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 the Florida game:"I think it’s something we can take and build on. We can build confidence from it and understand we were right there with the No. 1 team in the nation. We had an opportunity to win the game and then we watch film and see how hard we played and how well we executed the game plan. We build from it."
On Arkansas’ Dennis Johnson:"He’s a good football player. He goes out and runs hard. He did a great job Saturday. He had 250 all-purpose yards. Florida couldn’t tackle him very well, and he did a great job of breaking tackles. One thing he has to do is continue to condition with all the running backs because what happens when you’re not playing full-time all the time, the intensity and the amount of carries drains you a little bit and you’re not as effective in the fourth quarter."
On Arkansas’ defense:"They’ve played hard. They’ve done a nice job of doing what you need to do to play good defense. They’ve stopped the run and have been very sound in gap control and getting the linebackers to come downhill and attack which doesn’t leave many seams. We’ve tackled much better and have shed blocks much better. We’ve done a much better job on first-and-10 and that puts pressure on the other team to throw the ball. When we’ve been in good situations on second and third-and-longs, we’ve done well rushing the passer. We had six sacks against Florida when they came into the game having only given up five. Our coverage played well."
On Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett’s performance against Florida:"Ryan did a great job of competing. He stood in the pocket, got hit, and completed passes. He made big plays to get the ball down the field to put us in position to score. Obviously, he doesn’t feel as though it was his best game because that’s the type of competitor he is; he wants to complete every pass. But when you’re going against a good defense, it’s just as important to take care of the ball. He did that very well for us. I thought he gave us a great opportunity to win the game."
Quarterback Ryan MallettOn the Florida game: "It was hard. We played a tough team, but it’s time to focus on Ole Miss. We’re looking forward to this week. It’s another road trip, but we’re going to try and get back in the win column."
On Arkansas’ Dennis Johnson:"D.J. has been playing for years now, and has proven to be a great player. It seems like every time we play a big time opponent he steps up and gives the team that extra little burst."
On Ole Miss’ defense: "They are experienced in the secondary. They always have a fast team, but their backs are really going to test our wide outs. Their big up front, we’ll see how our guys do going up against another big opponent."
On two straight wins going into the Florida game: "The two wins going into this game really helped us. We were on top of the mountain since we haven’t lost in a few weeks. We were preparing to play the best team in the country. Your mental focus has to be there throughout the week."
Wide receiver Greg ChildsOn yards after the catch:"When Ryan throws me the ball across the route I’m looking around the field trying to find the first guy I see. If I can make the first guy miss, I usually can gain five or ten yards."
On the Florida game:"We came out playing the number one team in the nation. We stepped on the field Saturday and showed the whole world that we do have a great team."
On Arkansas’ receivers’ against Florida:"Florida has a great defense but there were some things that were off. Some of the receivers did not get off the line quick like they usually do so they weren’t in the right positions at the right time. (Ryan) Mallett usually knows where we are going to be on the field. We just need to come back and practice hard this week."
Defensive End Jake BequetteOn the differences within the defense since the Georgia game:"It’s not just one thing. We are playing with more confidence. I guess it started toward the end of the Alabama game. We’ve been improving every week and it really showed on Saturday."
On the defense being able to get to Florida’s Tim Tebow:"Stopping the run was the key. We knew going into that game they were a power running team. We knew if we got them in third and longs and situations they didn’t want to be in that we could tee off and put some pressure on the quarterback. When you get a team like that in those situations and situations they were not comfortable with we were able to take advantage of that."
On preparing for Tim Tebow and Jevan Snead in back-to-back weeks:"That’s life in the SEC. You play great players week in and week out. You can’t put too much praise on them and too much pressure on yourself. Ole Miss is a very good team. They are balanced. They throw and run the ball well. We can’t focus on one player and let the other ones beat us."
On pressuring the quarterback:"We’ve seen the past four weeks that when we have gotten pressure on the quarterback, that we force them to make errant throws. If you pressure them and hit them consistently, they will throw the defensive backs some bad balls. Forcing turnovers is what we want to do."
On his improvements since the start of the season:"They way I was playing in practice and when the games came about I just kind of got on a roll. I knew that if I could get pressure in the beginning that it would help out. I’ve been pleased with the way I’ve been playing."
On the performance by Arkansas’ DeQuinta Jones:"D.D. is unbelievable. For a true freshman coming in and playing the way he has been playing is incredible. We have a 6’5′, 300 lb. defensive tackle just causing havoc every play. That’s great for me, the defensive line, and the whole defense. He’s getting to the point where you can’t single block him or Malcolm (Sheppard). Anytime they try to 1-on-1 D.D. or Sheppard, they were being very disruptive. He’s a great young football player and he has a bright future."
On Arkansas’ pass coverage:"The defensive backs have been playing great. Getting pressure is one thing but coverage is the other half of the equation. Our secondary has improved an unbelievable amount."
On how good the young defense could be in the future:"We are trying to take it one week at a time, but the future does look bright for our defensive front. We’ve got good young players but right now we are worried about Ole Miss."