Arkansas' defense gave up 537 yards to South Carolina last Saturday in a 52-7 loss, but it doesn't get any easier this week as the Razorbacks travel to face No. 1 Alabama.
Chris Ash said Alabama has a very balanced offense and one that doesn't make mistakes.
Chris Ash, who coordinates Arkansas' defense, met with the media on Wednesday to discuss practice and the play of the defense. Ash said how the team practices isn't how they play on Saturday.
“We line up in formations, we fit plays the right way and we practice good fundamentals,” Ash said. “We do the things we need to do to win on the week and we don't do it on Saturday.”
The Arkansas defense was on the field for 43 minutes, 25 seconds against South Carolina. Ash was asked about the depth on the defense.
“We've got a long way to go in terms of developing depth,” Ash said. “The positions like the D-line has more depth. At the other positions that's a problem right now.
“In this day and age of up-tempo you're going to be out there a lot of plays unless you can get off the field in three-and-out. We're not able to do that consistently enough yet to cut the number of reps down in a game. Depth is a real concern.”
Ash was asked why the defense couldn't get off the field this past Saturday.
“You got enough time?” Ash asked the reporter. “There was a lot of issues unfortunately. It starts on first down. We allowed South Carolina to get into a lot of third-and-shorts, fourth-and-shorts. It starts with our success on first down.”
Ash was asked about the play of the defensive line this week in practice following the loss of Robert Thomas to an injury this past Saturday.
“They have been fine,” Ash said. “There's enough playmakers up there, enough veteran guys they know what they need to do.”
Alabama is led in rushing by T.J. Yeldon who has 88 carries for 569 yards and six touchdowns. Former North Little Rock standout Altee Tenpenny is fifth on the team with 66 yards and one touchdown on 18 carries. Ash was asked about Yeldon and the Crimson Tide backs.
“They've got a good stable,” Ash said. “He's a great back. He's big, physical and runs hard, but he's not the only one. They can spell him and I think they are going four or five deep. It's an impressive group.”
Ash said Alabama is a balanced team that can run or throw the football. Quarterback A.J. McCarron has passed for 1,407 yards and 11 touchdowns this season. Ash talked about what makes McCarron so good.
“The thing I've been impressed with is he takes care of the football,” Ash said. “He doesn't make bad decisions. He doesn't put the ball in jeopardy. He has thrown three interceptions this season which is impressive. I'm just impressed with the command of the offense that he has, the way he protects the ball and the decisions he makes.”