Gary Patterson met with the media Tuesday to give his final thoughts on last week’s win in Fayetteville and what he’s feeling heading into a big rivalry game with SMU.
Final Thoughts on Arkansas:
Darius Anderson stood out. I liked how physical Pryor was and how Banogu handled the big stage. Some handle the stage better than others - Corey Bethley played in front of big crowds at Katy. He wasn’t affected by the big stage at all.
On the Defensive Performance:
This is one of the fastest (defenses) we have had, but it doesn’t matter if we’re not physical.
It’s been a while since “speed, baby”, but GP has the defensive tools to run the 4-2-5 in the way that he wants to. With solid depth along the defensive line - including some rookies that are making an immediate impact - he can rotate guys in and out and really put pressure on opposing QBs. He also has the talent in the defensive backfield to put guys on islands and expect them to hold up in coverage. Patterson mentioned that the defensive tackles are good, and playing better because of guys like Ridwan Issahaku and Innis Gaines playing behind them.
On Playing SMU After a Big Win:
We remind them annually of losing to SMU after beating OU in ‘05. It’s big again this year coming off a big win at Arkansas. (But) they relate more to being 6-7.
Color me not at all surprised that Gary has not forgotten the feeling of losing to SMU after one of the biggest upsets in the Horned Frogs’ history - and I am even less surprised that he continues to mention it, even though the players he’s coaching today were in kindergarten when that game happened.
On SMU’s Offense:
I usually judge coaches by how their kids play and they play hard. SMU runs a similar offense to Jackson State, but they have two really good WRs in Courtland Sutton and James Proche.
On the Problem Child, Courtland Sutton:
He's a good player," Patterson said. "He's big, he's physical, he's their marquee player and you can tell they find where he's at and try to get the ball to him as much as they can. If they can beat you deep and also out-physical you, then you always have to worry about them.
In two prior games against the Frogs, Sutton has 11 catches for 228 yards ad a touchdown, and that’s primarily matched up against Ranthony Texada. This is the best supporting cast he’s had around him, and the trio if Sutton, Proche, and Trey Quinn will be a handful for GP’s defense. Pressure on QB Ben Hicks will be the difference-maker.
On Kenny Hill:
It's not about making a bunch of great plays in this offense, it's about not making mistakes.
What we saw in Saturday’s game plan is probably who the Frogs want to be - make the plays that are there for you, not the ones you think you’re supposed to. Get the ball in your play-maker’s hands and turn them loose. Run the dang ball, play solid D, win by one (or 21).
On the Offensive Line/Lucas Niang:
We need Niang to work himself back into shape. Missed a lot of fall camp. Can't play much more than 30 snaps a game.
I didn’t realize how limited Niang was Saturday, and having him at full strength by Oklahoma State is a big time difference maker for the Frogs in Stillwater.
On Injuries Heading Into SMU:
Ty Slanina is questionable for SMU, should be good to go by Oklahoma State.
Not really sure when Ty got hurt or what the injury is, but his loss was a big one in Saturday’s game. Des White got most of his routes in Slanina’s absence, but the bigger bodied Slanina will help the offense out a ton.
Not a fan of teams/players celebrating on the field. I was part of LT's career and he just handed the ball to the official. If you want somebody to recognize your level of performance, they also have to like you.
I am sure that was a slight reference to Baker Mayfield’s flag (almost) planting, as well as Sewo Olonilua’s touchdown celebration in Fayetteville. But I have to disagree with GP on the latter - if you carry 11 guys 11 yards to the end zone, you get to strut a bit.