FAYETTEVILLE--The pair of picks Tyler Wilson threw in a 30-27 loss to Ole Miss raised his season total to seven, one more than he suffered during the entire 2011 season. Hogs offensive coordinator Paul Petrino thinks he knows why Wilson's interceptions are on the rise in 2012.
"We're throwing the ball too much to be honest with you," Petrino told reporters following Tuesday's workout before the Tulsa game. "His passing yardage is way up, his touchdowns are up and his interceptions are up. Part of it is him trying too hard to make the big play and part of it is maybe me throwing it too much."
The Hogs could be running the ball more if Wilson checks down more to his running backs.
"He had some throws (against Ole Miss) where he should have done that and he knows that," Petrino added. "He's working on it this week."
Petrino admitted that the 161 yards rushing Dennis Johnson amassed against the Rebels was not only welcome news for the Razorback offense but it would have to be considered when looking for ways to provide some relief for the often battered Wilson.
He is also aware that Tulsa leads the nation in sacks.
"They do a good job of changing up their pressure," Petrino explained when asked about the Golden Hurricane's success at blitzing opposing quarterbacks this season. "A lot of times they've got people not checking. They disguise 'em (blitzes) pretty good."
Redshirt freshman tight end Alex Voelzke has no intention of "not checking." Getting extra playing time due to an injury to senior Chris Gragg who will again sit out this week, Voelzke picked up on an Ole Miss blitz last Saturday. As a result Voelzke found himself wide open in the endzone where Wilson promply served up a touchdown pass to him giving Arkansas a 17-14, 2nd quarter lead.
That touchdown didn't happen by accident.
"Alex and the other tight ends worked on that in practice," Petrino explained. "He's a young guy and he had to trust himself but he did exactly what he was supposed to do and it worked."
"Tyler picked up on what I was doing and he delivered a great throw," Voelzke added.
Tulsa enters the contest on a seven-game winning streak after dropping its season opener to Iowa State. Several of those games have been scoring contests but junior tight end Austin Tate says he has respect for Tulsa's defense after watching video of the Hogs upcoming opponent.
"They're physical," Tate offered. "They play hard. But we are stopping us this season. There isn't anybody we can't beat but we each have to game plan. If one guy misses one assignment the play breaks down."
"I'm still studying game video," senior receiver Cobi Hamilton said when asked about Tulsa's defense. "But we'll be ready. Whatever they do we'll adjust. Tyler is looking really sharp this week."
Hamilton also said he believes Wilson will to a better job of distributing the ball to his receivers against Tulsa. Hamilton had almost half of Arkansas team total in catches against Ole Miss. With over 900 yards receiving in eight games Hamilton is having a sensational season in a year of struggles for his team.
"It's tough," Hamilton admitted. "You come to the locker room after a game and you see everybody so down. There is no way you can be happy. It's a team game."
If Razorback fans see a little more of Dennis Johnson come Saturday and a little less of Hamilton the Texarkana, Texas senior just might get to celebrate his last a homecoming game as a Razorback.
"We're looking for a win," Hamilton said, flashing a smile. "Make the homecoming crowd happy. That's all we need this week."