Bret Bielema, coordinators on Texas A&M, New Mexico State

By: Jimmy Carter
Published: Monday, September 25, 2017
Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema cheers on his team after a score in the first half of an NCAA college football game against Texas A&M on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema cheers on his team after a score in the first half of an NCAA college football game against Texas A&M on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

— Follow along as Bret Bielema, Dan Enos and Paul Rhoads review Saturday's loss and preview the New Mexico State matchup.

Bret Bielema

— Can't allow failure to win to creep into the program. People were sad and upset after TCU. Sunday was more of anger. "Guys, after they watched film, were pissed" about not being able to capitalize on opportunities.

— Did positive things in all three phases but had costly lapses.

— Jared Cornelius damaged his Achilles and is having surgery today. Has a redshirt year available. No need to make hurried decisions. Going to try to give him a lot of different scenarios. He can get an NFL evaluation at the end of the year. Could explore the supplemental draft. A six-month recovery wouldn't allow him to get in a lot of workouts before the draft. Cornelius was in good spirits. Disappointed but has had a lot of these moments he's bounced back.

— Kevin Richardson should be ready to go Saturday. Was a game-time decision with a high ankle sprain against A&M. Getting K-Rich back in the lineup gives a lot of depth on defense. He's also a big part of special teams.

— Jonathan Nance stepped up big. Lost Rawleigh Williams in the spring and three others stepped up. Beginning of the first game, they lose Ryan Pulley and the rest of the secondary elevates their game while Kamren Curl steps in and competes well. Losing the No. 1 receiver, Nance and Jordan Jones responded. Expect Deon Stewart to respond. De'Vion Warren might get in there, potentially Brandon Martin and Gary Cross.

— Grant Morgan had an injury issue.

— This WR "group has a lot to come forward." Nance, Jones and Stewart are the top 3. The next 3 are up for grabs. Talk about Martin "but he hasn't done it yet." Has had some injury issues. Cross, Warren and Jarrod Barnes can factor in.

— Jones has tremendous speed, is a long player and has good hands on the deep ball. The jet sweep was nice for him and T.J. Hammonds, who is a WR he forgot but could take a big jump.

— When he put the depth chart out, Paul Ramirez can play both tackles and Johnny Gibson can play every position but center. A&M was bringing pressure at right guard, so they wanted to get Gibson there in place of Ty Clary. The plan was to get Colton Jackson out for Ramirez so he wouldn't play the whole time. Dalton Wagner is back and "there's a good chance we could mix him in there." Continue to try to push Brian Wallace and Jalen Merrick to get in position to play. "Believe me, if they were better than the options out there," they'd be out there. Emphasizing pass pro is important.

— It would take a "significant swing" for Ramirez to start, but they'll start the best 5. Don't see him beating out Gibson at right tackle, but they want their best 5 on the field.

— Happy with run blocking. Have to get in better third-down situations so teams can't bring pressure. Those situations expose everyone. Even Frank Ragnow got beat on one. A&M has good interior linemen. You hope when you score 43, you'll be in good position to win.

— Doesn't look back and wish they'd have tried to score before halftime because the defense had given up a few big plays. If the first few plays had worked, they'd have treated it differently. Knew they were getting the ball in the second half.

— Sacks are on protection and Allen, depending on the situation. Allen is holding it too long at some points, but there were breakdowns at others. "Don't want our quarterback to get hit eight or nine times or he won't make it through it."

— Want to make New Mexico State an SEC type game, SEC environment.

— NMSU plays good football. This is going to be their big game.

— Take a self inventory after any game. There were times they decided once they got past a certain yardage, they were going for it regardless. Cole Kelley and Wildcat packages were good. Defensively, A&M capitalized on most of Arkansas' plays it didn't line up correctly. All three phases had hand in success and failure. A lot of things can get lost if they're positive and if you ignore them they may never come back.

— Connor Limpert hit a 54-yarder in pregame. Placed the ball well on kickoffs, for the most part.

— Kevin Richardson, Santos Ramirez, Josh Liddell and some linebackers are big parts of coverage units. There were 3-4 guys who weren't in at the end.

— Brian Wallace isn't playing because "we've got better players." Colton Jackson had a good spring. Got down to the point where they decided they were better with Clary at guard and Gibson at tackle instead of Gibson at guard and Wallace at tackle. Wallace has had a good attitude and was in Bielema's office first thing yesterday to try to get in on a speciality package. A lot of the older linemen haven't taken a step forward.

— Thinks fans care a lot. Players are disappointed and upset, but this was more of an anger factor. Defensive players are very frustrated, in particular. Have to channel it the right way. As far as fans having angst or losing interest, that doesn't go with what he's seen at Arkansas. Gets notes and fan interactions constantly. Doesn't hear from negative people or see them.

— Different goal-line looks. A&M started bringing in five defensive linemen when Kelley came in, but he's their second-string quarterback. Getting him in "brings a lot of positive vibes to it."

— Could've had an interception the first play of overtime. Thought they were off the field on third down and they got a flag. "Like every time we turn around, something hits us in the head." Keep pressing and "eventually we'll break through."

— Will here from SEC office about plays later in the week. Sent in 10-11 plays, some for clarification. There were a lot of non flags that came on critical drives or big plays. O'Grady not being given a PI call on the interception was one.

— Doesn't think players are angry at officials. Angry in the day itself. Three out of four games in OT and not being able to come out on top angers you. Kids are embracing the challenge and fight they have to get back on track.

Dan Enos

— "Very disappointed we didn't score enough points to win." Played really well at times, but felt like they left a couple TDs out there. Liked some of the structural setups. Good to see guys step up and have success. Played a lot of players and that'll have dividends. Makes guys excited for practice and prep. Not good enough to win, but thought they did some good things.

— Very disappointed for Cornelius. Outside of being a good player, he's a great person. Turned into a great leader. Will hurt because he's very experienced, a good leader and you were starting to see the old Cornelius on Saturday. Guys have to step up.

— Deon Stewart's the one they've got to get going a little bit. Practiced well but hasn't had the production on the field. Thinks he's close to breaking out. T.J. Hammonds has to continue to practice better and get everyone comfortable with him. Gary Cross has practiced well and his role will grow. Guys have to just keep practicing. Had a good week last week.

— On the OL, just like any position, guys have good and bad days. Tried to find a formula that worked Saturday. A&M took 2 of their best tackles and put them over Clary. A lot of guys had trouble stopping moving them forward. Clary did good in run and got overpowered in the pass. Gibson held up better in pass pro. Ramirez made a mistake or two, but handled the environment and did good things. Going forward, probably 6 and maybe 7 will play.

— Cole Kelley did a great job. Was very into it. Moment and situation wasn't too big for it. People can know he's coming in, but he's a quarterback and can throw every play in the offense and run every play. "We feel very comfortable calling every play in our offense when he's in there." A&M put in a goal-line D and they were still able to pick up yardage. Doesn't think they're tipping hand when he's in, because he can do whatever. Kelley came up with the idea, said "try to use me any way you can." As you look for the future, Allen won't be here after this year, so at least they'll have a guy with game experience.

— Kelley came to him in the bye week.

— Kelley is very well-liked, a positive personality and competitor. Likes to play. Had to tell him to back up a few times in the sideline because he was wanting to go in more.

— Kelley took credit for a wheel route later on because he said he ID'd A&M wasn't covering the back.

— Did a better job executing on the goal line.

— Steamboat is the name for Cole Kelley package, because after the first game Kelley was called the 'Louisiana Steamboat.' He hated it, so they named the package that and everyone now calls him Steamboat.

— Wild Hog is the Chase Hayden package. Ran Hayden's in the bowl game a bit with Hammonds. Wanted him to get involved more. That's a package that'll continue to grow and get more stuff with.

— Jonathan Nance has a knack. Will continue to get better as he gets more comfortable.

— TE screen game allows them to get ball to weapons. C.J. O'Grady is a guy emerging who needs touches. Austin Cantrell is a capable receiver who defenses lose focus on because of his blocking. Try to be multiple and versatile with the offense. Have to try to create window dressing and get guys in space.

— First play of the final drive of the first half, they tried to call a play-action shot, but they got beat on the OL and had to take the checkdown swing pass and lost a lot of time. Was 100 percent on board with milking the clock after that.

— NMSU defense is very multiple. They blitz a lot and all over the place. They create issues for you based on the multiplicity of what they do. Different from what they did last year. Going to be a challenge to figure out blitz patterns and packages.

— Thought Austin Allen was outstanding. Made big-time throws in big-time moments. Took hits while making big throws. Minuses were pocket posture at times. Should've checked the ball down on the last play, but other than had a lot of good plays. Played very fast, relaxed and played a lot of good football.

— Allen was on board with Kelley package from get-go.

Paul Rhoads

— There are 3 things they ask the kids for: play smart and prepare and practice in a smart way. Had 7 busts for the game, about half as many as they had in TCU game. Ask kids to play hard, playing fast and straining to finish. Lowest number of the 3 games, outstanding in that. Asked kids to tackle great. Missed 2 tackles while giving up 500 yards. Did all 3 things, but when you go back to the busts, 4 of the 7 busts accounted for 222 yards and 24 points. You don't give yourself a chance to win or for success if that's the case.

— Didn't want to talk about the PI call. Not counting it as a bust. "There was no bust on that, there was a great play by our defensive back on coverage on that play."

— NMSU is a very good offensive football team. They've done it consistently this year, around 470 yards per game a year. Scoring a lot of points. They have a veteran QB who can really spin it. Can make any throw. Have a really dynamic running back. Second on the team in catches. Has good quickness and speed. Have a big 6-6 receiver who's hard to defend, but they spread the ball out, too.

— Run spread and hurry-up that operates out of 4 WRs about 70 percent of the time. Most of the remaining 30 is 3 WRs and a TE. They're going to throw a lot out of the 4 WR set and mix run and pass out of 3 WR set.

— Not involved with the substitution on kickoff coverage. Special teams are terribly important and when a guy needs a break, it needs to happen on offense or defense. John Scott and Bielema make personnel decisions on kickoff. Thinks they've been smart. Have more bodies available this year. Overall coverage was outstanding, which makes the last one hurt.

— Trying to both get pressure with a pass rush as well as get the sack. Not many offenses around that give you the option to get pressure because they get the ball out quickly. NMSU gets it out very quickly. Been operating out of more of a 3-man rush on pass downs than they'd like to, which has hurt the pass rush. Looking to address that.

— A&M went after Curl. Was surprised TCU didn't target him more. A&M went deep a lot and not just on him. Other than the 50-yarder, he was in position to compete and finish, gave a stellar effort. That won't be the end of it. The 4 CBs stand to stay in the rotation.

— It's hard for people to hear and believe with the final outcome, but the read option defense had one play that was an issue. Should've been a 2-yard loss.

— Anticipates Kevin Richardson to be back in the starting lineup as the nickel back with Dre Coley and Josh Liddell rotating at safety. Richardson was going to have to spend a good deal of time on Kirk and wasn't at a level where he could've done that as well as he needed to.

— On Curl's PI, you let anyone know that they're doing it well when they're doing their job.

— Thought Scoota Harris had a good 2 weeks of prep. Really applied his early knowledge of the game plan and played his best game so far. He's the general on the field.

— Reviewing the film made them angry because of how they played well as a whole.

— They tweak the defense as the weeks go on, have additions. Kids are quite confident in what they're doing. That's one of the reasons they play so hard. "I love them dearly for it." You're going to continue to see improvement.

— Blitz packages are affected by a team's ability to run the quarterback and formation you. Matchups have dictated that the pressures are a little bit limited.


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