Arkansas Practice Report: Razorbacks Defense Preparing For Physical Florida Offense

Andy Lyons

"The field is the same length, and we're still playing with the same football/we wanna bang witch'yall" edition.

The Arkansas defense is preparing to face a very physical offense and for the second dual threat quarterback in as many weeks, defensive players and coaches said on Wednesday.

Coaches and players both expressed some disappointment in the way the defense performed last Saturday against Texas A&M's high-powered offense, but realize another tough test is on the way this weekend in Gainesville.

"Especially in the run game we just felt like that's not us, that's not Razorback football," defensive end Trey Flowers said. "We're planning on bouncing back this week and taking more of a focus ... We're just going to go play Razorback football."

It is apparent through the first few weeks of the season that Florida's strong point is its defense, but Arkansas is not overlooking the Gators' capabilities on the offensive side of the ball.

"They're very multiple in what they do," defensive coordinator Chris Ash said of the Gator offense. "They're a combination of a pro-style, downhill power running attack ... Very multiple, and a good challenge."

Ash also stated that it's a bit too early to tell what new Florida starting quarterback Tyler Murphy's tendencies are after less than two games, but it appeared to him the gameplans for Murphy were "very simple," and expects to see more quarterback run game out of Florida this week.

Trey Flowers also stated he "most definitely" thinks having played Johnny Manziel better prepares the defense for yet another quarterback that can run.

"I don't see a whole lot of Johnny Manziel back there, but he's most definitely mobile," Flowers said of Murphy. Flowers also stressed that the defense must understand rush lanes better than last week.

Aside from Florida's QB situation with Tyler Murphy, players and coaches agree they have their work cut out for them against running back Matt Jones, who received high praises from Ash as a "very physical runner."

Jones' offensive output last week against Kentucky more than matched the Wildcats' total offense for the game as he ran for 176 yards and touchdown on 28 carries.

"They do a lot of things that are familiar," defensive end Chris Smith said of the Gator offense. "One thing about Florida is they do a lot of things out of different personnel."

Several players mentioned Florida using lots of formation shifts on offense, a concept the defense is working to prepare for.

Flowers and Smith were visibly not pleased with the defense's performance last weekend as the Aggies took control of the game via the run, an aspect of the Arkansas defense that had been a strong suit.

"It's a big deal for us," defensive tackle Robert Thomas said of needing to bounce back on run defense this week. "We're just going to go out there, fill our holes, and play our game. If we do that right then everything will be all right for us."

I also spoke with Trey Flowers and Robert Thomas regarding the statement made by a Florida defensive end that center Travis Swanson played "dirty" after the whistle. Here were their thoughts:

Thomas: "I feel like in my opinion that Swanson is nowhere near that type of player. He's a great athlete. For the whole time I've been playing with him I've never seen him pull anything that was just dirty. So, that's just how [Damien Jacobs] feels, I guess."

Flowers: "No, we've just got a lot of guys that get after it and play football, and they play within the whistle. We're just a physical team. I don't see that in practice."

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