Defense and defensive line

Jonathan Marshall is getting a lot of well deserved praise and has been a stalwart all season, but in watching the game I also noticed other players who caught my attention. It sure seemed that Coats spent a lot of time in the Tennessee backfield and played with an energy and intensity that excites me about his ability to make an impact going forward. Nichols seems to be very high energy and looked to be a force as well. Andrew Parker saw the field and seemed to be very physical and aggressive. Morgan and Pool deserved their attention, but Henry also played well.

It is fun to see the effort and to see the pursuit and playing all out until the whistle. The Hogs used to be famous for having numerous players in on and around the tackle, we are seeing a lot of that now. Seems that this team is trying to live up to the Hugo Bezdek description of a wild bunch of Razorbacks


There was a screen pass to a wide receiver early in the game. I saw Jalen Catalon make the initial play, but there were five players arriving as he made the tackle. Some were diving over Tennessee players to help Catalon. They were literally flying to the play at the end. It is the kind of effort and speed that has been lacking on this defense. Maybe there was some speed before, but it didn’t show up because the supreme effort was missing.


In my short and not so successful football career in Junior High what I lacked in speed, size and ability I made up for in effort. I would have attempted to run through a brick wall for Coach Harris. He reminds me so much of Sam Pittman.

I wanted to play so much but being short, skinny and slow could not be overcome. I still SMH at folks with natural ability that don’t give all for their team and coach.

Sam and his assistants have done a wonderful job of getting every ounce of effort from these kids. Love it.


I don’t know if the effort wasn’t there or they were too far out of position for the effort to show due to bad coaching.


Probably a little bit of both, but in my watching of prior film it sure liked the kids did not have the level of heart in it that we have seen to this point. I try to be realistic in my expectations, that is, to expect smart play, effort and sportsmanship. Wins are the cherry on the top, even though I love the wins.

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Oh, the effort does amaze me, it never stops no matter what the score or situation. However, in addition to that, (though I know little about football) it appears to me that every player knows his assignment, is where he is supposed to be when he is supposed to be, and all this with a new coaching staff, new schemes, no Spring training, and much uncertainty due to COVID. Add to that our lack of depth resulting in players having to be on the field for so many plays, playing through obvious injuries (how do Morgan and the others do it?) and I could go on and on. It is just so much fun to watch this football team!


Thus far most of our kudos have gone to the defense; and they’ve been outstanding (er, remarkable since last year). But, the big news was the offense coming back from that 13-0 deficit. That was huge…and I’m sure that incentivized the defense even more. Just think, our team was as solid that 3rd quarter as UGA was against UT. That’s dang good progress over six weeks.

Good point Daboar. I do think that if you allow only 13 points, you will win most games. It’s like holding Miss State to 14, you are going to win. Offense did not score in the other 3 quarters so they were due. It was a team victory and one side of the ball should not be overlooked.

Last year we did give good effort at times. Especially in the A&M game. But after we lost that, and especially as the season went on, it seemed to me that players became more and more discouraged from lack of success and gave up hope. The change to Barry Lunney seemed to inject a lot of new fight, but with the injuries, illnesses, and QB issues, it was just too little, too late.

I was really surprised when Odom came in and said something to the effect of “At least we have some speed”. Chad kept saying we had to get faster players. We saw DBs getting beat constantly and/or not being in position to make tackles constantly and we all assumed it was mostly a lack of speed issue. So I was really surprised when Odom said that.

Although more team speed is something anyone could use, apparently we were fast enough. Certainly the zones our DBs are in most of the time help too.

But effort helps also. I play basketball. I remember once racing down court, the length of the court, sliding on the court and tipping the ball out of bounds before the offensive player could pick it up and get an easy layup. Due to effort I looked fast. But I was the slowest player on our team.

Maybe compared to Mizzu Odom saw AR had more team speed than his defenses there. He had very good defenses with same level or less talent. Neither Mizzu or AR is on the planet talent wise as GA, Bama, Aub, FL, aTm. Proof that coaching makes a difference.

Odom told me from the first time I met him (at the media briefing the day after signing day) that there was “some” team speed available. Now, the trick obviously is to teach them the system so they can “play” fast. Clearly, he and his assistants have done that. I suspect that they still would like to have a little better speed on this defense.

But what I noticed in this last game was the defensive ends making some plays wide that had not been made in the past. Eric Gregory made one in the fourth quarter that I thought was exceptional. Gregory is going to be a really good player and is not bad right now.

I like to see and hear about progress during the season. I said it earlier, but I was overwhelmed by our performance, both offensively and defensively in last weekend’s third quarter. That was good “team” work; having the makings of a good team, although at 3-3.

We do have a couple huge asterisks…Full 10 game SEC schedule, and clearly the toughest SEC schedule of all time…with a new HC and staff…after coming off a terrible, terrible 2019…and virtually no Spring practice to prepare for the 2020 season…and a new QB…oh goodness, it does go on and on.

Just think about what Kendal Briles has done with Feleipe Franks – mostly in zoom meetings. That’s incredible. Has anyone else taken a transfer quarterback this year and done that? Throw away Costello’s one-game blip against a horrible LSU secondary (especially then) and you just don’t see anything comparable in the SEC.

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Do you see the measurables for the defensive end taking on a bit different look in Odom’s scheme? It seemed Chavis and others before him preferred the lean speed rush type of guys, but it seems we have benefited by having more size on the edge, especially in stopping the run.

I don’t know that I know the measurables for what Odom wants. Have not heard him say that – other than to say fast and big. If you have six or seven defensive linemen who fit that, maybe you play four down. Maybe you don’t have enough. Not sure.

Clay I know the play you are referencing, and I thought to myself “WOW now that’s a big time SEC play”… for a DE in get out and make that kind of play against SEC level athleticism is impressive… he’s a good one Steve Caldwell signed !

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