FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Tyler Wilson quickly headed off questions this week about looking ahead to next week's showdown with No. 1 Alabama.
The Arkansas quarterback's thoughts were squarely on Saturday's game in Little Rock's War Memorial Stadium against Louisiana-Monroe, especially after an up-and-down performance by the No. 8 Razorbacks (1-0) in a season-opening win over Jacksonville State.
"Internally, we understand every week that (looking ahead) is not going to happen," Wilson said. "Anybody who watches the film knows we've got to scratch and claw to win every week. That's just the way it is. It doesn't matter who we're playing."
Arkansas gained 564 yards of offense in its opening 49-24 win over the Gamecocks, doing so despite four fumbles — three that were lost. The win was what the Razorbacks wanted in their first game under coach John L. Smith; the quality of their performance was not.
Jacksonville State had its way at times in against an Arkansas defense that was ninth in the Southeastern Conference last season, gaining 193 yards in the first half, 163 through the air. The performance was hardly what first-year Razorbacks defensive coordinator Paul Haynes had in mind for the opener.
"We were put behind the eight ball a little bit in the first half, but we've got to keep them out of the end zone," Haynes said.
Haynes was particularly frustrated by a 10-play, 75-yard touchdown drive by the Gamecocks near the end of the first half. The drive only took 2:01 off the clock and was exactly the type of drive Arkansas doesn't want to allow when the Crimson Tide visits Fayetteville next week.
The Razorbacks were put through a series of tackling circuits this week during practice in an attempt to clean up their poor tackling in the opener, and they hope to see improved results against the Warhawks.
"We never want to give up 24 points in a home opener like that," Arkansas safety Ross Rasner said. "We expect a lot more out of our defense. I think we've had a good week of preparation, so I think you'll see a whole lot better defense this week."
Outpatient ROBOTIC HYSTERECTOMY. Trust an experienced Robotic Surgeon.