Nate Allen is a columnist for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Missouri, Allen is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and voter for the Heisman Trophy. He has authored three books about the Razorbacks.
UA under pressure to turn up pressure
FAYETTEVILLE If Chris Smith made plays as often as he says “and everything like that,” the Arkansas Razorbacks junior defensive end would be unstoppable.
Actually, the Tulsa Golden Hurricane and the SEC office already deem Smith unstoppable and everything like that.
During Arkansas’ 19-15 homecoming victory Saturday at Reynolds Razorback Stadium, Smith made a career-high 8 tackles, batted down 2 passes, was credited with 2 quarterback hurries and made the game-sealing play. He sacked Tulsa quarterback Cody Green, causing the fumble that Arkansas tackle Byran Jones recovered with 41 seconds left.
On Monday, the SEC office declared Smith the SEC’s co-defensive lineman of the week.
So Smith addressed media Monday.
Smith said “and everything like that” too many times to count, but it turned out to be appropriate with everything he was asked to cover.
Arkansas’ most honored player off its last game faces the most pressure for the next one, an SEC clash Saturday against the No. 8 BCSranked South Carolina Gamecocks in Columbia, S.C.
Columbia comes as close to home in the SEC as it gets for Smith, a native of Mount Ulla, N.C.
“An hour and 10 minutes away,” Smith said. “ I just talked to my dad this morning and he said a lot of family and friends are coming andeverything like that, so I have got to start rounding up tickets and everything.”
How many tickets must he find?
“I don’t know, but my dad told me it’s a lot,” Smith said. “Probably around the 20 range. Pray for me.”
Arkansas Coach John L.Smith isn’t just praying for a big game from Chris Smith, he demands it.
“Chris had a good game last week,” the coach said. “He is going to have a lot of family there, so we expect him to have even a bigger game this week, which we’re going to have to demand from him. He’s going to have to have a bigger game.”
Chris Smith wants a game like his fellow starting defensive end, sophomore Trey Flowers of Huntsville, Ala., had coming back near home when he recorded 3 1/2 sacks as Arkansas whipped Auburn 24-7 on Oct. 6 in Auburn, Ala.
Auburn didn’t recruit Flowers, just like South Carolina didn’t recruit Smith.
“I have a chip on my shoulder, too, and everything like that,” Smith said. “Kind of like Trey Flowers did at Auburn.”
Flowers, who also excelledagainst Tulsa, and Smith know that both need to excel since South Carolina defensive ends Jadeveon Clowney and Devin Taylor are among the country’s most heralded bookends.
Opposing defensive ends are never on the field simultaneously yet play against each other, Chris Smith said, referencing Arkansas offensive coordinator Paul Petrino.
“Paul Petrino always says that whoever gets to the quarterback most, that’s usually who wins the game,” Smith said. “So we are going to try and affect the quarterback.”
Smith didn’t add “and everything like that,” but he should have.
If Arkansas wants to upset South Carolina, it needs Chris Smith bringing it all home and everything like that.
Sports, Pages 18 on 11/07/2012