University of Arkansas head football coach Bobby Petrino, Ryan Mallett, Jake Bequette and Ronnie Wingo, Jr. met with the media at a press conference on Monday. Below is a brief transcript.
Head Coach Bobby PetrinoOn the transition from facing Texas A&M to facing Auburn:"It was a different style of game; a lot of throwing and a lot of scrambling by (Texas A&M quarterback) Jerrod Johnson. As a result, our pass rush got better. It changes styles this week. We are going to find out how we are at stopping the run. We need to play a complete game on the defensive side of the ball. We need to stop the run, control their screens and control their quick passing game they utilize."
On Auburn’s running game:"They’re doing a great job of utilizing their strengths. They have two really good running backs and their full back is a great receiver. They utilize those guys. They run reverses and misdirections. We have to have the ability to be disciplined with our eyes and understand what the blocking schemes are and react to the misdirection."
On Arkansas’ running backs vs. Texas A&M:"Ronnie Wingo, Jr. and Knile Davis are really starting to impress me. Ronnie has done a nice job. Some of the problems earlier in the game were the blocking and other times we just weren’t hitting the holes. There was some space there that we didn’t see. We have to do a better job of finding where it is at. We have to get better as a whole group of running backs in getting yards after contact. That’s really where Ronnie separated himself from the other guys; he got a lot of yards after contact, not even including the long run. The other touches he had during the game, he was getting a bunch of yards after contact."
On Ronnie Wingo, Jr.’s 62-yard touchdown run:"We had some great blocking on that play. D.J. Williams initially got cut off from blocking his guy but showed a great second effort in getting to him and driving him. That’s the block Ronnie cut back off of. It was a great touchdown block. Jarius Wright came in and got one safety. Reggie Fish got the other safety. That’s how you get long runs; downfield blocking."
On London Crawford’s status:"We’ll find out this week if he’s ready for contact. He did really well last week in running and catching. It’s all up to the doctors. He’s scheduled to have another x-ray to see if his injury is healed enough for contact."
On Arkansas’ receivers:"Joe Adams is doing such a nice job running after the catch. We’ve got to get him as many touches as we possibly can. He’s been very difficult to tackle. He’s been very elusive; he breaks tackles and makes guys miss. He’s also doing a nice job catching the ball, so we’ve got to get him the ball."
On Arkansas’ defense:"They did a nice job coming off the ball and understanding what the game plan was. They played well. All four defensive ends played well especially rushing the passer. Jake Bequette, Tenarius Wright, Adrian Davis and Damario Ambrose all played great against the pass and the run. Ambrose did a really great job against the run. He uses his hands and holds his gap well."
On Arkansas’ secondary:"They have to play well. They have to tackle well. They have to understand run, pass, and play-action because Auburn does a nice job with their play-action game in trying to make it look the same. So we have to be great with our eyes and come downhill and tackle, and then when they pass, we have to cover well. We have to improve and they did improve last week, but it’s still a work in progress."
Quarterback Ryan MallettOn coming home after a win: "It’s a much better feeling than coming home after a loss. The dynamics on the plane were much different; we got to do a little laughing on the way back. But we know we have to keep getting better and keep winning ball games so that’s what we’re going to focus on."
On Arkansas’ backs against Texas A&M:"This game showcased our backs’ talents and the different styles that they each bring to the table and how they can play at different positions at different points in the game. They all played well and ran the ball hard, which is what we needed to get out there and do."
On the momentum change with his pass to Joe Adams in first quarter: "We came out onto the field unsettled, but once we started following our technique we completed more passes and got more running yards and finally started playing our style of football."
On Joe Adams’ performance against Texas A&M: "I don’t think anyone can play him man to man. He’s so shifty. It’s going to take a good zone to stop him."
Defensive End Jake BequetteOn the game plan going into the Texas A&M game:"That was probably our best game as a team. Our goal is to put that type of pressure on the quarterback every game."
On the Auburn game:"They’ve got very good offensive lineman. They run a very good offense. They are coming in 5-0 and are ranked nationally. They have a lot of confidence coming in and we are going to have to have a great game plan to stop them."
On the offense Gus Malzahn has put in place at Auburn:"His offense gives you a bunch of different looks. We spend a lot of time at practice making sure we cover all the bases. His offense runs very high tempo. It’s just a matter of approaching practice the same way every week."
On defending the hurry up, no-huddle offense:"People think of the hurry up, no-huddle offense as a pass happy offense. In reality, they are a run first offense. Establishing the run game is critical for that offense to be successful. As a defense, we have to know that with any SEC game that we have to stop the run first. Forcing a third and long and forcing them into a throwing situation. If we can do that we can be successful."
On getting confidence back after the Texas A&M win:"We had two emotional losses against Alabama and Georgia. We knew that this last week was a must win. Coach Petrino was very upfront with us on that and we attacked that week of practice and that game like it meant the world to us. That kind of a game and that venue really gives us a lot of confidence going into the rest of the season. We have a huge one this Saturday against Auburn and hope we can get on a roll."
On Tenarius Wright’s performance again Texas A&M:""Tank" was one of those guys who switched positions earlier this year. You can see every day in practice how much he has improved and he brings a lot of energy. He comes in every snap and gives it 100 percent. Once he combines some experience and extra technique with his speed and God given ability, he is going to be something special."
On Auburn’s Kodi Burns:"He brings another dimension to that position. He is extremely athletic and has a powerful arm. They move him around and utilize his athletic ability. We are going to have to know where he is at all times when he is on the field."
Running back Ronnie Wingo, Jr.On his first collegiate touchdown:"It felt great It all really started with the offensive line being on the same page with me. I made a lot of different cuts and moves so they had to hold the blocks longer for the play to develop."
On playing high school football a year ago, to playing in Cowboy Stadium this year:"It was unbelievable for me. The Cowboys have been my favorite team since I was knee high so to play in the stadium and have my first collegiate touchdown there, it was very much a dream come true."
On his yards after contact:"In this league, with so many fast and physical defenses, a good dimension to have as a running back is being able to keep going after contact."
On his relationship with Michael Smith:"Mike’s been like an older brother to me ever since I got here. Most people would think that he wouldn’t appreciate a freshman coming in and taking some of his carries but he’s been very supportive. Off and on the field, he’s always looking out for me."
On the biggest transition from high school to college football:"Pass protection has been the biggest difference for me. Also, learning to read the defense has been something that I’ve been trying to work on. It’s a valuable thing for success in this game."