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Arkansas aims to become SEC’s top defense
“We can be great, the top defense in the nation,” Jones said. “As long as we work hard, there’s no doubt we can be the best defense there is. Now that the opportunity is here, we’ve got to make the best out of it again and let the world know what we’re about.”
Senior safety Tramain Thomas and fellow senior middle linebacker Jerry Franklin are among the returning starters, and both have seen action since their freshmen seasons Petrino’s first.
Thomas was selected second-team All-SEC last season and had a career-high 83 tackles.
“The limit for us is through the roof,” Thomas said. “I could have said that last season, but it wouldn’t have been an honest response. We have the pieces, the guys, the coaches to do it now … Through the roof.”
Arkansas was second in the SEC in total offense last season, averaging 482.5 yards, but the two biggest contributors are gone.
Quarterback Ryan Mallett is with the New England Patriots and junior running back Knile Davis is expected to miss the season following an ankle injury and surgery last week.
Their absences could put additional pressure on the Razorbacks’ defense as the team breaks in either junior Tyler Wilson or sophomore Brandon Mitchell at quarterback.
Franklin, who has led Arkansas in tackles in each of his three seasons and had 100 stops last season, believes the defense is ready for the challenge.
“We all believe we can be a dominant defense,” Franklin said. “We believe we can go out and win a game, even when the offense isn’t having a great game.”
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