Hogs’ D solid de­spite loss

The Saline Courier - - SPORTS - By Otis Kirk Nate Allen Sports Ser­vice

FAYET­TEVILLE – Arkansas lost to Texas A&M 31-27 on Satur­day in AT&T Sta­dium, but some de­fen­sive play­ers had good ef­forts.

Among them were end Ja­mario Bell, tackle T.J. Smith and safety Kam­ren Curl. Smith was rec­og­nized by Pro Foot­ball Fo­cus be­ing se­lected to the na­tional and SEC de­fen­sive teams this week. On Tues­day fol­low­ing prac­tice, Kenny In­gram talked about what Smith did so well against the Ag­gies.

“I think his pres­ence was huge for us up front,” In­gram said. “I think he did a great job try­ing to be phys­i­cal at the line of scrim­mage, con­trol the line of scrim­mage. He got a big sack and strip. He just ap­plied the things we’ve been do­ing in prac­tice. Got to see it play out in a game.”

Smith and Sosa Agim, who wasn’t at Tues­day’s prac­tice for un­known rea­sons, are both se­niors who have drawn praise for what they bring to the in­side spots on the de­fen­sive line.

“They have been around

here and are older guys,” In­gram said. “They’ve got a lot of ex­pe­ri­ence. They’ve been able to ap­ply their ex­pe­ri­ence and just been con­sis­tent. It’s true.”

Smith fin­ished with two tack­les, in­clud­ing one for loss, a sack and forced fum­ble. In­gram feels that Smith can build off the per­for­mance on Satur­day.

“With­out ques­tion, it’s some­thing he can build on,” In­gram said. “It’s some­thing that other guys can watch him. TJ, he’s con­sis­tent in prac­tice, he’s con­sis­tent in his work ethic, so the other guys get to see it, as well as him­self. He’ll get a chance to build off the suc­cess he had Satur­day.”

Steve Cald­well coaches the de­fen­sive ends and had praise for how Ja­mario Bell played against the Ag­gies. The se­nior from Junc­tion City fin­ished with two tack­les, in­clud­ing a pair for loss.

“It was good to have him back on the field to start with, and ob­vi­ously it was his most pro­duc­tive game that he’s had I think since he’s been here, most likely,” Cald­well said. “He’s still not full-speed. Look­ing for­ward to get­ting him back in prac­tice and get­ting him in bet­ter shape and just see if we can progress from what we ac­com­plished last week.”

Bell also had two sacks in the game. What led to those?

“Just kept strain­ing,” Cald­well said. “He kept af­ter it. We call one of them a dirty sack. The first one he got, they flushed him out of the pocket, and Ja­mario runs well enough that he was strain­ing hard and kept on him and was able to make the play. Ba­si­cally the same thing on the sec­ond one. He came off the edge and just kept press­ing the tackle and was able to rip off of him. Just stay­ing af­ter it.”

Curl, who is a ju­nior, has been maybe the most con­sis­tent player on de­fense. He fin­ished Satur­day’s game with 12 tack­les, in­clud­ing four solo, to lead the Ra­zor­backs. Ron Cooper is pleased with how he’s play­ing.

“Kam’s been play­ing re­ally well,” Cooper said. “I’m def­i­nitely pleased with him. He’s made sev­eral plays, sev­eral checks. He un­der­stands the scheme. He’s put us in some of the right calls some­times when we may have needed the right sec­ondary cov­er­age check. I’m re­ally pleased with Kam. He’s done real well.”

Ju­nior quar­ter­back Nick Starkel was prac­tic­ing on Tues­day. The quar­ter­backs ob­vi­ously wear black pro­tec­tive jer­seys at all prac­tices and Starkel had a pro­tec­tive sleeve on his left arm. Starkel was in­jured in the sec­ond quar­ter of Satur­day’s game against Texas A&M.

Fresh­man wide re­ceiver Trey Knox, who missed the A&M game, wasn’t at prac­tice on Tues­day. Knox, who in­jured his hip in the Ole Miss game, has been banged up since that game, though he played against Colorado State and San Jose State.

Sev­eral Ra­zor­backs prac­ticed in green pro­tec­tive jer­seys on Tues­day. Among the six were tight end Cheyenne O’grady, named the John Mackey Tight End of the Week af­ter a ca­reer­high eight catches for 91 yards, run­ning back Ra­keem Boyd, wide re­ceiver’s

Jor­dan Jones and De’vion War­ren, and de­fen­sive end’s Gabe Richard­son and Zach Wil­liams.

O’grady, Boyd and Richard­son played against the Ag­gies on Satur­day. Jones hasn’t played this sea­son while Wil­liams missed the past two games. War­ren didn’t play on Satur­day against A&M af­ter leav­ing the San Jose State game with a con­cus­sion.

Cald­well talked about how Wil­liams looked on Tues­day and hopes to have him for Ken­tucky.

“I thought he moved around real well,” Cald­well said. “We’re just not go­ing to put any pres­sure on that knee as far as mak­ing con­tact with some­body prob­a­bly un­til next Mon­day. I think he’ll be ready for Ken­tucky. That’s my plan.”

Arkansas will prac­tice again to­day at 4:20. They will face Ken­tucky in Lex­ing­ton on Satur­day, Oct. 12, with a 6:30 p.m. kick­off. The game will be tele­vised on the SEC Net­work.

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