Football Press Conference Highlights

Arkansas Head Coach Bobby Petrino“We’ve been spending the last afternoon and all morning on game planning for Louisiana Monroe. They had a tough game with Auburn. They came out and on the first play of the game tried to throw the ball and the quarterback got hit in the back and fumbled, they picked it u and ran it into the end zone so they got behind. They did move the ball well earlier in the game our concerns is that their quarterback is very athletic and has lots of experience has the ability to run out of the pocket so we have to do a good job of maintaining our rush lanes and containing him.They are a little different team than we played last week. They are predominantly a one back team played a lot of three wide receivers one tight end so defensively our emphasis all week is going to be to be where we need to be in the run game and rushing the quarterback. Offensively they have experienced linebackers, they can all run and do a real nice job of tackling. They have some new guys in the secondary, both corners are new and the safety so I thought they played good defense early, but kind of wore out. It will certainly be a good challenge for us.

On going for it on 4th and 10.“It was something that I thought. 50 yards on that night the way the ball was carrying with kicks and punts that it was a long way for us so we made the decision on the prior to the third down play that if we got about half the distance we might kick the field goal, but if we didn’t we would go for it. I’m glad it worked.”

How do you get the running game jumpstarted?“We need to get more opportunities. When you go back and watch the video we never got anything established running the ball and we were behind so we had to throw it a little bit more and try to pick up the tempo and go faster. It wasn’t a case where we could establish a run it was more of a case of lets throw and see if we can pop a draw. We just need to go out and be able to execute our offense and not play from behind all the time.

How good is it to have Michael Smith back?“Oh, it will help. There’s no doubt it will help. He has experience, quickness throught the hole. A little experience with the passing game there is no question that it will help. The other guys will still play and get their carries and touches. We’ll have to play at least three.”

How much will Michael Smith fit into the offense?“I really don’t know about that yet. I don’t know how many touches he can get. He did get knicked up in a couple of scrimmages that we had in the spring and he’s not the biggest guy in the world so that is something that we have to learn and find out. We’ll need to keep an eye on him early the game, get him the ball early, get it in space a little bit. We’ll have to learn and see what he can handle physically.”

How is London Crawford doing?“He’s feeling a lot better. I saw him this morning and he said he was feeling a lot better. I don’t know what that means in terms of getting him back on the field just yet but it is encouraging that he had a smile on his face and was moving around.”

Casey passing for a lot of yards and how many of his passes were dropped?“I didn’t count them up, but we had a number of drops. We always tell the receiver that any time you touch the ball you should catch it but you also tell the receivers that they have to make the quarterback look better so if the ball is behind you, you need to stop, pivot, make the catch. It’s a combination of the two, being accurate, being on time. We did that at times and we also dropped some so it kind of balanced itself out. Hopefully we can get our running game going so we can take some pressure off the pass rush and having to throw it too much.”

Defensive End Adrian DavisWhat do you think you need to improve on for this weekend?“We need to go back to fundamentals, we have some things that we have to work on and make some corrections.”

What was the problem on Saturday?“We need to do our assignments better and play more physical.”

Were you surprised that you didn’t play better?“I am kind of surprised we didn’t play better, but we can always work on it and get better as the season goes along.”

On Western Illinois controlling the clock?“They preached on three and outs. We have to work on that better. We have to get to the quarterback on passing situations and stop the run on third and short. We need to be more physical on that.”

How will the defensive line play on Saturday?“I know that we’ll be a lot better on Saturday. We just need to stop making mistakes and play harder.”

How important is Saturday with the upcoming schedule?“It is very important. Louisiana-Monroe is going to watch some film and they are going to have a chance to beat us. We need to bring our ‘A’ game and earn it.”

Middle Linebacker Jerry Franklin“Well, Western-Illinois was a big win for me, personally, because it was my first college game. It really was, like, the game of my life.”

What was it like, getting the actual first start and playing?“I thought I would be a lot more nervous than I was, but I really wasn’t that nervous. It was kind of easier than practice. Kind of.

What do you think you’re going to get from Monroe Saturday?“I think the same thing. We’re going to prepare a lot harder and work harder. It’s all we’re going to do is work harder for the next game.”

How would you rate your performance from the first game?“Like a seven and a half, eight.”

Tight End D.J. Williams“Five catches were great. I was excited, just to show the new offense that we’re trying out this year, because coach Petrino’s done a great job balancing the offense with the run and the pass. The run wasn’t going as well as we wanted it to the other night so we went to a lot of empty sets and Casey did a great job making reads and completing passes. We finished the game through the air. We’ve been working that all summer and it worked for us Saturday night.”

Were you surprised you had the five catches with the defense kind of shading the way they were?“I wouldn’t say very surprised because we worked so much on it in practice, not just getting me the ball, but all the other receivers as well. We rely on the passing game if the running game isn’t where we want it to be and vice versa. If the passing game isn’t hot, we’ll try to give it to a back; so I wouldn’t say surprised. Casey made great reads, he came through.”

Did you feel the double team?“It’s hard to say. You really focus on that one right there. You only see one defender, you may not see the other one if they are double teaming, so it’s hard to answer that.”

Quarterback Casey Dick“We came out and things didn’t go the way that we wanted them to go. We kind of had some struggles early on but came out in the second half and played pretty well. We need to play a whole game like that. We need to run the ball better and be more balanced.”

On how much of the playbook the offense used.“There’s still stuff that we didn’t use, some of the protection and things. We pulled out the things that we needed in order to win.”

On Western Illinois’ defense?“Their defense was pretty good. They were better than I expected them to be. They came out and played really well on both sides of the football. We need to be able to run the ball better but we’ll come out and fix that for next week and things will be fine.”

Your mindset in the fourth quarter.“We’ve been in some tougher situations than that. Obviously we were playing with some young guys and it was great experience for them to be in that situation this early in the season. They made big plays for us down the stretch. They need to know that if they miss a ball that I’m going to come back at them and keep it going.”

On his two touchdowns?“I had some great blocks by Lucas Miller and London Crawford. They really helped me out. I wasn’t really thinking six when I took off. It just ended up that way. I got some good blocks and had to make one guy miss and almost tripped over my own feet, but was able to get in.”