University of Arkansas head football coach Bobby Petrino, Ryan Mallett, Greg Childs and Jake Bequette met with the media at a press conference on Monday. Below is a brief transcript.
Head Coach Bobby PetrinoOn Jerry Franklin’s ejection:"He’s hurting. It’s hard on him. He feels like he let his teammates down. He and everyone else will learn from it. As of right now, he will start against Alabama."
On Michael Smith’s status:"He’ll be good to go. He felt good yesterday. He’s got good strength in his shoulder. We’ll keep him non-contact on Tuesday, and if he’s ready for contact on Wednesday and Thursday, he’ll be ready to go. He’s a big part of the offense, but we haven’t been able to establish him yet."
On Greg Childs’ progress:"He really struggled in the spring. Things weren’t going well for him in the classroom or on the practice field. His parents came up here and really helped to settle him down, and as a result, he had a great summer. He improved his strength and his speed as much as anybody."
On the play of the receivers:"They’ve been playing really well. They’re playing fast, running great routes, and they have a tremendous amount of confidence. When you lay out and make catches like that, it becomes contagious, and that’s what we like. Lucas Miller will be back this week and he will help keep everyone fresh."
On special teams:"We evaluate it each week. When they go out to practice, there’s competition. We chart everything. We make a decision as the week goes on."
On the team handling big-game pressure:"I think we’ve made a lot of progress from last year to this year in terms of handling the pressure. We need to get a win though. You need to be in that game, at home, and win the game, and then you feel good about it. We certainly feel like we can compete with anybody but now it’s time to learn how to win a big game like that."
Quarterback Ryan MalletOn the offense during the Georgia game:"We got in a rhythm early. We’ve got to keep executing. We didn’t execute in the fourth quarter like we did in the first half. We have to continue to get better. We put up numbers but not enough points. We could have had a couple more touchdowns."
On how the team did after the game-on Sunday:"We came back Sunday hungry and ready to go. It’s a lot different than last year as far as emotions go. It hurt a lot more this year cause of all we put into it. Now it’s time to get ready and go play Alabama."
On SEC games:"Every team in the SEC is going to be a hard game. You just have to come back and get ready to fight."
On Alabama’s Defense:"They are really athletic on defense. They have guys that can cover. They are big up front with (Terrence) Cody. You have to block him and just execute our offense. You see what happens when we execute."
On the Arkansas defense:"The defense will be fine. Georgia executed really well. We all have to keep coming along. It’s a team sport. There’s three phases to the game and to win a ball game you have to win at all three of them."
On goal line offense:"Georgia played it well. They had some big guys up there and they came off of blocks pretty well and stoned us there."
On the balance of the passing game and running game:"We have to run the ball better. We had 75 yards rushing and we have to get 100-150 to be successful. The pass game sets up the running game and vice versa."
On the playmaking of Greg Childs:"You can see what Greg can do in a big time game and that is exciting to have as a quarterback. He can go get the ball. I know what he can do. I’ve been playing with him for a year and a half now."
On Lucas Miller coming back from injury:"Lucas is a great leader in that receiving group. It’s great to have an older guy come back from injury. He will be hungry and ready to go. He will want the football. We will get another weapon back with him."
On Michael Smith:"He is ready to come out and show what he did last year. It was unfortunate for him to come out early in that game. When he came back, the offense picked it up more. He will be fine and ready to go against Alabama."
On how he will prepare going into a road SEC game:"I go into every game the same way, home or away. It’s going to be a big game and we just have to approach it with a great mental focus."
On playing a top-10 team:"We have to execute. We are not worried about rankings or anything. We have to execute on both sides of the ball and on special teams."
On the challenge of being on the road:"We can’t pay attention to the crowd. We pay attention to our own guys and what we have to do in order to execute. That’s what we are getting ready for. The main thing we need to do is put the ball in the end zone when we are in the red zone."
On throwing for over 300+ yards in the first two games:"When you have guys out there that have a lot of yards after the catch that is good. You’ve got playmakers out there and you just get them the ball and let them do their thing."
Wide Receiver Greg ChildsOn building confidence, and making big catches in the Georgia game:"We prepared for the game all week, and all summer. It was one of the main things we did, so we could come out and show everyone the new team we had. We have a better team than we did last year, as far as making big plays goes."
On the Georgia loss:"We aren’t really worried about it too much now. It’s behind us now, we still care, but we have to start getting ready for our upcoming game. We have to put it all on the line again and try to win the next game."
On his improvements since the spring:"In the spring I had pneumonia so I couldn’t really practice with my teammates. I practiced maybe one full week this spring and that really set me back. My parents came up and we talked to the coaches about me and everything. I came out this summer, I think, with a good camp and ready to make big plays for the team."
On Arkansas’ receivers:"When we came into the off-season we knew that we had to have a big year. Things didn’t really go right last season for us so we came out and practiced hard every day. We try to make big plays in practice, so that it’s easy for us to carry them over to the game."
Defensive End Jake BequetteOn Sunday’s practice:"I like the way we attacked. We had a good conditioning session yesterday afternoon. I personally thought we had a better practice later. We did well in the film room where we really evaluated what went wrong on Saturday."
On the Georgia game:"We were in a position to make plays. The effort was there. However, on some of the big plays we just didn’t get the job done. We just need to keep coming with the pass rush."
On his performance in the Georgia game:"My execution was better than the Missouri State game but as a team it was not good enough. As a defensive unit whenever you give up that many points, it really doesn’t matter."
On Alabama’s offense:"Alabama has a really good offensive line. Like any other SEC team, they are going to establish the running game first. They have a very good offensive line, good quarter back, and great running backs. They are just an all around good team."