Deatrich Wise Jr. sacks SEC defensive lineman award.
FAYETTEVILLE — Deatrich Wise Jr. wasn't just named the Southeastern Conference Defensive Lineman of the Week because of one play over the weekend.
Sure, that one play was obvious. And important. His sack, along with Jeremiah Ledbetter, of Louisiana Tech quarterback J'Mar Smith helped seal the game for Arkansas in the Razorbacks' 21-20 win Saturday. The sack came on third down on the Bulldogs final drive of the game and forced a Louisiana Tech punt when it otherwise looked like Smith, who had gotten two first downs on the drive already, was marching his team again.
Independent that, Wise had seven tackles, tied for the most on the team. More importantly, he had the highest rate of tackles of anyone in the Arkansas front lines.
Wise played 46 defensive snaps. Louisiana Tech had 58 offensive plays. So, Wise played 80 percent of the available snaps. Dre Greenlaw, who also had seven tackles, played every Tech offensive play.
Arkansas defenders had four tackles for-loss against Louisiana Tech, three of which were sacks. Taiwan Johnson and Randy Ramsey recorded one each, but Wise and Ledbetter were the only two defensive linemen on the field for every TFL.
Wise had at least a half-sack in each of Arkansas' last five games. He had eight sacks overall last year, all of which came in SEC games and was most of all players in the league during conference play.
"Deatrich really was a pretty special guy all day long, with as many reps as he got in there," Arkansas coach Bret Bielema said.
Passes, Passes. Get Your Passes Here
Bielema announced the loss of cornerback Kevin Richardson on Monday, leaving the rotation in the back of the Razorbacks defense somewhat under-development.
Richardson had surgery on a torn pectoral muscle Monday after suffering the injury against Louisiana Tech. Last year's starter, DJ Dean, is coming off a hamstring injury. Britto Tutt was lost for the year with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in fall camp. Willie Sykes and Cornelius Floyd, depth players when they were at Arkansas, transferred over the last few months.
In order, that leaves Henre' Toliver, Jared Collins, Ryan Pulley and Dean. Those are the only four scholarship cornerbacks on the roster who are healthy right now. Byron Keaton is the fifth cornerback and in Arkansas' constant three-cornerback-at-a-time defense, he may see snaps against a Texas Christian team that threw the ball 50 times in Week 1.
"A guy that's very similar to (Richardson), we just like what he does at corner, is Henre'. Can play both nickel and corner. That gets Ryan Pulley in the game," Bielema said. "I said in here a week ago, we really felt we had three corners to start, which would be Ryan Pulley and our two corners. With nickel situation, Ryan Pulley will be in there as a corner and Henre' will be inside."
Changes may come at safety, too, where De'Andre Coley was listed as a co-starter with Santos Ramirez at strong safety.
Ramirez was one of four Arkansas players who had seven tackles, the team lead, against Louisiana Tech, but he was also picked on at times in the passing game. Smith threw to Ramirez' area of the field or to Ramirez' man seven times on Saturday. Four were completions and every Louisiana Tech scoring drive - there were four - included a throw in Ramirez' direction.
"I think De'Andre Coley is a guy that's kind of progressively gotten better since last spring. He had opportunities on Saturday. I thought he was in good coverage position, did some good things and did (defensive backs coach Paul Rhoads). We still think Santos is a heck of a football player and competition brings out the best in everybody."