TIDE DE­FENSE left a mark on Hogs’ Allen.

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - SPORTS -

HOOVER, Ala. — Arkansas quar­ter­back Austin Allen passed for a ca­reer-high 400 yards against Alabama last sea­son, but he also threw three in­ter­cep­tions and was sacked seven times in the Ra­zor­backs’ 49-30 home loss.

Alabama safety Minkah Fitz­patrick had all three of the in­ter­cep­tions in that game.

“He’s a great quar­ter­back, but we were just putting so much pres­sure on him that some­times he would just make a bad throw or he would think he was see­ing some­thing that wasn’t there,” Fitz­patrick said.

“Like you said, they also had like 400 some­thing pass­ing yards, which is not ac­cept­able for us. We didn’t play a great game in that game and we gave up a lot of passes that we don’t usu­ally give up. That’s some­thing we have to def­i­nitely im­prove on this year.”

Fitz­patrick ran back a 100-yard in­ter­cep­tion for a touch­down af­ter Arkansas drove to the Tide 12-yard line trail­ing 42-24 early in the fourth quar­ter.

“As soon as I caught the ball Ed­die Jack­son tapped my arm and I just looked that way,” Fitz­patrick said. “I saw noth­ing but green in front of me. He was like ‘Come on man, fol­low me,’ so I just fol­lowed him all the way down the field. He threw a block on the quar­ter­back and I just ran it in.”

Allen talked about the Alabama game in Hoover on Mon­day.

“We kind of got down where we had to start throw­ing the ball,” said Allen, who com­pleted 25 of 48 passes, in­clud­ing three for touch­downs. “I didn’t play flaw­less by any means. They had too many turnovers where we just gave them short fields and points and things like that.”

Allen’s big­gest Alabama take­away from the game?

“I’d just say how re­lent­less they were, how fast,” he said. “They didn’t take any plays off. Their D-line was full go from the open­ing kick­off un­til the fi­nal whis­tle. What makes them spe­cial and what makes them good is how hard they play and how well they know their de­fense.”

Baby vs. dogs

Ken­tucky Coach Mark Stoops, a good friend of Arkansas

Coach Bret Bielema, said he missed not ap­pear­ing at SEC me­dia days on the same day as Bielema this year.

Stoops was asked if he had given any par­ent­ing ad­vice to Bielema since Jen Bielema gave birth to the cou­ple’s first child, Briella, on Satur­day.

“I did in fact,” Stoops said. “He’ll never ad­mit this, but he ac­tu­ally called me a cou­ple days be­fore the baby was born and we were ac­tu­ally talk­ing about some other things re­lat­ing to the fam­ily. But baby ad­vice? No. It’s been a while since I’ve changed a di­a­per.”

Stoops said he was look­ing for­ward to see­ing the Biele­mas and their baby.

“I’ve known them for some time, and we’d go into the wait­ing room [at me­dia days] and they’d al­ways have their two dogs. You heard me com­ment on that be­fore. But it will be nice to see their baby hope­fully next year be­cause I was tired of see­ing th­ese two tiny lit­tle dogs for such a big fella.”

Talk­ing Bret

Mis­souri Coach Barry Odom said Wed­nes­day that he stays in pretty reg­u­lar con­tact with Bret Bielema, his coun­ter­part at Arkansas.

“You know, peo­ple won’t like it, but he and I com­mu­ni­cate,” Odom said. “I re­spect the job that he does.

“We talk usu­ally by text, I don’t know, a hand­ful of times. It de­pends [on] what’s go­ing on. But ob­vi­ously we’ve got an op­por­tu­nity to do some­thing at both of our places, we’re both com­peti­tors, and want to be great.”

Odom said he’s build­ing a friend­ship with Bielema through meet­ings in Destin, Fla., and while run­ning into each other re­cruit­ing.

Long-term apol­ogy

Texas A&M Coach Kevin Sum­lin, say­ing he’s “a newer, kin­der” ver­sion of him­self, is­sued an apol­ogy to Arkansas DemocratGazette re­porter Bob Holt on Wed­nes­day for a year’s old in­ci­dent.

“I’ll go ahead and apol­o­gize to you, Bob, for cut­ting you off five years ago,” Sum­lin said. “I apol­o­gize.”

Sum­lin was re­fer­ring to an in­ci­dent when Holt was pos­ing a ques­tion at me­dia days about quar­ter­back Johnny Manziel when the coach cut him off and gave an abrupt re­sponse.

Lov­ing Louisiana

LSU fans might hate Nick Sa­ban for leav­ing the Tigers to go to the Mi­ami Dol­phins and then returning to the SEC with Alabama, but he has no hard feel­ings.

Sa­ban led LSU to a 48-16 record in five sea­sons, in­clud­ing a 13-1 mark and the BCS na­tional cham­pi­onship in 2003.

“I loved LSU. I loved Louisiana,” Sa­ban said. “I loved the peo­ple in Louisiana, but it was al­ways in my mind that I was go­ing to go be a head coach in the NFL some­day.

“And I did that, and I learned a lot about my­self and felt very for­tu­nate to be able to have the op­por­tu­nity to go back to an SEC school that had a chance to be suc­cess­ful.”

Stay­ing at four

Bill Han­cock, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Col­lege Foot­ball Play­off, said there is no plan to ex­pand the for­mat be­yond four teams with nine years re­main­ing on the 12-year con­tract.

“It’s sim­ple,” Han­cock said. “Four lets us keep the fo­cus on the reg­u­lar sea­son — the best, most com­pelling, most mean­ing­ful reg­u­lar sea­son in sports. A reg­u­lar sea­son that ev­ery other sport in Amer­ica would love to trade for.

“Why mon­key with a good thing? Four also lets us keep the bowl ex­pe­ri­ence for thou­sands of ath­letes across the whole spec­trum of col­lege foot­ball. And four keeps our sport within the frame­work of higher ed­u­ca­tion.”

A chip?

Alabama re­ceiver Calvin Ri­d­ley said the Crim­son Tide will be play­ing with a chip on their shoul­ders this sea­son. The Tide have won 17 con­sec­u­tive con­fer­ence games.

“We win a lot, but a lot of peo­ple still don’t re­spect us, you know. We’ve got to work ex­tra hard be­cause the teams, they’re not afraid of us,” Ri­d­ley said.

“We hear about things like, ‘Alabama is not Alabama any­more. They lost to Clemson.’ We’re go­ing to suck that up and be more fo­cused, get all the lead­er­ship go­ing on our team.”

Tigers’ No. 25

Mis­souri gives spe­cial con­sid­er­a­tion to who wears jer­sey No. 25 af­ter the death in 2005 of fresh­man Aaron O’Neal, who had col­lapsed dur­ing a vol­un­tary work­out.

Mis­souri Coach Barry Odom said it still feels like O’Neal’s death oc­curred “yes­ter­day.” Odom said fresh­man line­backer Jamal Brooks will wear No. 25 this sea­son.

Wed­ding bells

Texas A&M of­fen­sive tackle Koda Martin is mar­ry­ing for­mer Ag­gies vol­ley­ball player Jazzmin Babers on July 28, but it will be a short hon­ey­moon with the foot­ball team open­ing camp Aug. 3.

“It’ll be tough, but we’ll fig­ure it out,” Martin said. “That’s the foot­ball life. She un­der­stands the life­style. Her dad is a col­lege foot­ball coach, so she’ll be able to han­dle it. She’s awe­some.”

Babers is the daugh­ter of Dino Babers, the cur­rent Syra­cuse foot­ball head coach and a for­mer Texas A&M as­sis­tant.

Tiller talk

Texas A&M Coach Kevin Sum­lin sent well-wishes to one of his men­tors, for­mer Pur­due Coach Joe Tiller.

“Joe’s not do­ing real good right now,” Sum­lin said. “Just keep him in your prayers. He’s back up at his ranch. And he’s al­ways been a great men­tor to me.”

Tiller brought Sum­lin with him from Mike Price’s staff at Washington State when Tiller was hired as head coach at Wy­oming.

“I just want to say pub­licly how much I ap­pre­ci­ate what he’s done for me, not only as a player, but re­ally give me a start as a full-time coach, and just keep him in your prayers,” Sum­lin said.

AP/BUTCH DILL

Alabama safety Minkah Fitz­patrick ( cen­ter) praised Arkansas quar­ter­back Austin Allen dur­ing Wed­nes­day’s ses­sion at SEC me­dia days in Hoover, Ala., but the ju­nior also noted the Crim­son Tide’s pres­sure de­fense gave Allen trou­ble in the Ra­zor­backs’ 49-30 loss in Fayet­teville last sea­son.

Allen

Sa­ban

Sum­lin

Stoops

Odom

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