NWAMatt.

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Hogs, ‘Dores Not Playing Nice

When you hear someone refer to a “dirty” football play, you probably don’t think about Vanderbilt.  That might change if you listen to Bobby Petrino.

On Saturday, Arkansas’ starting defensive tackle Byran Jones was injured when he was cut-blocked by Vandy offensive lineman Kyle Fischer.

“It was a bad-looking play.  It’s a shame.  A guy blocked him, Byran took off running and a guy clipped him from behind on his ankle.  Terrible way to get hurt.  It was a dirty, bad play.”

He continued: “It’s just a shame that he got hurt.  It’s a shame he got hurt.  It was on the reverse for a touchdown.  The guy clipped him from behind on the back of his legs and he comes up injured.  It’s a bad deal.”

Meanwhile, folks at Vanderbilt aren’t real happy either.  Vandy equipment manager Luke Wyatt told The Tennessean that two VU ball boys “working the Arkansas sideline required protection after being verbally abused and physically pushed by a member of the Razorbacks’ support staff in the early stages of the game.”

Vandy’s Robbie Caldwell would not comment on either situation yesterday.  Arkansas won the game 49-14.

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