TIDE DEFENSE left a mark on Hogs’ Allen.
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.”
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.