Hog linemen, coaches relish 21-point clubbing of Tx Tech; SEC honors Collins; notes
FAYETTEVILLE - Though not propelling him to SEC Player of the Week, Dan Skipper's "club-by" netted almost as much Razorback fan attention as Alex Collins' 84-yard touchdown run.
Collins' 27 carries for 212 yards and two touchdowns, highlighted by his 84-yard breakaway in last Saturday's 49-28 victory at Texas Tech, netted SEC Offensive Player of the Week for Arkansas' sophomore running back.
Hog HC Bret Bielema
Sophomore left offensive tackle Skipper may have topped him, however, for most watched replayed play even days after the game.
While clearing a path for tailback Jonathan Williams on a first-down draw, Skipper (6-10, 326), with one rangy, strong arm clubs 268-pound noseguard Jackson Richardson to the turf while Skipper continues downfield seeking other Red Raiders to block.
"We call it a club-by," Arkansas coach Bret Bielema said. "Dan Skipper is, as we all know, a very physical player."
Eye-catching physical on that one play, offensive line coach Sam Pittman said Tuesday, calling Saturday's game Skipper's best.
"I was watching it on tape and said, 'What just happened?'" Pittman said. "Of course, Danny said Mitch (Smothers the center) back blocked the guy just about that time so it looked a little better than it actually was. But that guy flew about five or six yards and fell down. That was fun. That was as good a time as those kids had Saturday and for me as a coach."
The entire offensive line, including right guard Denver Kirkland, right tackle Brey Cook, alternating centers Smothers and Frank Ragnow and alternating left guards Sebastian Tretola and Luke Charpentier, was "physical and feeling their oats," against Texas Tech, Bielema said.
However, stouter defensive challenges than Tech await. The Razorbacks host the 3-0 Northern Illinois, winner of 17 consecutive road games, at 6 p.m. Saturday on ESPNU TV at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
"By no means have we arrived," Bielema said. "We're going to see some better defenses coming up here starting this weekend."
Skipper's demeanor Tuesday reflected focus has shifted to NIU. He barely cracked a smile recounting his sending a Red Raider reeling.
"You see the side view it looks like I really got the guy, but Mitch on a back block really knocked him across," Skipper said. "Just something we try to do to get them off their feet. It looks pretty cool but that's just one play, there were 82 others."
Collins, also media available Tuesday, was asked about his SEC Offensive Player of the Week honor.
"I have to thank the offensive line," Collins said. "Because without them, I wouldn't be able to do anything."
Arkansas submitted both Collins and junior tailback Jonathan Williams (22 carries for 145 yards and four TDs vs. Tech) as SEC Offensive Player of the Week candidates to the league office in Birmingham, Ala.
"Jonathan had a really good game, getting four rushing touchdowns," Collins said. "I have never done that in a single game before. I was more impressed by that than what I did. Four rushing touchdowns is a lot for a single game."
Collins finished winded from his 84-yard TD run. "I think he lost half a lung," Bielema quipped, stemmed from "having the wind knocked out of me" the previous play, Collins said.
"I got landed on top of the previous play," Collins said. "So I didn't have any wind when I broke free. I tried to catch my wind the rest of the game. I got to the five and started to choke it down. I was watching the big screen the whole time and saw the guy coming."
Fumbling twice against Tech, though Arkansas didn't lose the ball either time, sophomore speed back Korliss Marshall carried just five times against Tech while Collins and Williams excelled.
"You have got to take care of the football and that's something we are always preaching," running backs coach Joel Thomas said Tuesday. "He was back to work today in good spirits, and hopefully he gets the opportunity and makes the most of it."
So ample room remains for further Marshall opportunities. "Without a doubt, there is plenty of room for all of them," Thomas said.
At least Marshall learned a lesson without the fumbles going to Tech.
"Any time you don't lose the football in those situations, it's a breath of fresh air," Thomas said. "But it's not allowed. It's not tolerable in our offense and we have to correct it."