Posted on: September 26, 2011 4:36 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
With star running back Knile Davis out for the season, star defensive end Jake Bequette missing the Alabama game with a hamstring issue, and multiple receivers at less than 100 percent, Bobby Petrino no doubt felt his team had already endured enough terrible luck with injuries to last the the season ... and that was before they took the field against the Tide.
But that didn't stop the Razorbacks from enduring yet another major injury blow when starting defensive end Tenarius Wright left Saturday's loss gently holding his left arm. Per Arkansas RapidReporter Jimmy Carter, Petrino confirmed Monday what may had already suspected: Wright has broken the arm and will be out four-to-six weeks after undergoing surgery Sunday. Wright had 10 tackles on the year to-date, one for loss.
The loss would be significant even if everyone else was healthy; a third-team preseason All-SEC selection, multi-year starter, and collector of six sacks a year ago, Wright was already a key member of the Hog front seven before Bequette went down at the other starting end position. But with Bequette out and backups in at both end positions, it wasn't surprising that the line was largely helpelss against the powerful Tide ground game, giving up more than 5 yards a carry.
With Texas A&M's one-two punch of Christine Michael and Cyrus Gray on the docket this week, getting Bequette back would be huge. Petrino said the senior ran with the team at Sunday night's practice and could be back in uniform for Saturday.
But if he's not, a defensive line that's already hurting will be hurting even more thanks to Wright's absence. If any Razorback fans out there have any protective juju for the remaining starters on the line -- tackles Dequinta Jones and Byran Jones, and end Chris Smith -- now would be the time to use it.
Posted on: September 22, 2011 8:21 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Over the summer we named Arkansas senior defensive end Jake Bequette to our CBSSports.com CFB 100, a list of the 100 most influential players, coaches, etc. of the 2011 season. Why? Because Bequette appeared to be the star player that could take the Razorback defense from "decent" to "potentially SEC-championship caliber."
But if the Hogs are going to take that step Saturday in their potentially season-defining showdown at Alabama, they'll have to do so without Bequette. Per Arkansas RapidReporter Jimmy Carter, Bobby Petrino announced Thursday that Bequette's nagging hamstring injury will prevent him from taking the field against the Tide.
“It’s really hard for him,” Petrino said. “He made huge improvement throughout the week, but didn’t quite get ready to practice. Hopefully he’ll be back next week.”
Starting in Bequette's place will be sophomore Chris Smith. The good news is that Smith has been one of the few bright spots for what's been a surprisingly tame Hog pass rush to date, having collected two of the team's three sacks and tying for the team lead in tackles-for-loss as well. Petrino expressed confidence in Smith's ability, lauding his "athleticism" and change-of-direction skills.
But that doesn't mean there's not plenty of bad news, too. The veteran Bequette would have likely been better-prepared for the raucous environment the Hogs are certain to face in Tuscaloosa; his strength and experience would have been a substantial boost against the Tide's powerful ground game; and no other lineman on the Razorback roster (Smith included) has Bequette's potential for a two-sack, four-TFL game-changing performance.
The news is, in short, a big blow. It doesn't doom the Hogs, either as an entire team or even just as a defense -- with Jerico Nelson and Jerry Franklin two of the SEC's better linebackers, the front seven still has some bite -- but winning on the road at Alabama is the sort of victory that doesn't usually happen without a good bit of good luck. Losing Bequette is entirely the opposite.
Posted on: September 16, 2011 4:32 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
The good news for Arkansas is that their schedule has handed them the home game against Troy this week and the road trip to Alabama next week. The bad news? A pair of key starters for the Hogs will head into that critical SEC West showdown without getting a tuneup against the Trojans.
Bobby Petrino announced Thursday that both senior defensive end Jake Bequette and senior wideout Jarius Wright will miss his team's matchup against Troy Saturday, Bequette with a tweaked hamstring and Wright with a strained knee. The Razorbacks may also be without star receiver Greg Childs, whose grandmother passed away this week.
None of those absences should matter much against the Trojans. For one thing, the Hogs have capable replacements; Bequette's spot will be filled by sophomore Chris Smith, already tied for the team lead in tackles-for-loss with 2. And as for Wright, this is where the Hogs' national-best depth at receiver comes into play. Even if Childs misses the game as well, Arkansas can still start a pair of Biletnikoff Award Watch List members in Cobi Hamilton and Joe Adams.
For another, after their 43-19 loss to Clemson in Week 1, this may not be a vintage Troy squad. And the Hogs even have some good news to report on the injury front, as explosive running back and kick returner Dennis Johnson is due to return from a hamstring injury of his own.
But the questions surrounding Bequette and Wright's absences aren't about to subside no matter how well the Hogs play against Troy. For Petrino's team to win in Tuscaloosa, they'll need all of their most talented players -- which, without question, includes Bequette and Wright -- playing at something close to their best games. So: will they be healthy enough for that? Will they have any rust after missing the last game and a half and a big chunk of practice time? If they are rusty, will they have any hope of hanging with a team of the caliber of the Crimson Tide, on the road?
Thanks to the schedule-maker, things could be worse for the Hogs. But given the uncertainty that now surrounds the team's best pass-rusher and field-stretching receiver, things could be a lot better, too.
Posted on: April 25, 2011 11:23 pm
Edited on: April 25, 2011 11:24 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
How did you spend your holiday weekend? Personally I just hung around the house and watched a whole lot of sports. Which is a much different story than the one Mississippi State wide receiver Chris Smith would tell you if he wasn't having so much trouble talking right now. It seems Smith found himself in the middle of some kind of "altercation" this weekend, and he has himself a broken jaw to show for it.
Smith, a rising junior, will undergo surgery Tuesday in Columbus and is not expected to miss workouts or fall practice, a team spokesman confirms. The altercation occurred Saturday, MSU coach Dan Mullen said when reached by telephone Monday night. Details surrounding the altercation were not immediately known. A request seeking a possible police report from the Meridian Police Department was not fulfilled Monday evening.
I see a whole lot of milkshakes in Smith's future, which seems pretty awesome until you remember he has a broken jaw.
Smith didn't get a lot of playing time in 2010, though he did finish the season strong for the Bulldogs and is expected to get more playing time in 2011. After not doing much of anything all year, Smith caught 13 passes for 165 yards in Mississippi State's final three games.