9/24 Offensive Practice Report: Hogs Focused on Suspect A&M Defense

Rich Schultz

"We just had no motivation" in the fourth quarter edition.

The Arkansas offense is focused on facing a Texas A&M defense that has been less than stellar this season, players and coaches said on Tuesday.

In four games this year, the Aggie defense is surrendering over 218 rushing yards to opponents per game. Need we remind you they've played Rice, Sam Houston State, Alabama and SMU.

"Sometimes statistics can skew things a little bit," offensive coordinator Jim Chaney said of the Aggies defense. "They're not void of talent ... I look for them to come in hungry and ready to play."

Jonathan Williams is also not looking too much into the Aggies early season troubles stopping the run, and is confident in being able to get the run game going again.

"It's all on us," Williams said. He is looking to rebound from a season-low 26 yard rushing performance against Rutgers last weekend.

He was also adamant about how well the team responded from the loss in practice on Tuesday, stating Tuesday's practice was the best since the new coaching staff was assembled.

Of course, a big part of the Bret Bielema philosophy on offense is the time of possession, which will be key for Arkansas in keeping Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel on the bench as much as possible on Saturday.

"I think if we have the ball it benefits us a lot," Chaney said. "Offense is all about execution and we've got to be able to go out there and do that from the beginning of the game."

The offense also realizes what challenges lie ahead from this point forward as conference play begins this weekend.

"They're an SEC d-line," running backs coach Joel Thomas said of the Aggies. "That's a challenge within itself. We have to make sure we get our assignments executed right."

In a bit of review from Rutgers, Alex Collins chalked the loss last Saturday to the team being too comfortable and not remaining aggressive with a big lead late.

"During the fourth quarter we just had no motivation," Collins said. "That's just something we have to work on, finishing strong."

As far as good news goes, Arkansas received some Tuesday as D'Arthur Cowan returned to practice at full speed, and should be a go for Saturday.

Cowan now rejoins a once depleted group that has actually exceeded some fans' expectations following Mekale McKay's departure and Demetrius Wilson's injury.

"It's feeling great," Cowan said of his surgically repaired left foot. "The doctors told me 6-8 weeks, and this is going into my sixth week so it's just a transition and part of the process, and feels great to be going back out."

Arkansas continues to prepare for its showdown with the tenth ranked Ags, which can be seen on ESPN2 at 6 p.m. on Saturday.

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