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Hog Coaches See A familiar Look to LSU's Offense

LSU's offense reminds Razorback defensive coaches of Wisconsin's offenses under Bret Bielema.
FAYETTEVILLE--The Razorbacks' defensive coaches have been seeing something familiar when they look at video of LSU's offense this week. "It reminds me a lot of what I've seen the last four or five years on the offensive side of the ball where I've been," defensive line coach Charlie Partridge observed. "They're committed to running the ball. They're committed to being a physical football team. Those are a lot of the things that we're working to build here."

The Tigers don't just line up and run the ball. Arkansas' secondary will also face the SEC's number three passer in Zach Mettenberger who has a pair of 1,000 yard receivers to choose from. Whether they're going up against Odell Beckham or Jarvis Landry the Hogs' secondary will have to play near perfect technique to avoid getting burned.

"You truly, truly have to be disciplined with each and everything," cornerbacks coach Taver Johnson stressed. "When it's in the air they have a chance to catch it. You just have to compete for it and make sure when it's time to get them tackled you get them tackled."

LSU's run-pass balance and the fact that it does both so well creates a guessing game for opposing coaches.

"You got to pick your poison," defensive coordinator Chris Ash said bluntly. "Do you load the box to stop the run, put your DB's in a sticky situation or do you play coverage and hopefully you can stop the run with seven? So you've got a challenge to decide which direction you want to go."

Arkansas' beleaguered defense has managed to reduce the scoreboard damage since giving up 104 points in back-to-back losses to South Carolina and Alabama. Over the last three games Auburn, Ole Miss and Mississippi State have combined for just 93 points against the Hogs. 

I think there's been a lot of improvement in the last couple of weeks," Ash acknowledged. "We're being more competitive. Brooks Ellis has given us a new component. He's not perfect on a lot of things but he's getting better every single time he's out there. Putting D.J. Dean out there as a young player gave us a little bit of extra juice and some of the other guys are playing more consistent but we've still got a long way to go."

It appears that junior cornerback Tevin Mitchell has a chance to play against LSU after missing the Mississippi State game to be with his family following a stoke suffered by his mother. Bielema told reporters on Monday that her condition was improved but none of the coaches wanted to talk much about his availability for the game.

"We're just getting him back in the fold," Johnson explained. "First and foremost we just want to make sure he's okay. He knows that we're there for him. Football helps with the healing process so it's good to have him back on campus."


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