Arkansas' John L. Smith talked a familiar subject at his Monday weekly press conference and that is practice, make adjustments and continue to work hard.
Tyler Wilson said on Monday that no one has quit on the team and will continue to work hard as Auburn game nears.
Smith was asked if maybe the players have accepted the season won't be what was expected and aren't pushing themselves now.
"No, in fact Tevin (Mitchel) came out and ran last night," Smith said. "We're pushing ourselves."
Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson agreed with Smith that players haven't quit or not giving their all despite the slow start to the season.
"I feel like every week is an opportunity," Wilson said. "Resignation of some of the goals we set previously maybe, but our goal is to go out and play each game to the best of our ability. We have an opportunity from this point on to do that. We feel we can go out, compete hard and have ourselves in a position to win this week. We always feel like we can if we do the things right. I get the vibe there's a number of guys in our locker room that feel the same way."
Arkansas defensive lineman Alfred Davis also feels that Arkansas is still fighting hard and that no one has quit.
"Nobody has hung up their shoes," Davis said. "In some situations, all the way back to my middle school basketball team after we lost four games I had three teammates that didn't come to practice but we literally needed them because we only had seven players on the team. They didn't come and they quit. It would be easy for some players on this team to say, 'hey man, I'm a freshman I will just wait until next year.' They're not doing it. They understand we have a lot of football left to play. They're not quitting, they're not giving in."
On offense, Arkansas moved the ball against Texas A&M, but could only manage 10 points despite 515 yards of total offense.
"I don't want to make excuses, but it's consistency....mistakes," Smith said. "Just like last week we were driving the ball on them down 13-10 and at their seven-yard line. But, a mistake of an alignment and then we turn around and back up because of the penalty. Then we throw a pick and you can't do that. We have to keep it rolling against good football teams. It's just consistency and mistakes. We're trying to get it as simple as we can so everyone can align and execute and do their job."
Alfred Davis continues to be one of the leaders for Arkansas' defense.
Smith said the Arkansas staff has tried to make changes to things that aren't working on both sides of the ball, but also have to consider who is playing that particular week.
"We have to look at who is available to play and what they can handle," Smith said. "Again, let's not put him in an unfair position. That old saying you are only as strong as your weakest link. You have to take that into consideration and you plan the whole deal out particularly from the defensive side of the football. How much can we handle? How much can we put in? I think we've been able to maintain more of what we can do offensively than we have defensively."
Smith also addressed the issues of Arkansas struggling in the Red Zone.
"There's less field for them to cover so you have to become more consistent," Smith said. "I think our ability to run the ball has hurt us down there. We have to take it to heart and we have to kick our offensive linemen in the tail and take it to heart. We've got to become better down in the Red Zone running the football. That is No. 1. The other thing is we can't make a mistake down there and come away without points. We get down there we've got to get points on the board whether it be by field goal or touchdowns. Again, it comes back to being consistent and don't make a mistake particularly at that point. We have somewhat been our own worst enemy and we have to realize that as coaches and as a team and we have to fix that."
Arkansas was expected to compete for an SEC title this season, but instead lost four games in the month of September. Smith was asked if he has second guessed himself any this season.
"I think you always second guess yourself, but I don't know what you might be referring to," Smith said. "We have practiced....pretty much everything has maintained to like we have done in the past as far as we have done in the past. We try to be motivational as we have in the past in those regards. We try not to hit any more and lose more guys, but that has been a factor. Some years you get several guys hurt and some years you don't I guess, but that's not an excuse we have to win with what we have."
Smith said with all the preseason hype and accolades gone with the bad start the Razorbacks now have one simple goal.
"Our one goal is to go get a win," Smith said. "At this point, that's the only thing we should be thinking about. All this other stuff are all gone so let's worry about going and getting a win."
Arkansas' John L. Smith feels Auburn's defense is ahead of its offense at this time.
As many have already done previously, Smith talked about the attrition Arkansas has had in recent recruiting classes. Smith said that has definitely been a factor with this team.
"I'm kind of a number's guy," Smith said. "When you look at it with five classes that is 17 guys per year. That gives you a balance so that's what you shoot for. With that being said, we have a junior class coming up that has seven kids. So, has attrition hurt us? Yes. Do we need to fix it as we go along? You can't go get freshmen to put in that class so you have to go find seven junior college kids. Can we find seven junior college kids that we can bring in that can really help us? We're trying so attrition always kills you."
Hogs face Auburn this Week: Auburn has started the season 1-3. Auburn's only win was a 31-28 overtime victory over Louisiana-Monroe, a team that beat the Razorbacks 34-31 in overtime earlier in the season.
"Auburn's strength is definitely on the defensive side of the ball," Smith said. "Offensively, they haven't produced what I'm sure they would like to produce at this point, but as I look at them overall they are a very, very skilled football team as all Auburn teams are. They have athletes. They have good, big-looking guys who can run. They do a great job in the special teams. Athletically, you look at them as a very, very good football team. What they have done offensively I'm sure isn't what they wanted to do, but as we look at it maybe it's a good matchup for us this week."
Wilson has also been impressed with Auburn's defense and knows the Razorbacks will have to be hitting on all cylinders to move the ball against the Tigers.
"Auburn has a very good defense," Wilson said. "We're going to have to prepare and work hard. They disguise some things and they don't just line up and run it or sit back in coverage. We'll have to be on our toes this week."
Former Shiloh Christian quarterback Kiehl Frazier runs the Auburn offense and has impressed Davis thus far.
"He's a good athlete," Davis said. "A quarterback like that we have to find a way to contain him. We'll have to find ways to try and keep him in the pocket and check him on bootlegs and reverses."
Cornerback Tevin Mitchel is still recovering from gall bladder surgery.
How to Fix the Defense: Arkansas gave up 716 yards of total offense last Saturday and has been giving up a lot of yardage this season. On Monday, Davis addressed how the Razorbacks can improve on that side of the ball.
"Hit the practice field and work hard," Davis said. "We're making a lot of mental errors whereas in practice those things aren't happening. We're not carrying it over to the game. It's not acceptable and on Saturday we're not producing the product."
Injuries: Arkansas has a long list of injuries this year and played without some key athletes against Texas A&M this past Saturday.
"(Safey Rohan) Gaines should be ready to go," Smith said. "The others haven't been ruled out of the game. We're keeping our fingers crossed that they will get there."
Smith confirmed the reason Mitchel isn't playing is related to the gall bladder surgery and not the injury described as above the shoulders.
"It's the recovery on the gall bladder and the soreness he has had," Smith said. "It's not completely healed yet."