FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas plays its second straight SEC road game this week when the Razorbacks travel to Gainesville, Fla., for Saturday’s 1:05 p.m. contest at Florida. The game is being televised by Raycom Sports, which includes KHOG in Northwest Arkansas, KATV in Little Rock and KAIT in Jonesboro. Arkansas is 12-3 overall and 0-2 in the SEC while the Gators are 15-2 and 2-0. Head coach John Pelphrey met with the media on Thursday to preview the game. Following is a partial transcript of his press conference.
“There are some things we have to do better in our next opportunity that we have not done in the last two games. We need more patience on offense and we need to play with more poise. For Courtney Fortson and Stefan Welsh, the ball is in their hands the majority of the time. We have to get better ball movement and make something happen for us. Our patience is hurting us a little right now. If you are constantly trying to play transition defense or spending more time on defense, that makes it more difficult.
“As a team, we have to operate better. It’s not just one thing. It’s everybody. This is a young team. We’ve played 15 games together. That’s 15 more than we had at the beginning of the season, but that still isn’t very many.
“We’ve overachieved and gotten support from everybody. We need better understanding and to play better.”
“From an offensive side, Florida is tremendous. They have great, great skill in passing and spacing.
“They have a core group of guys who have been around the block. The shoot well and they pass well.
“This will be my first time back in that building probably since I left. It’s a great place and what they have accomplished is amazing. On the personal side, there are great, great people there.
“This game is very important for us. We need to mix it up and compete in a hostile environment.
“(Nick) Calathes’ ball skills are tremendous – the way he reads defenses, and passes and changes directions with both hands. He’s hard to handle.
“It’s going to be hard and difficult. Playing on the road always is. I’m sure they will have a full house. We have to block that out and handle it.”
Coaching against Billy Donovan:
“It will be emotional. I do have a relationship with him and care about him, but that doesn’t affect the competition. It’s no different from someone performing in front of family and friends.”
“I think it’s due to an overall lack of offensive execution and team understanding. We have to help each other play better by reading schemes and defenses, and obviously we haven’t made many.
“Defensively, going into the Ole Miss game and if you take out Texas, the numbers were pretty big. We’ve had difficulty defending it, but I don’t feel like it’s been awful, either.”
“He made some good plays at the end of the game. I would love to work him in more and see if he can get his practice into the game. In practice, we’ve seen good decision making, playing in the framework of what we want to get done and defense.”
“Rotnei (Clarke) needs to get more than two shot opportunities (Ole Miss). We need Michael Washington to get more opportunities. Michael Sanchez needs to factor in. It’s a process for all of us in trying to get better. When we were playing better, (contributions) were across the board.
“I’m looking for all of us to have more success than the other night.”