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Bequette Hit On Shaw Not Dirty At All

For the past 24 hours my inbox has been peppered with emails from South Carolina fans.  They want to know why I’m not predicting — or calling for — a suspension of Arkansas defensive end Jake Bequette after his concussion-inducing sack of Connor Shaw on Saturday night.  Even a few columnists have claimed that the play was dirty.

Here it is for those missed it:

So why aren’t we at calling this shot cheap and dirty?  Because it wasn’t. 

It was rough and it was brutal, but it was simply a tackle.  While Bequette’s helmet did come into contact with Shaw’s, Bequette didn’t lead with the crown of his helmet.  If anything, it was the front of his helmet, not the top that collided with Shaw’s. 

As two upright bodies crash into one another, how is the front of a defender’s helmet not going to make contact with his opponent’s?  There’s a difference between the front of a helmet and the crown (top).

Also, some have said Bequette slammed Shaw to the turf, but it looks like a standard tackle to this writer.  Again, how else could Bequette have made that play?

There’s a clear difference between Bequette’s play and that of fellow Razorback Marquel Wade a week ago. 

Wade lowered his head — which was a danger to himself and his opponent — before going straight into the head of Vanderbilt’s Jonathan Krause.

Bequette didn’t lower his head and didn’t appear to be going for anything other than a quarterback sack. 

Does that mean the SEC won’t suspend Bequette?  Not definitively.  I can’t speak for Mike Slive.

But we would be surprised if the SEC took a stand on such a normal-looking football play.  The NFL has backed itself into a corner to where any player who makes any contact with any quarterback or receiver’s head — intentionally or accidentally — will receive a fine.  So even if a defender puts his helmet into a quarterback’s sternum and that helmet slides up into the passer’s facemask as they both fall down… that defender will be fined.  That’s ridiculous.

The SEC isn’t likely to set that kind of precedent.  Bequette’s hit was rough, but it sure doesn’t compare — at least not in’s view — to Wade hit or the dirty shots delivered in the recent Georgia-Vanderbilt game.

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Hogs’ DE Bequette Out Versus Bama

Facing one of the best running back tandems in the country, Arkansas will be without an All-SEC D-lineman when it travels to Tuscaloosa tomorrow.

Razorback senior defensive end Jake Bequette won’t play against Alabama due to a hamstring injury.  Bobby Petrino made the announcement yesterday following his team’s practice.  Bequette injured his hamstring two weeks ago during the Hogs’ game with New Mexico and has not played since. 

“It’s unfortunate,” Petrino told The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.  “He made huge improvement throughout the whole week but he didn’t quite get ready to practice.  I’m encouraged, though, with home much improvement he made… It’s really hard for him.  He hasn’t missed games is a guy that works out year-round, and is in great physical shape.  But the hamstring needs to heal before he can get back out there.”

Sophomore Chris Smith will start in Bequette’s stead, as he did last week against Troy.

“I thought he did a good job,” Petrino said.  “He got a nice sack and played real hard.  His athleticism really showed up and his ability to change directions and run down the line.  He didn’t always make the play but didn’t allow a cutback or a place for the running back to run.”

He’ll need to be on top of his game against the Crimson Tide.  Bama is the only team in the country with two backs who each average 100 yards per game (Trent Richardson at 105 and Eddie Lacy at 101).

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Hogs’ Robinson Concerned About Depth On Defense

Whether there’s a new quarterback or an injured tailback, no one spends much time fretting over Bobby Petrino’s offense at Arkansas.  At this point, Petrino appears to be the Steve Spurrier of the 2000s… players come and go, but the coach’s offense continues to put up big numbers.

To truly move forward as a program, however, the Razorbacks need to keep improving on the defensive side of the ball.  And D-coordinator Willy Robinson has some concerns heading into the season:

“I have some real doubts about how deep we are yet because of not seeing the seconds really develop into a solid backup.  They gave us great effort.  That was the one thing that stood out, it seemed like the second group had fun playing, they weren’t just quite executing well enough.”

Defensive end Jake Bequette doesn’t seem too worried about depth.  He feels it’s “pretty solid.”  “We’ve had some freshman who are definitely going to come in here and help us in that second unit for sure.”

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