Bobby Petrino and the #18 Arkansas Razorbacks met with the media in Fayetteville on Monday, in advance on Saturday's matchup with #14 Texas A&M.
Here are excerpts from the press conference, courtesy of the University of Arkansas:
Head Coach Bobby Petrino
"I'm looking forward to tomorrow getting here so we can get out on the practice field and get to work and get ready for this game Saturday. It's going to be another good challenge for us. Watching Texas A&M on video, that is a very good football team. They really do a nice job with their defensive package. They made it hard on us last year, they moved the ball well. They didn't get it in the end zone when they needed to, but they made it hard on us. They're doing a good job on offense. We have to stop a really good running back, a quarterback who makes a lot of plays both with his arm and his feet. I just look forward to getting out on the practice field. We need to get better. Offensively, we need to get better at doing what we do; running the ball, play action, throwing it and being consistent. Not operating at a helter-skelter pace, we need to be consistent in how we operate. It will be a fun week. I'm looking forward to it. We always enjoy going to Dallas. It's a great venue for our players and their families and all our recruits from the state of Texas, and certainly we are looking forward to getting up early and playing an early game on Saturday."
(on if Texas A&M entering the SEC affects this week's game) – "I don't think so. We were going to play them anyway. We're excited that they're coming into the conference. I think that's good for us. It's good for our recruiting. There have been a number of guys in the last three or four years that we didn't get to come here, and they grew up watching Big 12 football and then chose a different school because they're used to it so much. All of the publicity, exposure, everything that we get now with A&M coming in from the state of Texas I think helps us a lot."
(on the play of the defensive ends at Alabama) – "I thought they did pretty well. Trey Flowers, we were talking on Friday, ‘What's our plan for him?' We felt like if we could get eight, 10, 12 good plays out of him, keep the guys fresh, that would be a good game. He was in there 30-something-plus snaps, and he played extremely hard. He didn't do everything right, but his effort and his strength helped us. I wish he would have made a nice catch, that would have helped too, but he's playing with a broken finger so we've got to get that thing healed up and ready to go. Chris Smith worked hard, played hard. He does a good job rushing the passer and he did tire. He did wear down so we've got to find some guys that can help there, some guys that can rotate in."
(on QB-Tyler Wilson getting hit as he makes throws) – "That's what courage is all about as a quarterback, is to be able to sit there, understand what's coming, stand in there and throw a touchdown pass to Cobi Hamilton and get hit in the chin. That's part of being a quarterback. That's what you have to do. That's being courageous as a quarterback. Then there's other times where everything's broke down, you've got to get rid of the ball or the ball comes out on time so you get hit. It's all part of playing the position."
(on the interior offensive line play) – "I think they learned a lot. They battled, their sets were better, they got their hands where they needed to be, they made a couple assignment errors still but we battled."
(on the play of Arkansas' linebackers at Alabama) – "They had a lot of production. I thought (Alonzo) Highsmith did a really nice job of running to the football. I think he had eight tackles and a sack. We had some missed tackles, though, too. We had some missed tackles at linebacker which hurt us a couple times, but I thought they played well as a group."
(on the team putting the Alabama game behind them) – "We came together as a team and met as an offense yesterday. You can only go two places; you can go down or you can get better from the loss. We talked about our direction as an offense and where we want to go. We're going to work hard this week to get better."
(on what the offense needs to improve) – "Concentration. We have to do a better job of concentrating and focusing on our assignments. If all 11 guys aren't doing their job, then the play probably won't work. We just need to do a good job at doing what we're coached to do on every play."
(on the team's reaction after Alabama) – "There was no finger-pointing. It was everybody's fault. We watched film yesterday as a whole offense. Everybody played their part in that loss. We just have to come out each day this week and work on getting better."
(on getting the running game better) – "We just have to work hard every day at practice. We have to work on blocking down field, offensive line blocking and allowing the quarterback to get us the right plays. It just comes down to focusing and knowing our game plan and what we do best. We just have to work on finishing our blocks better."
(on the Arkansas-Texas A&M game staying in Dallas) – "It would be great for it to stay in Dallas. It's a great experience for the kids. Being in that stadium, it's a feeling that you can't really replace."
(on what he took away from last week's game) – "We just have to come out and play hard out wide as receivers. I didn't feel like the wideouts played as good as they should have played. We just have to look in the mirror and come and play twice as hard as we did at Alabama."
(on what he expects from Texas A&M this week) – "I expect it to be a great game. I know both teams are going to fight hard. It's going to be a close game. We just have to come out this week and practice hard, just play Arkansas football like we know how and we'll be fine."
(on his play at Alabama) – "I think I did pretty well in that environment. Considering that was my first SEC game and it was against a great opponent, I think I handled it very well."
(on his tackle during Arkansas' goal-line stand in the second quarter at Alabama) – "I saw the ball handed off and I just reacted to it. It was just a combination of things with holes opening. It's what a linebacker is supposed to do."
(on the defense's performance at Alabama) – "We held our own, but at the same time, points were on the board. Anytime you lose a game, you feel like what could you have done. So at this point we are just trying to figure out what we did and learn from that to come back and show how good of a defense we really can be."
(on playing in his home state this week) – "It will be pretty exciting to have family out there who wants to see me play. Going back home in front of your family is always big, so I feel it will be exciting."
(on if he has ever been inside Cowboys Stadium) – "No, it will be my first time going into that stadium and I'm looking forward to that because they said it's like Disneyland of football, so I'm looking forward to seeing that."
(on DE-Trey Flowers) – "Trey was one of the guys that came in the same time I came in. Trey has always been one of those guys that you look at and you're like, ‘Yeah he's going to play.' He is fast, has good size and I feel like he went out there and did extremely well."
(on returning to practice Tuesday) – "We all want to get back on the field and try to correct what we messed up on Saturday and pull together because the better you practice, the better your performance in the game will be. So we're all anxious to get out there and pull together a win on Saturday."