FAYETTEVILLE - Dan Enos’ celebration of Arkansas convincingly upsetting 10th-ranked Florida didn’t last nearly so long as most Arkansas celebrants.
Turning on tape of LSU’s defense pooped the party for Arkansas’ offensive coordinator.
The LSU Tigers that held No. 1 Alabama scoreless for three quarters last week invade Reynolds Razorback Stadium for Saturday’s 6 p.m. ESPN televised SEC West game.
“I turn the tape on Sunday feeling good we won and then I have a stomach ache again,” Enos said Monday.
For the Razorbacks, 6-3,, 2-3 in the SEC, the 19th-ranked Tigers become the seventh team ranked in the Top 20 when Arkansas has played them and the sixth in the SEC. Alabama No. 1 and Texas A&M, ranked fourth in the first College Football Playoff rankings and now eighth-ranked Auburn defeated Arkansas but Arkansas has beaten Ole Miss, then ranked. 12th, and Florida, still ranked 22nd and 16th in the AP and Coaches polls and ranked second nationally in defense until beaten, 31-10 by the Hogs.
“LSU’s defense is outstanding,” Enos said Monday. “I mean, here we go again. It’s like I’m a broken record coming in here. Texas A&M, Alabama, Auburn, Florida, LSU… I don’t see much difference, to be honest with you. It almost gets depressing, to be honest with you. ‘Oh my gosh, we have to block these guys? They’re good!”
Enos explained why.
“They’re well coached,” Enos said. “The coaches do a great job, obviously. 49 outside (linebacker Arden Key) their D-line, their linebackers, 52 and 40, (Kendall Beckwith and Duke Riley) secondary, 18, 33 ( safeties TreDavious White and Jamal Adams) physical, tough. They do a tremendous job. It’s going to be a huge challenge and we’re going to have to take what we did, effort and physicality and toughness and how hard we played last Saturday, and we’re going to have to duplicate it times two, and do it even harder to give ourselves a chance. I know our guys will be up for the challenge, but it’s going to be a challenge, tough game.”
LSU’s inspired defense in the 10-0 loss to Alabama directly reflects on Ed Orgeron, its enthusiastic Cajun defensive line coach elevated to interim head coach upon the firing of longtime Coach Les Miles five games into the season.
“I think Coach O has done a tremendous job,” Arkansas Coach Bret Bielema said. “They're almost kind of a different season, a different team. I love Les and everything he brought to the table, but you could definitely see a difference in the way the kids are playing, intensity and attitude really in all three phases. Just a tremendous football team with a lot of talent.”
Offensively the Tigers have struggled at quarterback but running back Leonard Fournette, last season’s preseason Heisman favorite is healthy again and amassed 705 yards and five touchdowns on 100 carries in only five games.
And Derrius Guice, starting the three games that Fournette missed and still prominent even when Fournette plays, has 629 yards and seven touchdowns on 80 carries.
In last year’s 31-14 victory over LSU in Baton Rouge La., the Razorbacks did keep Fournette to under 100 yards, 91 yards on 19 carries.
“You know every game is an independent event,” Arkansas defensive coordinator Robb Smith said if there is carryover confidence vs. Fournette. “You know certainly our guys have had some ups but he had some good runs against us last year there, too. Fournette broke a few tackles. I think they have two excellent running backs. I think we have got to bring our A-game. We have to make sure we are gap sound all the time, we have to tackle really well.”
The Razorbacks tackled nearly infinitely better against Florida than in their 56-3 loss at Auburn. They did so after going full pads throughout last week, a stage in the season when most teams taper practices.
That success has the Hogs scheduled to go hard full pads Wednesday off of Tuesday’s practice, traditionally the most physical of game-week workouts.