FAYETTEVILLE — The University of Arkansas fell to Georgia 37-10 on Saturday in the season opener for both teams.
Feleipe Franks was playing in his first game as a Razorback. He completed 19 of 36 passes for 200 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. Following the game he was asked about the 49-yard touchdown pass to sophomore wide receiver Treylon Burks.
“For the first play, yeah, I thought Treylon like I said did a great job of getting open right there,” Franks said. “I got out to the left, threw him the ball, and those guys do a great job of going up. I thought they did a great job of catching the ball for the most part. Treylon made a great play right there and got into the end zone, stayed in bounds and got into the end zone He did a great job, right there. He works his tail off, and he deserves those types of plays like that because he makes those plays.”
Arkansas’ Sam Pittman said following the game Arkansas has the makings of a good team.
“I think Coach Pittman is right,” Franks said. “We’re improving, and that’s really what matters. We’re improving, and at the end of the day we’re going to just keep improving throughout the week and get wins at the end of the day. That’s our main goal is to win games. Fell short today, but we’re going to prepare again this week, all out, to go out there and win next Saturday. I think that’s all that’s important. It’s just continuing to improve, continuing to get better. If these guys will do that, and the coaching staff will do that, we’ll all do that collectively. So, like I said, I’m still excited to just watch these guys. We have a bunch of playmakers around, defensive and offensively. So, I’m excited. Still just to go out there and work with those guys, continuing to work. So, get some wins.”
The Razorbacks took a 7-5 lead into intermission. Franks talked about the vibe in the locker room at the break.
“In the locker room, we’re focused and ready to continue to the next half,” Franks said. “It’s not about being too high or too low. It’s about staying even keel and just going out and executing the offense and executing the plan. Like I said, we can do a better job of that, and we’re going to do a better job of that. And we’re going to still prepare really hard, work really hard this coming week, to be ready for our next game. I think you can’t be too high, can’t be too low. In the locker room I thought we were fine. We just have to continue to get better. Execute the plays. And that’s just all across the board. Whether we have an excellent game there’s always room for improvement. Still execute better, execute better. That’s all it’s about just continuing to improve and continuing to get better.”
Franks talked about the two interceptions and how he felt he played against the Bulldogs.
“Like I said, offensively I thought we could have played more consistent,” Franks said. “At the same time, those interceptions, we had a miscommunication on whatever. Those things happen. Those are things we’re going to get coached up. Those are things that we’ll see it on on film, and then you don’t make the same mistakes twice.
“That’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to learn from it and we’re going to continue to grow and continue to build. That’s what it’s all about.
“It’s not about holding your head down and what you did wrong. It’s about fixing the problem and moving forward. So I think that’s what we’re going to do. I know that’s what we’re going to do. We’ll get that done and get those corrections made this week.”
The Georgia defense is considered possibly the best in the nation. Franks was complimentary of them following the game.
“Georgia has a really good defense,” Franks said. “They’re coached really well. They’re a good football team. That’s what you get when you play SEC football. And there’s things we can do to improve. And things that we did good on film, and things that we need to improve on.
“I think that’s all it’s about right now, is to keep getting better. Just keep moving forward and getting right. I think that’s really what we’re focused on. But Georgia has a really good defense coached really well.”
What makes the Georgia defense so good?
“It wasn’t anything that I thought coming in that I didn’t think when I got out there,” Franks said. “I don’t think that was the deal. I think at the same time, like I said, that they have really good players. They’re an SEC school, we’re playing SEC football, they’re going to have good players. I think that’s what it’s all about is playing good football. Wouldn’t want it any other way, to come out here and play against the best of the best, and that’s what we got today. We played Georgia, a really good team, once again. They did a good job. They came out and executed, played a really good game. And at the same time, I thought we had positives on offense, and our defense played lights out, as well. They did a really good job of keeping us in the game. We’ll just all continue to get better in all three phases of the game. That’s what it’s about, is just continuing to get better.”
In the first quarter, Arkansas started drives at its own 25, 9, 10, 7, 5 and 1. The touchdown drive was 91 yards. But how tough was it constantly being backed up on your end of the field?
“First of all, I thought our offensive line played their hearts out,” Franks said. “Treylon had a good game. That drive, we started backed up. That’s hard when you’re starting backed up. That’s a testament to those guys playing hard and tough and getting us out of those situations. They did a great job. Yeah, we drove the field right there and capitalized. We need to do that more often and play more consistent. I think that’s what we’re focused on. And we will. We’ll play more consistent. There’s no doubt in my mind that we will.
“The only way I know to get better is to just keep working. And keep getting after it. And that’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to go back to work this week and prepare again.”
One thing that hampered Arkansas’ offense was they could never get Rakeem Boyd and the running game going. Boyd rushed 11 times for 21 yards. The Hogs only managed 77 yards rushing for the game.
“It’s tough when we can’t get it going,” Franks said. “At the same time, those are things that we’ll continue to improve on. This game, I thought there were things that we did good and things that we did bad. We’ll get the running game going. I have faith that we’ll get the running game going. Rakeem works his tail off. Great player. The O-line, I kept on bragging on those guys today. They played their hearts out and they did a good job today. Just keep loving up on those guys and that stuff will come. That stuff will come as the season goes. We’ll get that stuff fixed. We have a week to prepare right now and just get better at people’s craft. Continue to execute and watch film and do all those things. I think that’s what’s most important to continue to watch those things so we get other stuff like the running game going.”
Arkansas will now head to Starkville for Saturday’s game against Mississippi State. The Bulldogs went into Baton Rouge and defeated defending national champion LSU.
“I think all four captains do a great job of just being able to encourage guys,” Franks said. “Like I said, throughout the game just being able to encourage defensively, being able to encourage the defense, and keep them up even when things aren’t going our way. We’re going to face adversity throughout the season. We’re going to face adversity, and at the same time I think those guys did a great job, and I try to do my part, doing a great job of just keeping guys motivated. Not necessarily motivated, but just keeping guys in the game. I think that’s what it’s about, being a leader. Not really a guideline to it, I don’t think, but just keeping guys playing at their best potential.”
Saturday’s game will kickoff at 6:30 p.m. and be televised on the SEC Alternate.