Hog Defense Talks Saturday's Scrimmage

The mystery is solved as to who actually sacked Austin Allen for real in Saturday's Razorback scrimmage. Outside linebacker Carl Roesler pleaded guilty as the players emerged from a Tuesday workout in week four of spring football.

"I didn't mean to hit him," Roesler said with a grin. "I got blocked into him. I'm not supposed to talk about that. No, I'm kidding.  It wasn't a big deal."

The reduced numbers for the offense from the first scrimmage where blitzing was not allowed to the second, which featured various defensive pressures, was a big deal. Head coach Bret Bielema is touting a more aggressive approach from the team's new 3-4 defense. The players on that side of the ball say the difference suits them just fine.

"I like it because I like to attack the offense especially in the run game," inside linebacker Josh Harris emphasized. "In the pass game too. It helps us with the 3-4 . Really we can play both ways and still get the job done."

Little used interior defensive lineman Armon Watts is thriving in the 3-4 after moving to the edge. Having played in just one game his sophomore season Watts has been working with the first unit at defensive end opposite Sosa Agim.

"It's fun," Watts stressed. "Especially going from a nose (guard) to a three technique to end. I get a little bit more freedom on the edge. That's probably been the biggest thing. Also I've got an advantage with my long arms. I like coach (defensive coordinator Paul) Rhoads and the position he's put me in with the new defense. I'm excited."

Watts also addressed comments made by Bielema about him following the scrimmage. The head coach expressed amazement after seeing Watts toss left guard Hjalte Froholdt aside as the two battled one-on-one last week in practice.

"We have our battles every day, " Watts said of Froholdt. "Sometimes it might get rowdy. He may get me. I may get him. So we both get frustrated but at the end of the day he knows I'm good. I know he's good."

Junior Randy Ramsey has adapted to the 3-4 so well he's been working at both of the new hybrid outside linebacker positions.

"The thing I like about the 'Razor' position is I'm playing more in space and you know I'm long so that helps me play in space a lot," Ramsey explained. "The thing I like about 'Hog' is I get to rush. I don't have to drop back as much."

"The bottom line is just getting the defense down,"  Ramsey said of the 3-4. "Once we did that Saturday we had a real good scrimmage. Once we get the defense down and keep getting better our defense is going to be real good."

The defense may have gotten the better of the offense but sophomore tight end Austin Cantrell was reluctant to accept it.

"I might have been involved in routes," Cantrell recalled. "I don't remember a lot about their pressure. From the first scrimmage to the second one we definitely didn't do as good upfront. I wouldn't necessarily say that was from the blitzing. Just an off day maybe."

Which side of the ball that has the upper hand from now until this fall will likely remain between the players and coaches. There will be no more scrimmages this spring. The only time the offense and defense will battle publicly will be in the April 29 Red-White game. Bielema has indicated that there may not be any heavy blitzing in that game.


 


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