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November 12, 2016

Bret Bielema

Fayetteville, Arkansas

LSU - 38, Arkansas - 10

COACH BIELEMA: First, give a lot of credit to LSU. They obviously came in with a game plan, executed very, very well for four quarters.

Knew that this game was going to be one about who played clean, who executed the plan, who played with a certain level of physicality, as this game has always been about.

But we just -- you know, offense and defense and really special teams, there was a lot of good things during the course of the week. I thought we prepared very, very well. Probably coaches and players felt that. Probably been some of our best preparation from Sunday to Saturday and unfortunately didn't go out there and play that way.

Did a lot of things uncharacteristic to what we've done to have success. I think offensively it just seemed like as soon as we did something good we shot ourselves in the foot or did something uncharacteristic, that obviously set us back.

Defensively they came out with a plan. Obviously they were running in the boundary. They were trading to the tight end and getting to a certain look, and made some nice adjustments and made some stops in the second quarter. But then obviously they had success again late third, early fourth and put the game out of reach.

We would do -- again I go back to -- we scored late in the second quarter there. You get it to a 21-7 game. I was hoping to get another one in there before the half. Couldn't get anything going. Had to take the ball and not do anything with it at the end of the second quarter. And then we come back and talked about starting fast. We get a strip. We get a fumble. Get the ball in great field position and we get three points out of it. They can't convert.

And then I thought obviously when we had the punt that slipped through and Cody Hollister made a great play down there, set our offense up and we lose like eight yards, eight or 10 yards, whatever it was. And again you can't be a good team doing stuff like that.

So we definitely have to look at what we're doing. Obviously for Austin, if he throws first-down picks we can't have that. I love him. I love his competitive spirit and where he's at, but he obviously was out of sync a little bit. And we've got to make sure we're not putting too much on him to do things because he's got to play cleaner and play quicker play back to where he was.

Healthy-wise he's been great all week and felt good. And as coaches we felt really good about it as well so we have to make sure we're all on the same page there.

And for our seniors, they've done a lot of really good things. We wanted to send them out the right way today. That was a tough one, but their career here in that stadium isn't defined by that. They've done a lot of really good things. And fortunately we've got two games to get back on track for them to end on a high note and obviously qualify for a bowl end in a positive way.

Injury-wise I know it was scary out there with Dre. When I went out there he was pretty still out. They were worried obviously about anything, but he moved his hands and legs and out with concussions, so we'll see how it progresses as the week goes on but with that we'll open up for questions.

Q. Could you diagnose (indiscernible) you guys were so good last week?
COACH BIELEMA: Well, LSU had something to do with it. But on the same count, I think there was some in the first half especially or in the first quarter they were running into the boundary and overloading us in there. And we definitely have to look at there's something that we were vulnerable or weak at. And we adjusted our front and then they made a couple nice real good stops obviously, but in the second half then they were able to have some success and get around the edge.

I think a little bit happened when we got down 14. There were some guys that were trying to, again, do too much. They were scraping. They just continued to scrape. I know there were a couple of plays where I saw the linebackers keep coming. They were going to make the play but they would stop and start to invent different looks.

So we just do so much better defensively when we're coming downhill, playing aggressive and resetting the line of scrimmage. And at times we did that but when we didn't they gashed us.

Q. With Austin, he struggled a little bit. Did you think it was more he was struggling or LSU defense, what do you think? It was pretty uncharacteristic?
COACH BIELEMA: Yeah, absolutely. Obviously even last week as well as we performed, I thought he was just a little bit off but this week we had done certain things during practice.

He had really been locked in, been very accurate. Again, the Austin we had seen, and the guy we had seen all the way through the season. But today I think just there was a little bit uncharacteristic thing, just a simple thing like we sent a guy in motion before we were set and that's not him.

He's been so good about being headsy and being smart and we need to get back to that. He and I will have a conversation and we'll make sure that he's right for us to move forward.

Q. (Indiscernible) Fournette for different reason but guys, what did you think of his game and --
COACH BIELEMA: Again, with the analytical report I got early in the year he's probably one of the -- statistically he's one of the most productive runners in college football. He hadn't obviously gotten the same number of reps and snaps, but his production and what he's been able to do with the snaps he got, he was on our radar and knew that he was a tough guy to bring down and obviously that proved out there today.

Q. I guess the smart guys are still upstairs. You guys played (indiscernible) last week after such a rough game in Auburn. Is it frustrating -- seems like it's hard to put good games back to back. Or is it more about playing all these great teams? Or what do you think is going on with that, and what have you got to do (indiscernible)?
COACH BIELEMA: I mean, obviously we all know what the SEC West is about. I get it. That's the world we live in. It's not going to do anybody any good to worry along those lines. I think we have to worry about taking care of our own house.

We knew -- the thing that was a little bit frustrating, obviously in the first half there was a screen play that went for big yards. We missed an assignment there. And a deep ball over the middle, lost a little bit of leverage there. But when they can run the ball as well as they did, you know, you're not going to have success in this league.

And that's what we probably just gotta take a big approach to. And then the part about bouncing back. We bounced back before, and I'm sure we'll do it again. And this team -- I never worry about their character or their demeanor or their work ethic. I think that part will be counted on.

Q. The running game -- looked like it was coming out -- did you just not block them? And LSU's defense I know was good.
COACH BIELEMA: You know, we had the big hit there with Devwah down the sidelines. That was very similar to a play we ran last week. There was definitely some things we wanted to try to expose. But they converted as well. Made some nice keys.

But I think in the first half we had several third and shorts that have got to be conversions for us. And I think one we had a penalty on and we converted on the third and 20, whatever. Maybe we would have been better today going third and extra long, by the statistics of it.

But we just didn't convert when we needed to. And then kind of a small capsule of the day is to have a touchdown, have it reviewed, have to go to the half-yard line, we fumbled the next play. That's ridiculous. And we gotta make sure we correct it.

Q. Devwah is taking part in senior ceremonies. What's his future over the next couple of weeks?
COACH BIELEMA: You know, he's a guy that came to me and expressed, I guess it's a couple of weeks ago, that he would be interested in taking part in senior day. And we'll kind of unfold that as it goes.

Q. LSU came by and scored on their first drive. Do you get a sense they're really motivated after you guys had beat them really bad the last few years, did you feel they were motivated and didn't have an Alabama hangover, maybe, like people talked about the last couple of years?
COACH BIELEMA: I knew the comparison was going to be there right away. Obviously we go into each game expecting to win. We don't really worry or count on anybody having any hangovers. We just go out and execute our plan.

They were very motivated and played very well today. However they came about that, I'll leave that to them to comment.

Q. Over the past few weeks we've seen some pretty explosive plays coming from Devwah. How is his confidence going into the next few games of the season?
COACH BIELEMA: What do we think Devwah will be like?

Q. (Indiscernible).
COACH BIELEMA: Yeah, he's continuing to grow. He's a true freshman that I think -- again, he's got a lot of really good tools. He's a very patient runner. He's very explosive.

I said we signed him and felt to this day that he's one of the more complete running backs I've ever recruited. And I don't have any reason to believe that he just won't continue to grow and get healthy.

He's really done a better job for us in protections, which gives you more confidence to play him on all downs. And as you saw today, again, he's a very explosive player that can make some things happen, even if they're not all blocked up.

Q. Bret, after the fumble, you all kicked a field goal and then you had LSU at like second and 19 -- (indiscernible). Did that feel like a deflating moment?
COACH BIELEMA: Yeah. The score was obviously still a three score game, but it was one where you gotta second and nine or a second and, or, you know, a second and 19, I guess it was, and we choose to take them back every single time again. But when they were able to run the ball, they got in a wide zone play and obviously got us gapped.

I think our support was to the field a little too wide and they cut it up inside and got down to what, was it, third and four, and they converted. Yeah, that was a big hit.

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