AUBURN, Ala. — Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson is the best player on a Razorbacks team that has gone south as quickly as any in the country.
Wilson earned nothing but the highest of praise from Auburn head coach Gene Chizik.
“He’s an impressive young man,” Chizik said. “What are the intangibles you look for at that position in a young man? That is the competitive nature of that guy. He’s got it.
“I feel like the way he carries himself, the way he talks, and then ultimately how he plays on the field — he’s very competitive. He’s one of those guys that, man, every week, you’re going to get a battle from him. Doesn’t matter what the circumstances are, doesn’t matter what’s going on around him, I know his teammates know he’s ready to go fight another day.”
Despite Arkansas’ 1-4 start — including a 52-0 loss to Alabama that Wilson sat out with injury — Wilson leads the SEC with 338.8 yards per game, despite completing just 54.5 percent of his passes. He set a school record with 59 attempts in last week’s 58-10 trampling at Texas A&M, the Razorbacks’ fourth straight defeat.
“Everything that he was built up to be in the preseason, he still is,” Chizik said. “And I know things haven’t gone the way they envisioned them going, but that hasn’t changed him in his qualities as a quarterback.”
For the first month of the season, Tigers quarterback Kiehl Frazier’s backup was listed as Clint Moseley.
In Tuesday’s game notes, the backup was Moseley … OR Jonathan Wallace, a freshman from Central-Phenix City.
Wallace played six snaps against LSU, and coaches have indicated his role could increase as the season progresses.
It still irks Auburn wide receiver Sammie Coates: not making that catch on a designed deep ball on the Tigers’ first possession against LSU two weekends ago.
Coates had a step on LSU cornerback Tharold Simon but didn’t haul in a well-placed ball from Frazier, which likely would have turned into the game’s first touchdown.
“I should have caught that ball. That’s a big play and could have been a big turnaround in the game,” Coates said. “It hurt me pretty bad. I tried not to think about it during the game in case I go back in and they come back to me. I didn’t want to let that stop me from making another catch.
“I look at that catch like I probably could have won the game with that catch. It still sort of bugs me.”
Coates said he took his eye off the ball when Simon made contact, and when he refocused, the football was already through his hands.
“It was not concentrating on the ball and worrying about him grabbing me instead of doing my job,” Coates said. “That’s what made me mad. I know I can do it, and I let my team down and let me down.”
Speaking for the entire wide receiving corps, Coates said, “We need to make bigger plays. We’re one or two plays away from being 4-0. It’s true. Wide receivers haven’t been making really big plays lately, and I think we need to step that up.”
Calling all fans
Opening his comments at Tuesday’s news conference, Chizik urged the Jordan-Hare Stadium faithful to re-create the same atmosphere for this Saturday’s game against Arkansas as was present Sept. 22 against LSU, even though the latter was a night game and the Razorbacks kick off against Auburn at 11 a.m. local time.
“All our fans who were so outstanding at our last ballgame here two weeks ago,” Chizik said, “I want to encourage all of them to continue where they left off in making this just an incredible environment for our young guys to play ball in and just an incredible experience for anyone who came to the game.”