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Defensive Woes: Sam Pittman, LB Hayden Henry at Loss for Lack of Tackling

Nobody has an explanation for the inability of Arkansas' lack of tackling the past couple of games after Ole Miss gets 52-51 win

Maybe the early starts are the problem.

Arkansas' defense suddenly has an apparent lack of interest in getting other people on the ground.

And Sam Pittman is at a loss for why.

"We've got to figure it out," he said after Ole Miss put up 52 points and 611 yards Saturday.

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The Razorbacks had more yards but that's due completely to them getting the ball last in a shootout where by every measurable statistic coaches use they should have won. Take away that 75-yard drive and the numbers would be different, but they count.

"I really don't know," Pittman said later. "A bunch of it was early, we didn't tackle Any open-field tackle, we couldn't get the guy on the ground. And that includes Corral. That was by far our poorest day tackling.

"Then when we had some busts in the secondary, guys were wide-open and we couldn't fill the gap from the safety area on a simple little stretch play."

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Last week the Hogs had a similar problem against Georgia in a 37-0 loss. It wasn't for lack of practice.

"I'm not positive why," Pittman said. "We had a really good, physical week of practice. We went good on good a lot, but the bottom line is we had too many mistakes defensively and we couldn't tackle."

After a 4-0 start to a season that has raised fans' expectations to the ceiling (maybe beyond), the defense was supposed to be solved from the problem area the last few years.

Now they've given up 89 points and 1,164 yards in the last two weeks. Through the first four games of the season the defense had allowed just 861 yards ... combined.

More importantly they gave up just 58 points through the first four games (38 of it in the first two against Rice and Texas).

"By far, our poorest day tackling," Pittman said.

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The Hogs aren't getting turnovers now, either. After getting five through the first four games they haven't gotten any the last couple of weeks.

"We’ve got to get back to taking the ball away," linebacker Hayden Henry said. "This year we were good at it a little bit, and now we’re on quite a dry streak.

"We’ve got to start creating some big plays and getting the ball back to our offense."

At the halfway point of the season, the Hogs are going to a bowl game. Only a spectacular collapse would prevent that, considering UAPB is in that group the last half of the season.

But they better figure out a way to stop somebody.

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"Really, it’s a lot of people," Pittman said of the defense. "It’s not just one or two guys. We’re banging off of legs, not wrapping up well and getting guys on the ground.

"We’ll adjust it after we look at film and see what the heck is going on and why we’re not tackling well."

The problem is Pittman is hoping they can adjust it. The depth questions about the defense are starting to come to the surface.

"We’re beat up a little bit more with bumps and bruises and broken hands and different things of that nature," Pittman said. "That’s certainly going to play a part of it. But we can tackle better.

"We tackle in indy (individual drills), we tackle. We don’t tackle live bodies, but we form tackle, we tackle on sleds. We do that every Tuesday and Wednesday."

Tackling dummies and sleds are different than people. They don't move nearly as well, but that's an argument for a different day.

Pittman and defensive coordinator Barry Odom have to figure a way to get people on the ground.

And figure it out quick.


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