University of Arkansas head football coach Bobby Petrino, Elton Ford, Tenarius Wright, Ryan Mallett and Broderick Green met with the media at a press conference on Monday. Below is a brief transcript.
Head Coach Booby PetrinoOn the game against South Carolina:"We need to go out there and win the game. Much like the Texas A&M and Auburn games, it is a must win for us. We’ve got to do a great job in our preparation and our practice this week. We need to go out and execute and perform on the field on Saturday. I’m looking forward to it. I’m looking forward to our team and hopefully we take some steps forward."
On fullback John Durmon:"He played a lot. He did a real nice job. He had a great week of practice. He’s finally as healthy as he can possibly be. He was very physical in practice and was very eager to get into the game. Fullback is a tough position. You’re one of the guys that does all of the collisions. Generally, you have about three or four good games and then you need a break. Van Stumon needed a little break last week, and John came in and did a nice job."
On practices:"You balance less practice by doing a great job in the meetings. You don’t put as much in as far as the game plan goes. You rely more on technique and execution rather than the amount of plays you put in. You don’t add a lot of new stuff, you just work on what you already have. It was important to us to get to the game with fresh legs."
On D.J. Williams:"We love D.J. as a receiver. We called a lot of plays for him. He had a couple passes that just barely hit off the end of his fingers on Saturday. He’s also playing better than he was at any point last year. He’s blocking extremely well and the aggressiveness he’s playing with is better this year than last year. He’s a big part of our football team."
On big plays on offense:"We’ve been good on big plays this year. We have to get a little more consistent on catching the ball and converting third downs. I think that’s a major emphasis for us. I think the most gratifying is when you see great effort. Things like Jarius Wright and London Crawford making downfield blocks to spring Knile Davis on his touchdown. Things like Broderick Green’s effort on his long touchdown run; making the guy miss and staying inbounds. He looked like he was not going to be denied and go the distance."
On the team chemistry:"We’ve been through a lot and we’ve stuck together. We’ve had our ups. We’ve had our downs. We’ve had guys that keep getting everybody together. We had a player suffer a mild stroke, but everyone on the team is looking out for him and is concerned about him. Then we get him back, and he brings energy and a smile back with him and really lifted everyone’s spirits."
Free Safety Elton FordOn getting back into SEC play against South Carolina:"South Carolina is a great football team and they usually strive on their defense. So we need to come into the game with good preparation throughout practice. Also, we need to come in focused and we will be ready to go."
On Coach Petrino’s practices:"He has made practice more competitive. If you don’t play hard then you won’t start. It makes everyone compete harder."
On wide receiver Joe Adams:"I went to him and talked to him to see if things were okay. He seemed fine and poised like the regular Joe. It was just unfortunate that he wasn’t able to play for us and help us in a few past games."
On the defense:"As a defense, we should try to strive on not getting that big play because it will hurt us in the long run. It will hurt us especially in big games. We need to keep working on that and working on finishing."
Defensive End Tenarius WrightOn his game continuing to grow and the confidence going down the stretch run:"I came out this season worried about how it would go with moving to defensive end. I feel like I’m getting better and that’s what I have to do. Just get better every day."
On getting back into SEC play:"I am excited. I haven’t had a chance to play against South Carolina yet. We are coming out hungry and ready to play. We expect them to run, pass, play-action."
On seeing so many different starters on Saturday:"We knew how it was going to be in practice so we got adapted to it. We all trust each other so it was easy to get used to it."
Quarterback Ryan MallettOn the offense getting big plays:"I think we have so many weapons that they can’t concentrate on just one or two of our guys. We have ten guys that can take it to the house at any time. That’s a great thing to have especially as a quarterback. You can hand it to one guy and he can take it 99 yards. That helps our offense out."
On South Carolina’s defense:"Their defense is top 10 nationally in pass defense. It’s going to be a good challenge for us. (South Carolina’s Eric) Norwood leads the SEC in sacks and they are going to be a challenge. This week we will really have to work on executing our offense. They do quite a few different things on defense and we are going to have to study that and find some tendencies."
On running back Broderick Green:"The thing people didn’t understand about him is that when Broderick first got here he was still a young player. Just from week one until this week you can really see him improving and putting his pads down and running through people. The light clicked on and now he is really playing. A guy as big as him should be running through tackles and now he’s running through people and tackles. Then you see the speed on that 99-yard run. He broke a tackle and they couldn’t catch him."
On Michael Smith and the confidence in the young running backs:"I’m confident in those guys. You don’t see that in a lot of guys, being 18 years old and being a force in the SEC. When we block for them, they can find the holes. They have a lot of speed and they don’t put the ball on the ground from the running back spot."
On getting back to conference play:"We need to win this one and the next game, and the next. It starts with this one. We need to play the best game we have played just to keep it rolling. We need to finish strong on go to a good bowl game."
On having so many new starters:"The point was made to not be satisfied. Just because you’re starting this week doesn’t mean you will next week. Guys stepped in and did a good job."
On fullback John Durmon’s performance:"Durmon is a guy that practices everyday and just tries to hit someone in the mouth. That’s what I like about him. He’s a nice kid but when he comes to practice he is ready to run through some people."
Running back Broderick GreenOn his 99-yard play:"Before I went in to play, I talked to my teammates and coaches and told them I was going for 99 yards. We practiced that play every day just about, starting on the one-yard line. When I got in and took my steps, the fullback made a great block which allowed me to get an open field. The offensive line did a great job. I got an open field and I saw the referee and ran towards him and said I had to score. Jarius Wright made an excellent block for me which helped me finish off the run. It didn’t hit me until today actually. I talked to some of my friends and family earlier and could not believe I ran 99 yards."
On the improvements he’s made this season:"I learned to be more patient and find open gaps. The offensive line and I both accepted a lot of criticism but we took time to watch film together and make corrections on those mistakes, and we have been preparing to make ourselves a lot better."
On the South Carolina game:"There are a lot of good teams in the SEC. We just have to take it game by game, and South Carolina is our next game here. We are going to prepare for them as well as we can this week, and end on a winning streak. "