Hogs piled up points, but fixes still needed

By: Clay Henry
Published: Monday, September 25, 2017
Arkansas offensive coordinator Dan Enos watches warmups prior to a game against Texas A&M on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, in Arlington, Texas.
Photo by Ben Goff
Arkansas offensive coordinator Dan Enos watches warmups prior to a game against Texas A&M on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, in Arlington, Texas.

— Arkansas offensive coordinator Dan Enos saw positives after piling up 43 points and 457 yards in the Razorbacks' 50-43 overtime loss to Texas A&M.

"I'm very disappointed we didn't score enough to win," he said. "We played well at times, but we left a couple of touchdowns on the field. We had some things set structurally but didn't execute."

Obviously, the Hogs didn't score in overtime. That was the only time in six red zone trips without a touchdown. A first-down pass was incomplete when Jeremy Patton didn't get a foot down in the back of the end zone and quarterback Austin Allen was intercepted on third down.

"I thought Austin was outstanding," Enos said. "He made some big-time throws. He made some accurate throws when he was being hit."

Enos said some of the "minus grades" for Allen had to do with "pocket posture." He wanted the quarterback to step forward in the pocket more, like he did in the fourth quarter on two long passes to Jonathan Nance.

"He did a great job on the screen game, daring them to rush him and getting an extra tick," Enos said. "Obviously, one of his negatives was the last play (for an interception). That should have been a check down. On the play before that, you'd wish he threw it three feet to the left.

"I gave him a negative there because the guy was open, but it's not as easy as it looks. He was going to the post first, and that is the next option."

Allen was sacked six times and on the ground from the rush "eight or nine" times during the game, Arkansas coach Bret Bielema said.

"Austin held the ball on two or three of them," said Bielema, noting that the other hits could be distributed between the offensive line, running backs and tight ends as far as protections.

"We don't want to get him hit eight or nine times. He won't make it through the season."

Coaches tried a rotation in the offensive line that included seven players with Paul Ramirez working at both tackle spots in relief of Colton Jackson and Johnny Gibson, and Gibson moving to right guard to relieve freshman guard Ty Clary.

"Paul made some mistakes, but he played well at the end," Bielema said. "We were able to give Colton some rest, and reduce the pressure we were putting on Ty in pass protection against their tackles. They have two of the best in our league and they moved them to play against our freshman."

Bielema indicated that others could slide into the O-line rotation with good play in practice.

"We keep pushing Brian Wallace and Jalen Merrick," Bielema said. "But believe me, if they were our best options, they'd be out there."

True freshman Dalton Wagner, perhaps injured during fall camp, has shown improvement and might earn playing time.

"Wagner is back," Bielema said. "In the last two weeks, it's the best he's looked in spring and fall. He could be back in the mix."

All of that makes for energy in practice, Enos said. Playing more backs, receivers, linemen and quarterbacks improves morale.

"When you play a lot of players, there are dividends," Enos said. "They come to practice more lively."

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