The following are excerpts from interviews held after the Arkansas football team’s lost 12-16 to Toledo in September, 2015 in Little Rock:
Brandon, you guys were one for five going into the red zone; you got down there; how tough was that? What was going on in the red zone?
Brandon Allen: We were killing ourselves, we felt like we could score. We had a bunch of plays held back. Couldn’t punch it in for the life of us today. Can’t win against anybody if we’re one for five.
On the struggles of the run game:
Allen: We couldn’t get it going. Got to give them credit, they did a good job stopping it, but can’t win one-dimensional. Got to get around the ball, and we couldn’t.
You outgained them by about 200 yards. You gained over 500 yards. Normally you do that you’re going to win. How frustrating was that?
Allen: Very… Were one for five in the red zone there. You can get all the yards you want but it doesn’t matter if you can’t put it into the end zone.
As a leader of this football team what do you have to do this week to get ready for Texas Tech?
Allen: I know this team. We have our minds right, and this isn’t going to affect the rest of the season. We have a lot of games left. Tomorrow we will watch the film, we’ll move on, and we’ll be ready for Texas Tech. I know this team. There’s no quit. This is one game. We got ten more, a lot of games to play, and the team’s got their mind right, and we’re going to play each and every game like it’s our last one. We’re trying to play them all.
85 yards in penalties. Coach B’s playing clean didn’t get it done today in that area. Any thoughts?
Allen: That killed us. It really did. Any time we had momentum going on offense, you know, we’d get a holding call or something, get held back, and I think we scored a touchdown at the end, holding call called it back; so we’re really killing our momentum with penalties, and can’t win when you’re killing yourself.
On the last drive of the game:
Allen: I felt like we were going to score, and we moved the ball pretty much all day; can’t punch it in, and got all the way down there, give ourselves a chance. Last play, kind of just dropped it; went out in the in zone but there was nobody to throw it to, and kind of stumbled a little bit.
What’s the locker room feel like right now?
Rohain Gaines: I feel like we’ve got enough leaders to turn things around. I’ve been down this road before. I’ve been here for a long time and I know it can go one of two ways. I feel like with the leaders that we have on this team it can go up from here.
What’s the key to making it go the right way?
Gaines: You just have to come back and prepare. We have to come back Sunday and work, we got to come back Monday, get some overtime. Got to come back Tuesday, Wednesday practice, Thursday practice, Friday practice, and Saturday play our ball.
What did they do to surprise you guys? They seemed like they had a lot of wide open guys running free to pass to the linebackers.
Gaines: Give all the credit to Tolito. They’ve got some great athletes. They called great plays and they obviously schemed us up.
What’s it feel like?
JaMichael Winston: It’s terrible, it’s a terrible feeling. Unbelievable feeling. Those guys came in here and earned their win and we didn’t today.
What did they do that gave you guys problems?
Winston: There was a lot of scheming up. They schemed us up pretty good. They got on us. You can tell they’ve been working on them for a while.
A lot of the times expect Arkansas playing a team like that to out physical them and it seemed like it was the other way. Were you surprised at how physical they were?
Winston: Yeah, they were pretty physical today. They came out with a lot of energy today and played good football and earned a win.
There’s been times when a loss like this for a big program can affect the next game and the next game. What did coach talk about in that post game about making it just be the one loss and not letting it linger.
Winston: Just having a 1-and-0 mentality and moving on to the next one. Can’t let one bad game affect the next, just got to go on, going on Sunday. Start focusing on Texas Tech and get better.
Winston: What was happening on the third and long because they converted several third and longs.
Winston: They were getting the ball out quick to their guy, that guy number 40 was doing a good job at catching the ball and getting the first down.
Mitch Smothers: We didn’t earn that victory today. We didn’t come out and we didn’t play Arkansas football like we should. We just didn’t come ready to play.
Why did you not?
Smothers: I feel like it starts with me, but it’s just that the preparation we did and just … I just felt like we didn’t come out and did what we should have.
You guys out-gained them by a couple hundred yards. How tough is that to lose a game when you dominated like that statistically?
Smothers: We didn’t play clean enough. We had too many penalties, pre-snap penalties, post-snap penalties that drove us back. You can’t win football games when you have that many penalties.
Given what happened last year, with grounding and pounding people, it looked like this year was set up to be that again. Today, maybe not the rushing numbers you’d like. Same with last week. What do you think’s going on there?
Well, we’re not going to let one game define this whole season. We’ve still got a lot of football left to play. We’re definitely going to work on that.
What’s been the difference, though, in the rushing game, in not getting the yards you guys-
Smothers: These first two opponents, they like to move a lot on us. We just didn’t come ready to move them vertical like we should have. Like I said, we’re going to come … We’ll become better.
When you say they didn’t come ready, are you guys not prepared for this one?
Smothers: I started to say … I’m just going to go back to what Coach B said. We just didn’t earn it. We didn’t come out and play Arkansas football. That’s all I got to say about that.
Since you guys are one to five scoring in the red zone, what do you think when you’re standing down there?
Smothers: It’s definitely very frustrating, but then again, it goes back to us up front, me included. We didn’t run the ball like we should have today. That’s the one thing you’ve got to do in the red zone is run the football if you want to win a football games.