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LIVE: Monday press conference

Arkansas Coach John L. Smith and select Arkansas players address the media today in the weekly Monday press conference, and Hawgs247 is at the Broyles Center to provide live updates.

The press conference begins at 12:45 p.m. Central in the Miller Room, and our updates are free to non-VIP and VIP subscribers.

Click the link below to follow along on the Hawgs247 message board.


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  • Here we go:

    John L's opening remarks: At SC, found out can't make mental mistakes they make and win against good people like that. Go back and look at the game and John L. feels like if Hogs hadn't shot themselves in the foot with penalties and hanging on to the ball, it could have and should have been a tight game. But the players hung in there, showed a lot of pride after the game. Showed character. They'll continue to do the right things and go back out to the practice field this week. There are going to be some young mistakes that they're going to have to live with. Have to minimize those. Starkville a tough place to go into and play, hostile like all SEC places are. Hogs will have to be well prepared, do a good job, play their best. Trying to ask every player to give a little bit more. A lot of young guys have done that -- Jonathan Williams, Mekale McKay, Nate Holmes, Otha Peters, A.J. Turner, Rohan Gaines, Trey Flowers ... you could go on and on. But they're getting better each game.

  • Updates on Chris Gragg and Knile Davis: John L. talked to Knile last night, and he feels better. "His leg is coming along and he had a good weekend, of course, of treatment. So I'm more optimistic there than I am with Gragg." Says you don't want to put Gragg in there before he's ready to protect himself and re-injure it.

    On Terrell Williams: "There is nothing to update there. He is still earning and working to earn his way back onto this team. Kind of the best answer I can give you. And hasn't completed that yet."

  • On young LBs vs. SC: They were isolating the young LBs and going in that direction. Hogs have to make sure they get aligned right and cover the right guys. Can't lose a guy for a second and then say I've got him as the guy goes by. Just young mistakes. Just going to keep working that until they get better and more comfortable with it. That's why it's nice to have a vet in there to direct traffic.

  • On Nate Holmes: "He had above the shoulder injury." John L. has his fingers crossed that he'll be OK. Takes test after test, but hopefully he'll be ready to go.

  • Kaelon Kelleybrew will be returning kickoffs and Hogs have also worked Cowan and Hatcher.

    On Dennis Johnson not returning kickoffs: Dennis was carrying a lot of load. They wanted to lighten that and increase Holmes' load. "We felt like that was a way of keeping Dennis a little bit more healthy." That's been a major concern.

  • On who's been playing well on offensive line: Swanson has really played pretty darn consistent. Other guys have been up and down. Bailey for the most part has been pretty darn consistent, but some games better than other games. They all need to be more physical up front. Have to credit Tyler Deacon with doing a pretty good job. Been up and down at tackles all year long. They've been going with who has the best practices at tackle. "Overall, we just have to get more physical and more right, which we're working on."

    On who's been playing well on defensive line: Green, Davis. All of the interior D-linemen have been decent. Have gotten good play out of Flowers. Chris Smith has played pretty good. Miles-Nash has been pretty consistent. "As I look at it, the D-line has been pretty darn consistent for is." Repeats that the O-line needs to be more physical and consistent, but they've been working hard to do that.

  • On his future at Arkansas after this season: "I'm the most optimistic guy you can imagine." Says other stuff can take care of itself and he's not overly worried about it. "I'm going to love every day that we go to the practice field, cause that's the best part of my day and being around those guys is what it's all about."

    On Mississippi State: QB does a good job, and line protects him. Overall, over the years, MSU has been physical, approach the level of Alabama and LSU with their physicality. Now they're getting great play from the QB.

  • Said in the past he's not sure MSU has gotten such good play from its quarterbacks. That's what stands out about this squad being different from recent years.

    On MSU's tough schedule and 3-game losing streak: You'd rather be playing a team that's lost three in a throw than has won three in a row. But they're an awfully good football team. But Hogs need to worry about themselves and go in with the right attitude. Only thing you use the three-game skid for is to motivate the Hogs to add one more to that.

    On Hogs' run game: Asked if he's surprised they haven't put together a better attack, he says no, he's not. You look back and want to be better in that aspect. The last few games, though, Dennis has been playing well, as has Jonathan Williams. Hogs have to do a better job of creating things up front.

    On illegal formations: If you go back and look there's no more this year than any other year. Two of them are big. Says the one against Ole Miss was not illegal. The one at South Carolina was an illegal formation.

  • Says Cobi admits the recent illegal formation penalty at SC was his fault, John L. says.

  • Also, an announcement: Cobi has been named one of 10 semifinalists for the Biletnikoff Award, which is given to the nation's top wide receiver.

    That's all for John L.

    Tyler Wilson is up now:

  • Tyler on John L's future: "This situation was just tough for anybody." Points to injuries. Says he's done everything that's been asked. Says he thinks "tremendously high" of John L. and the rest of the coaches. Says the players have to do a better job.

    Tyler on Cobi being a semifinalist for Biletnikoff: Exciting for him to have a guy like that on the team. He only touched him four times last week, so they have to get it to him a little more. Says Hogs have done a good job of finding ways to get it to him. Last week, not as good of a job, but they spread it out to other people. Tyler expects him to have a big game this week.

    What has Cobi done so well to get open: Tyler says his get-off is something he's greatly improved on. Said he's explosive. People used to call him the 200-meter guy who takes a while to get going, but he's done a great job in the past six months of getting off the line so much quicker. Allows him to get in passing lanes and windows quicker and stretch the field quicker.

  • On getting younger guys involved: It's been by necessity because you lose a guy like Gragg to injury. Catch that Keon made across the middle at SC, showed a lot of concentration to make the play. Demetrius Wilson did a good job of getting open, too.

    Have you accepted fate of no bowl, or is there fight left? Tyler says there's fight left, and he's going to be prideful in what he does. Why not make it the best he can make it?

  • On being bowl eligible: Six is the number. They all know that. Need two more wins. Face a MSU team that's lost its last three. Hogs feel like they're playing pretty good football as far as ideas, schemes are very good. Attention to detail, the little things, are holding the Hogs back. Difference between winning and losing is so small. It's a guy being on the ball here or there vs. Ole Miss. Last week a big play was taken away. Have to take pride in knowing everything about their positions, including himself. If they do that, they have a great chance to win both games coming up. Two games left, and he thinks they can win both of them.

    On McKay's progress: Tyler says he made some plays, made some moves. Gave them a chance a couple of times deep in the red zone. Young guys still need to clean up some little things, but he's come to work each day to become a better player.

    On illegal formation vs. SC: Definitely takes the wind out of your sails. Hogs have been extremely successful on first possessions all year long. When you do that, you feel like you're on rhythm. See a flag on a big play, takes wind out of sails, but have to overcome that. Says that's a dagger.

    On how he's feeling physically (he's limping a little): He feels pretty good. You get seven days. You always feel a lot better on Saturday than you do the day after the game. It's normal.

  • On who's being a leader: Offensively, Travis Swanson's "care factor" is high. People respect him cause he leads by example a lot. Some young guys like Jonathan Williams have stepped up. Says J-Will carries himself with swagger like a veteran. Big to have a guy like that out there. You have to have people like that in your huddle. Defensively, young guys have stepped up, too.

  • Also, Dennis Johnson is a hard worker who grinds, and when it's game time, he goes out there and plays.

    Tyler on the running game's problems: Hogs placed emphasis in summer months of throwing quick game and understanding the pass game. And he thinks maybe with some of the stuff that's happened, they haven't been able to run it as well. They've done some things where they can use the draw game, take pressure off, and give them a shot. Said they have to build on that. Said Dennis has done a tremendous job. When he has a guy to beat, he always seems to beat them. Has done a good job, as has Jonathan Williams, of making things happen.

  • That's all for Tyler.

    Hocker up now ...

    Asked if he wants John L. back next season: Absolutely. He loves John L. They've formed a great relationship. He has full confidence in him. Echoes Tyler that JLS is doing his job. Players have to do theirs.

  • Hocker on breaking Steve Little's record: It was cool. Steve was one of the best here. He didn't know he broke the record until after the game. But there had been a little talk about it leading up to the game. He knew he was close. Right now, he's just focused on winning names, but it will be cool to look back and think about that later. Said it's disappointing to see guys like Tyler and Cobi to set records but come off the field with a loss. Have to carry those performance over to this week vs. MSU.

    With Breeding leaving, will he punt next year? Said absolutely, he would love to do that. Expects competition, but being an upperclassman, hopefully he can win that spot and do all three -- kick off, kick FGs/PATs and punt.

    Asked if that was tough on one guy's leg: Adding a couple of punts here, there to a game won't affect him that much. He does everything Breeding does in practice already. Says he has the stamina.

    On kicking FG when it was 31-10 at SC: He can't worry about the score. He has to go out there and tack on three points, regardless of what's going on or what the situation is.

    On his performance: Not living up to the goals he set for himself on FGs. Said he doesn't want to miss again. He had greater expectations for himself. He can do nothing but look forward to next weekend and try not to miss again.

  • Said it's not characteristic of him to miss a 26-yard FG. He tries to hit the ball the exact same way. It's been disappointing, the misses, that is. He's just going to keep focusing on the little details, like the rest of his teammates.

    On his touchback percentage: Feel like kickoff coverage team has done a good job when they do bring it out. He wants as many touchbacks as possible, but again compliments the coverage team of pinning folks down.

    On new kickoff rules: He liked the rule until he learned touchbacks will come back to 25. Makes it easier for kickers, but you still have to kick it a long way.

    Has he seen Steve Little kick? Says he's seen a little. He's honored to have his name next to his in the record books. Said he was one of the greats.

    And that's all for today's updates.

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