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UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS FOOTBALL MEDIA CONFERENCE

September 9, 2017

Bret Bielema

Fayetteville, Arkansas

TCU - 28, Arkansas - 7

BRET BIELEMA: Just didn't have a connection, had some dropped balls, had some guys that needed to correct. So as coaches, first, I've got to own every minute of that film. As coaches we've really got to self-assess what we're asking our guys to do, especially in the second half offensively and figure out what we can do better, because obviously it didn't work.

So we've got a bye week. We'll really take self-inventory. I think the biggest thing is we've got to be the most-improved football team in the country from this next week until we play A&M. The team is very similar to the one we just played, and get a lot better at the details, especially in the critical moments.

Kicking game, we may either just go for it all the time, or I'll put in a guy -- again, what you see in practice is what you believe is going to happen. We have a kicker that was kicking over 95% all the way through fall camp and the first two weeks of the season, and then to go out there and miss two chip shots, especially the second one.

The reason I wanted to go for it, it was right in the middle of the field. It was basically a PAT, and it was a perfect protection and perfect snap, it's inexcusable. So we've got to find the other option in that regard because we're not going to go down that path again. So that one we'll move forward on.

With that, injury-wise, I don't think we really had anybody of significance during the course of the game, couple of those guys that were there. On the defense just got some guys, but it wasn't anything significant. So there was nothing from an injury standpoint to be concerned about.

Q. (Inaudible)?
BRET BIELEMA: It's a critical area. It's one of our biggest areas we work on, concentrate, and talk about. Offense never seemed to really have anything we could go to consistently. Weren't necessarily getting pressure on them. I think there was some pressure at times, but, again, routes that weren't open, guys that didn't get free defensively, we knew we just needed to keep playing. They were going to convert some third downs, but we needed to get them out of rhythm, get them off the chains.

For the most part I thought our defense the last, whatever that was, 8 minutes, 10 minutes played really, really good.

Q. (Inaudible)?
BRET BIELEMA: You know, I don't want to be too judgmental until I see the film, but there were definitely some good plays where he scrapped a lot, made some good plays, but I think there were probably some decisions I bet he wishes he had back, as well as some throws. But I really can't assess that right now, other than we just didn't have success.

Q. (Inaudible)?
BRET BIELEMA: I know at halftime they talked about -- at least the coaches wanted to go with one guy and try to keep him in there and try to keep the rhythm going. Some of the guys got a hot hand. Think we came out and in the second half we did have a couple big plays with David and Devwah, but had three big options back there. We wanted Chase to be on the first second down. We knew third down wasn't his down today, but first and second down I can't talk to you about the rotation.

Q. What all do you think factored into the inability to get the running game cranked up the way you really wanted it to?
BRET BIELEMA: At first, give credit to them, obviously. But, to me, defensive football they're going to force you. When you want to stop somebody from running the football, they're either going to set up the perimeter and not let you run outside or they're going to jam you up the middle and not allow you to run the football up inside.

We had some got in some over formations, had some success and out of some mini formations, but couldn't consistently do anything on the ground, and that really affected our play-action pass game and the ability to find some receivers down field.

I think we've got to physically strain a lot harder. It seems like those were smaller players that we wanted to lean on and put some weight on them and try to turn it into our type of game. Again, there were times there where I felt that momentum starting to swing our way and we do something to shoot ourselves in the foot.

Q. Ty Clary played in his second game and in as many games, how is your confidence with him?
BRET BIELEMA: He's a good player. He had a good week of practice. The I can't really comment as to somebody individually just from the way the game flowed. But I don't think there was anything glaringly that he did wrong, but I assume he'll continue to make progress and he's a good player.

Q. (Inaudible)?
BRET BIELEMA: Absolutely, yeah. Really felt that we should be able to lean on him, especially as perimeter guys. There are big guys inside, the D-tackle has some good size, good stature. But our thought was to try to get on the edges on the defensive ends and try to wear them down a little bit, but we were never able to really consistently get that done.

Q. You had a little success coming from O'Grady and Patton, was there a reason you stopped going to the tight ends? Did you see a different look?
BRET BIELEMA: No, I think there was a couple screenplays we were talking about early with them. And we called the same play again later on and went for nothing. I do know they went back and some of those bootleg plays they played early, one was Jonathan Nance and one was Patton, but give credit to them. They shut them down the second time we saw them.

Q. (Inaudible)?
BRET BIELEMA: Yeah, the official came over to me and said I couldn't see what he was doing. He said something when I went over to him. He said something about brushing the fillers off. He was emphatic about it, but obviously no room here for any type of injustice. Just hand the ball to the official.

Again, there are some new players. Guys that he, Jeremy Patton, jumped offsides in the red zone. Had some first year -- or guys that hadn't played a lot of football did some things that weren't characteristic to what our program is, and that has to be corrected. Good news is they're young players and they'll be able to do that.

Q. As far as the kicker, is Mazza the guy?
BRET BIELEMA: I just didn't want to go to Limpert. You know, he's a lefty, so that means we've got to change out the battery, the man that's holding it. So Connor Limpert has hid the ball well though. So he's been what we wanted him to concentrate more on just as kickoffs and Mazza, and Cole have been doing the PATs and field goals. But obviously something's going to have to change to get the answer to that.

Q. The way you all set up the defense it looked like you all wanted him to run it and were forcing him to run. Was it going the way you wanted it to?
BRET BIELEMA: Yeah, if you had told me going late into the fourth quarter that it was going to be a 14-point game, 14-7 on us, I thought we'd have more than that. But I really think those last two touchdowns were just a little bit of -- they definitely weren't tackling like they were in the first half. And just doing the things. That's what I stressed to our players in the locker room. Since last January, emphasizing talking about the way you finish games, and that is not the group that I've been working with the last six months.

It's definitely something that will be on the forefront of every conversation as we move forward the next two weeks.

Q. When you missed those field goals in the red zone and you get the fumble and can't do anything with it, did you feel the energy on the sideline kind of deflate a little bit?
BRET BIELEMA: Those field goals were hard. They were hard. They were down in there. We even talked about it with the first one if we wanted to back it up. But we felt confident, very confident about the angle and the hit. Those are hard to take because we have a formula for red zone efficiency that, if it's not touchdowns, we've got to get field goals.

Again, that second one was basically a PAT and to miss that, that's juvenile. We've got to do whatever we've got to do to make sure that's something that can be handled in the future.

But it takes its toll, I think. That was probably something that really wore on our defense was just answer the bell, answer the bell, and then especially with a turnover and kickoff return, it's just unacceptable.

Q. The timing in the passing game, it looked like it was a little bit off. Jared Cornelius may be still trying to knock the rust off maybe?
BRET BIELEMA: Yeah, I think we've got to get sudden in the pass game. We had guys that I think weren't separating themselves. I'll give a directive, or I think we're trying to maybe work too many people. We need to concentrate on here's our five wide receivers. These are the guys going to play in the game, get them the reps and decide who they are. We had a couple deep balls get thrown. We had a guy fall down. Just stuff that doesn't have anyplace in SEC football.

Q. Did you feel like there was anything with the demeanor on the sideline or any indication that that -- that just kind of seemed a little flat?
BRET BIELEMA: Yeah, I think when you continually go out there. We scored. We answered the score. Really didn't get anything going the rest of the day. I think that gets very frustrating. As coaches you feel it, as players you feel it, and I told the guys at halftime, to win this game, somebody in this room is going to have to rise up and do something they've never done before. It's not superhuman, but it's just they've got to make a third-down catch, break a tackle, make a block. Just do something that's going to separate themselves in the game and give everybody a chance to win it.

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