Arkansas Practice Report: Auburn Rushing Attack Presents Challenges on Senior Day

Spruce Derden-US PRESSWIRE

"I'm still looking forward to applying the gospel and doing my technique" edition.

The Arkansas defense is preparing for an Auburn offense that has four players in the top 15 in the SEC in rushing, presenting a unique challenge, coaches and players said Tuesday.

"It's a great challenge, a great opportunity to come out and continue to show we're still trying to improve," defensive coordinator Chris Ash said of the Auburn offense.

The Tigers offense will present unique dynamics to the Arkansas defense, running a spread offense, but one that showcases the run rather than the pass.

"It's a multiple attack. They can attack you downhill with powers, and counters, and downhill zones and things, then they can attack the perimeter with outside plays," Ash said. "We've got to do a great job of keeping the ball inside and in front of us."

"Of the offenses I've been able to defend over the last few years, not a whole lot of people run a true downhill zone read like they do," he continued.

Last season Arkansas was able to claw out a conference road victory at Auburn led by strong defensive efforts from Trey Flowers and Chris Smith, but coaches aren't using last season's game tapes to prepare for this year's matchup with the Tigers.

Defensive line coach Charlie Partridge said the Razorback defense looked more at the 2011 game tape in preparation for Saturday, and that Malzahn's rushing attack presents "new versions of some old school run style plays."

The Auburn offensive line was dominated by the Razorback front last season, forcing five turnovers, and sacking the quarterback eight times in the game. Auburn only rushed for 40 yards in the contest, also, a number that is certain to increase this weekend.

"Auburn's a completely different team," Ash said.

"Last spring when I looked at Auburn when we were first here studying the SEC offenses, and when you see Auburn's offensive line this year compared to last year, it's not even close. That film doesn't help us much right now," he continued.

Although Ash said he doesn't use the film from last season much is his preparation for this game, he still expects Trey Flowers and Chris Smith to take advantage of matchups much like last season.

Ash also noted some personnel changes are "up in the air" for Saturday, saying the defense has worked with a number of combinations of players, but is still undecided at this point.

With this weekend being senior day, coaches this week have stressed getting this senior class, one that has been through a lot since arriving on campus, a win in its last home game, Chris Smith said.

"It's the last one for us," Smith said.

"Like the coaches have been telling the younger guys, 'play for the seniors,' and telling the seniors to play for each other. It's going to be an emotional night, but at the end of the day, it's an SEC game and we're just trying to win."

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