HOGS: LSU focused on perfection
FAYETTEVILLE - Few who played against last year’s Arkansas Razorbacks (2-10, 0-8) would have any trepidation about playing this season’s Hogs (2-8, 0-6), but top-ranked LSU claims it is concerned.
At least, there's an authentic recent history reminder that playing against Arkansas isn’t always as easy as it appears. Despite last year’s Tigers (10-3, 5-3) finishing 2018 ranked No. 6, Arkansas rallied from down 14-0 to lose 24-17 with the Tigers excited to run clock and hang on.
“Don’t underestimate them,” LSU coach Ed Orgeron said. “They always play well against LSU. We have to play our best game. We’re looking at the things we didn’t do well last week (a 58-37 SEC victory at Ole Miss). We still have to play 60 minutes at the LSU standard of performance, and we haven’t done that, yet. We have some things we need to fix offensively, defensively and on special teams. Hopefully, we can do that this week.”
Surprisingly, Orgeron does not include overconfidence that he must guard his team against playing the statistically hapless Hogs.
“I think a regular team would have overconfidence and letdowns and stuff,” Orgeron said. “But you know we had a 21-point victory over Ole Miss, and I think I was the only one happy in the locker room. The guys were not happy with their performance.”
Defensive coordinator Dave Aranda’s part of the LSU equation could not have been thrilled with the Tigers allowing 614 yards and 37 points.
Even while completing 32 of 42 passes for 489 yards and five touchdowns, LSU quarterback and leading Heisman Trophy candidate Joe Burrows fretted two passes he wished to have back.
“Joe had two interceptions,” Orgeron said. “He was not happy. The defense was not happy. So, we had one of our better Tuesday practices yesterday. I think it’s more or less right now, at this point of the season we’re competing with ourselves to play at the LSU standard of performance. Once we do that we feel we’re going to be fine.”
Arkansas interim coach Barry Lunney, Jr., hasn’t divulged to media who among Arkansas’ four quarterbacks, true freshman KJ Jefferson, redshirt freshman John Stephen Jones or graduate transfers Nick Starkel and Ben Hicks, will start against No. 1 LSU. He hasn’t divulged it to his inquiring sons, Luke and Levi, either.
“They tell me on the bus every day they (fellow students) have been asking who the quarterback is going to be,” Lunney said. “So if they don’t know, they don’t have to worry about hiding anything.”
POOL, ADCOCK READY
Sophomore starting linebacker Bumper Pool and backup offensive guard Kirby Adcock, not practicing during last week’s open week because of injuries, are “practicing and ready to roll,” Lunney said.
FORMER HOGS IN HOUSE
Lunney says Ken Hatfield, star of Arkansas' 1964 national title team and ultra-successful Hog coach from 1984-1989, visited Wednesday's practice along with former players Matt Wait, James Johnson, Bryan “Buddha” White, Joe Dean Davenport, Grant Cook, Austin Tate and Tim Smith.
“Some guys who care about the program came and we got the chance to acknowledge them before practice,” Lunney said. “And man that means the world to us and to me and our football team.”
Lunney said he asked all to introduce themselves and the years they played.
“Of course, Coach Hatfield introduced himself as a 1962-64 player,” Lunney said. “And I said, ‘That’s the most modest introduction in the history of Arkansas athletics. Because this guy was the all-time winningest football coach percentage wise in Arkansas football history. That’s who I grew up watching.”
Hatfield teams went 55-17-1 in six years, and he is a member of the College Football Playoff Committee.
SHRINE FOR SOSA
Arkansas senior defensive tackle McTelvin “Sosa” Agim will get an audition before NFL scouts as an invitee to play in the East-West Shrine game Jan. 18 in St. Petersburg, Fla.