Matt Jones is the online sports director for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A double graduate of the University of Arkansas, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, and voter for the Biletnikoff Award.
Tuesday Practice Notes
Arkansas offensive coordinator Jim Chaney, right, talks with quarterback Brandon Allen prior to a game against Rutgers on Sept. 21, 2013 at Highpoint Solutions Stadium in Piscataway, N.J.
-Offensive coordinator Jim Chaney said Nicholls State will show multiple defensive fronts Saturday. Because Nicholls State faced Air Force's option offense last week, Arkansas coaches have had to watch game film from last season to get a grasp of the Colonels' front against a more traditional style.
-Chaney said coaches can still take away things from the Air Force game film. "There's a lot of value," Chaney said. "You see how they get off blocks, separate, break on balls and philosophies."
-Chaney said the game against Nicholls State provides Arkansas a chance to improve its play-calling balance.
-Chaney said he was happy with Brandon Allen's decision-making against Auburn, including his checks at the line of scrimmage.
-Receiver JoJo Robinson (ribs) is practicing and is expected to play this weekend, Chaney said, adding Arkansas needs its three freshmen to play to add depth.
-Chaney said receiver Demetrius Wilson had a mostly good game against Auburn, but was inconsistent like the rest of the offense. "He epitomized what we did on offense," Chaney said. "He made some fine catches...but he's a better player than he played."
-Barry Lunney, Jr., said tight end AJ Derby made an impact on the offense Saturday with four catches, including a touchdown. "It was refreshing to see him be who he has been behind closed doors," Lunney said. "It wasn't perfect, but he did some nice things for us in the passing game."
-Offensive line coach Sam Pittman said he is comfortable playing six offensive linemen right now - the five starters and reserve guard Sebastian Tretola. Pittman said he wants to get freshman center Frank Ragnow game-ready soon.
-Pittman said Arkansas' coaching staff fell short Saturday in addition to the players. Pittman said he was happy with his unit's performance in the first half but two missed blocking assignments helped change the momentum in the third quarter.
-Pittman expects opposing defenses to play Arkansas the way Auburn did in the second half, loading eight or nine players at the line of scrimmage.
-Pittman said tackle Brey Cook wore down in the fourth quarter. Pittman said Denver Kirkland could have slid from guard to tackle for a series because Tretola can play both guard spots, but said Cook stayed in the game because experience is important in a close game.
-Pittman said he is ready for the Razorbacks to snap their losing streak because "the kids deserve it."
-Quarterback Brandon Allen said Arkansas needs a win Saturday to break the losing streak. "It's been a while; been a long time," Allen said. "It would be big for a lot of people."
-Allen said he is becoming more comfortable with tight end AJ Derby. "I never doubted AJ," Allen said. "He thinks like a quarterback and sees the coverages well. He knows how to get open."
-Allen said offensive coordinator Jim Chaney not being in the locker room at halftime didn't affect the offense much and that they were still able to communicate. Allen added, "But it's easier when he in there."
-Allen said he was happy with how he played at Auburn, but there were mental errors he needs to correct that will be easy fixes. Allen said his demeanor was a strong point against the Tigers. "I stayed calm," Allen said. "Nothing was new to me. Staying even-headed is important, so I tried to be that."
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