Fayetteville, Ark. – Arkansas defense wants turnovers. Arkansas offense wants to avoid turnovers above all else. For the third straight day, the offense won that battle. But it’s been close for a defense that never stops working on trying to take the ball away.
“We do a takeaway circuit. We incorporate those to our individual drills where we want to always focus on taking the ball away,” says cornerbacks coach Mark Smith. “We had some opportunities when the ball was in the air. We didn’t come down with any today.”
The goal for this defense is three. Two is not good enough. On a per-game basis, the difference between three turnovers and two is huge.
“Yesterday we had two in one-on-one,” said safeties coach Ron Cooper. “So anytime you can get three turnovers if you look around the country, three turnovers a game would lead the nation in turnovers .”
Some would say there is too much youth in this secondary but John Chavis says with the kind of talent that is in this group, youth is not an excuse.
“We got young guys that are starting and younger guys that are backing them up. That doesn’t bother me,” said Arkansas Defensive Coordinator John Chavis. “We gave up some 50-50 balls today that I’m not real excited about and it just gets down to fundamentals. The thing that we got to do, we got to do a great job of coaching.”
Developing those younger guys that are backing up the young starters is the key. The backups will play this year. Chavis demands it. Which is one reason why the coaches have two scrimmages going on at the same time. Everybody gets reps.