FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Arkansas senior middle linebacker Brooks Ellis will be making the third start of his career against Alabama this Saturday.
In the previous two meetings, Ellis has been one of the best players on the field with 8 tackles as a sophomore and 15 last season. However, neither of those performances came in a win with Arkansas failing to hold a second-half lead on both occasions.
With those past experiences, Ellis knows better than anyone what it will take for the No. 16 Hogs to finally knock off No. 1 Alabama. Here’s some of what he had to say while speaking to the media about the Crimson Tide:
Q: (Mississippi coach) Hugh Freeze said the first key to beating Alabama is for players to believe they can do it, do you guys believe?
A: “Yeah. That’s half the battle, just believing you can do it. If you can do that, you can do a lot of things. I think we know we can do it. We just have to go out there and do it. Actually put it on film. Do what we’re supposed to do and make plays and not beat ourselves. That’s the huge part of it. But I think we know we can beat them.”
Q: What do you remember from last year’s game against Alabama?
A: “The defense played really well. The whole team was doing really good things. That just gives us confidence for this year. If we can do that for four quarters now, it could be a different ballgame. We’ve just got to do it for four quarters.”
Q: What do you think about Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts?
A: “He’s a really good player. He makes plays all over the field. He can run the ball really well. So we’ve been practicing that all week and getting ready for it.”
Q: How does Hurts compare to guy like (Texas A&M quarterback) Trevor Knight?
“He’s really fast. He just runs their offense really well and does some really good things. He makes plays and makes people miss. That’s just something we’ve got to be prepared for and know how to stop going into the game.”
Q: With the way (TCU quarterback) Kenny Hill, Knight and even (Alcorn State quarterback) Noah Johnson had some big runs, how concerning is Hurts’ running ability?
A: “We know it’s something we’ve got to stop and we’re working really hard this week to put an end to it. We know they’re going to do the same stuff that everybody else has done, so we’re getting ready for it and we’re going to do our best to stop it.”
Q: What do you guys expect as far as atmosphere in this game?
“We expect it to be loud and packed and everybody screaming and just being crazy. It should be a really fun atmosphere to play in.”
Q: What’s your take on (Alabama tight end) O.J. Howard?
A: “He’s a great player. I think (Arkansas tight end) Jeremy (Sprinkle) gave us a good look through fall camp. Him and O.J. are really similar guys. But he’s a really good player and we’ve got to be ready to guard him.”
Q: (Defensive backs coach Paul) Rhoads said Howard runs like a WR, is that what makes him really tough?
A: “He’s pretty much a receiver. He runs like one. He does a lot of good things. He lines up as a tight end as well. He just brings a lot of different aspects to the game plan, so we’ve got to be ready for that.”
Q: How do (Alabama’s) young running backs look?
A: “They always have a good stable of backs. No matter who goes in there, he’s going to be a good running back. … (Damien Harris) I think is their main one and he’s doing really good things. (Joshua Jacobs) and (Bo Scarbrough) are good.”
Q: Is there any different preparation without a Derrick Henry to go against?
A: “No. We prepare like it’s Derrick Henry going against us every time. Alabama always has a great running back crew.”