Hogs: Hard practice today in Memphis; redzone running game turned season
MEMPHIS - The Razorbacks spent Monday busing to Memphis and then getting acclimated for Saturday's Liberty Bowl game against Kansas State.
The Wildcats practiced at Memphis University High shortly after their Monday arrival. K-State players and Coach Bill Snyder met with media Monday afternoon at the Hilton Hotel.
The Razorbacks, who practiced Sunday in Fayetteville and used Monday's travel day as an off day like they use Mondays throughout the season, practice this afternoon at Rhodes College in Memphis. It will be their heaviest practice of the week.
Fun and games await both teams tonight. At 5 p.m. at the Pyramid, now a huge Bass Pro shop, the Razorbacks and Wildcats will be honored with a welcoming party. At 7 p.m. at Fed Ex Arena the Razorbacks and Wildcats attend the Grizzlies game with the Miami Heat. At halftime, Arkansas sophomore safety and Pine Bluff Dollarway grad Josh Liddell and Kansas State freshman receive Dalton Schoen will be matched in a 3-point shooting contest.
CONVERTING YARDS TO POINTS
Other than their 27-14 loss against SEC champion Alabama whose defense generally snuffed everybody, the Razorbacks amassed respectable to massive yards against all they played. However despite 515 yards total yards offense against Toledo, and 424 total offensive yards against Texas Tech, and 457 yards total offense in the SEC opener against Texas A&M, the Razorbacks lost those September games 16-12, 35-24 and in overtime 28-21.
Post Alabama, the Razorbacks won 5 of 6 starting with the 54-46 four overtimes SEC win over Auburn, and SEC triumphs 53-52 in overtime at Ole Miss, 31-14 at LSU and 28-3 over Missouri and 63-28 nonconference over Tennessee-Martin and a 51-50 loss against Mississippi State.
What caused the Hogs from midseason on more frequently to convert those yards into points?
"I think really what happened was our red zone production increased," Enos said. "I think that was a few different things. A: We didn't produce in there, we weren't running the ball well in the red zone. In the games we did, we were running the ball well. Again, that made our passing game that much better. Then the next thing is, the emergence of (wide receivers) Drew Morgan, Jared Cornelius, Dominique Reed, and (tight ends) Hunter Henry and Jeremy Sprinkle really helped. It gave us a lot of options. Then Brandon (Allen, the quarterback) I think played brilliantly in the red zone down the stretch."
Allen, 224 of 344 for 3,125 yards and 29 touchdowns against seven interceptions, played brilliantly not just in the red zone but in all aspects all over the field, Enos said.
"I think Brandon Allen had an unbelievable year," Enos said. "He was playing as good as any quarterback in the country our last six games. Again, I think he was able to do that because of a lot of different things, like all the people around him, but also he made all the people around him better. I think it's a collective thing. When you finish first or second in the SEC in a lot of offensive categories, as we did this year in the toughest league there is in the country, that's saying a lot."
And there is still more to say, Enos said.
"I think we can continue to get better, obviously in a lot of areas," Enos said. "Certainly there's a lot to build on for the bowl game and the future."
Saturday's game between the 7-5 Razorbacks of the SEC and the 6-6 Wildcats of the Big 12 kicks off at 2:20 p.m. on ESPN.