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Razorback Football: Trelon Smith Discusses Upcoming Georgia Game

Nate Allen

FAYETTEVILLE – Georgia’s nationally No. 1 ranked defense might take Arkansas running back Trelon Smith’s assessment as a compliment, but most who have seen Arkansas’ defense.

With Georgia’s nationally No. 2 4-0, 2-0 in the SEC Bulldogs hosting the nationally No. 8 Razorbacks, 4-0, 1-0 in the SEC, at 11 a.m. Saturday in Athens, Ga. on ESPN, Smith was asked about a Georgia that’s yielded but 13 total points for four games.

Georgia’s defense, it kind of reminds me of our defense,” Smith said meeting media Tuesday evening after practice.   “They run to the ball. They hit, they’ve got a lot of size up front.”

While not up to Georgia’s defensive  stats, including the Bulldogs’ 10-3 victory over Clemson, Arkansas’ Barry Odom coordinated defense played well enough in 40-21 and 20-10 triumphs over then No. 15 Texas and last week in the SEC over then No. 7 Texas A&M to earn Georgia’s respect.

“First off, Barry  does a very good job,” Georgia Coach Kirby Smart said.  “He’s innovative. He goes and looks and studies what other people are doing. He forces your hand to maybe play left-handed. You can’t do some of the things you want to do. He’s really good at it. Not only that, he has some really good players doing it. Make no mistake about it, this is not the Arkansas that we played last year.” 

Returning Razorbacks like safeties Jalen Catalon and Joe Foucha and linebackers Grant Morgan, Bumper Pool and Hayden Henry are play8hg even better than they did last year improving the defense of a Razorbacks gone 0-8, 0-8 in the SEC under the terminated Chad Morris regime in 2018 and 2019 to 3-7 in an entirely 2020  SEC schedule under Head Coach Sam Pittman in 2020.

Pittman’s Hogs stand 4-0 because not only have the returnees improved but the through the transfer portal starting three defensive linemen, Tre Williams and Markell Utsey via the University of Missouri, and John Ridgeway via Illinois State.

“He’s got three transfers,” Smart said. “They are extremely physical and they create an immense amount of problems for the people they play. They will not be taken lightly by this group because they are doing an incredible job of creating problems for offenses. Just look at what they’ve done with the two big games that everyone knows about (Texas and Texas A&M), but really they’ve done it in every game.”

Trelon Smith similarly praises the Georgia defense while outlining what Arkansas must do to score against it.

“We’ve got to execute on all cylinders,” Smith said.  “The O-line has got to be physical, real physical this week.  We’ve got to create a run game, we’ve got to get that going. We’ve got to get first downs. We know what Georgia’s defense looks like. We know what they bring to the table.”

Arkansas played then nationally No. 4 Georgia surprisingly tough into the third quarter of last year’s SEC opener before falling 37-10.

The Hogs’ offense has toughened considerably since then.

“”They are not the same Arkansas team we faced last year,” Georgia linebacker Nakobe Dean said.  “They are way more physical. This is the kind of game that we here at Georgia look for, a game that we can be physical. We pride ourselves on our toughness and physicality.

Originally a running back at Arizona State before transferring to Arkansas and redshirting under those 2019 transfer rules, and activated to be Arkansas’ leading rusher in 2020 and current leader in 2021 (59 carries for 298 yards), Trelon Smith has never played in a Top 10 matchup like No. 8 Arkansas (nationally ranked eighth for the first time since after the first game of 2012) meeting No. 2 Georgia at the Bulldogs fabled 92,000-plus Sanford Stadium Between the Hedges in Athens, Ga.

“I’m very excited,” Smith said. “I’ve never been to Georgia. From what I’m hearing, I know it’s going to be a heck of an environment. They’re undefeated and ranked No. 2, so the opportunity is definitely there for us to showcase what we can do and beat them.”

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