Talented LSU defense has Arkansas' attention

By: Scottie Bordelon
Published: Tuesday, November 6, 2018
NWA Democrat-Gazette/J.T. WAMPLER Arkansas lost 45-31 to Vanderbilt Saturday Oct. 27, 2018 at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville.
NWA Democrat-Gazette/J.T. WAMPLER Arkansas lost 45-31 to Vanderbilt Saturday Oct. 27, 2018 at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville.

— As most Arkansas players did on Saturday, Razorbacks offensive lineman Hjalte Froholdt watched No. 1 Alabama's 29-0 win at LSU.

Although the Tigers lost, he still came away impressed by their defense, which held the Crimson Tide's ultra-explosive offense well under its average of 51 points per game and intercepted Heisman Trophy front-runner Tua Tagovailoa for the first time all season.

LSU's defense, without All-American linebacker Devin White in the first half, also prevented Alabama from finding the end zone on its first possession for the first time this fall. Granted those are small victories in the grand scheme, it has the attention of Arkansas players, particularly quarterback Ty Storey and Froholdt.

"It’s very impressive because Alabama has been flying around on everybody," Froholdt said. "(LSU has) a really big defensive line, and they’re really sound at what they do. It’s an extremely athletic group, especially in the backfield on the back end with all the safeties and corners. They’ve got talent all over that defense."

Coach Ed Orgeron's defense, highlighted by White and a handful of All-SEC caliber defensive backs, ranks 11th in the nation in scoring defense allowing just 16.7 points per game. The Tigers' secondary leads the SEC and is second nationally in interceptions with 15.

Safety Grant Delpit, also LSU's sacks leader, heads the unit with a league-leading five picks while John Battle has three and cornerback Greedy Williams has a pair. Storey knows he will have to be precise on Saturday and pick his spots, and he feels confident in what offensive coordinator Joe Craddock - expecting the birth of his second child later this week - is putting together off the bye week.

"I think they’re leading the SEC in interceptions," said Storey, who watched the Alabama-LSU game live then re-watched on coaches' film. "That’s kind of what we were talking about today. So we have to be extra careful with the ball and just know those guys can make plays.

"They’re good athletes and they have good ball skills. We have to run good routes and I have to put the ball where it needs to be on time. ... I think we have a good game plan and I’m pretty confident in what we’re doing."

Craddock said Monday the Tigers defense is likely the best Arkansas will have faced this season. Watching film, it's hard to identify a weak link, he added. But, he does expect his offense to "show out on Saturday night."

The Razorbacks' offense has been fairly productive of late, scoring at least 31 points in each of its last three conference games since scoring just 20 combined in losses at Auburn and Texas A&M thanks to the emergence of running back Rakeem Boyd and tight end Cheyenne O'Grady – 21 catches, four touchdowns in five games.

"They're good up front, they're really good at linebacker and they're really good in the secondary," Craddock said. "So it’s a big challenge for us. But we’ve had a week off to kind of get some guys that have been hurt and banged up to get them back and feeling a little bit better."

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