Smith says Hogs' secondary must improve

Missed tackles were a concern for Arkansas in its season-opening 49-24 victory against Jacksonville State.

The Gamecocks finished with 227 passing yards and a pair of touchdown passes, and Arkansas coach John L. Smith made it clear Wednesday that he wasn’t happy with the play of the Hogs’ defensive backs.

“I don’t know that the secondary played anywhere close to the way we’d like for them to play,” Smith said. “We have to toughen some things up back there, and we played loose at times when we should not have been.”

The Hogs replaced starting cornerback Darius Winston in the first quarter with fifth-year senior walk-on Kaelon Kelleybrew. Winston gave up a 31-yard pass on a third-and-5 play and didn’t return to the game until the third quarter.

Smith said defensive coordinator Paul Haynes was continuing to “shore up some things” in the secondary this week.

It wasn’t all bad. Senior safety Ross Rasner led the Hogs with 11 tackles, and made a couple of plays that prevented what likely would have been Jacksonville State touchdowns.

Arkansas faces Louisiana-Monroe this coming Saturday in Little Rock. It’s the opener for the Warhawks, who like to spread teams out and throw the football. So it's a chance for the Hogs to see how much improvement they've made in the secondary, especially with No. 1 Alabama coming to town next week.