1. Break It Up: Arkansas’ defensive players had a problem getting their hands on the ball at Auburn, failing to break up a pass in the 45-21 loss.

1. Break It Up: Arkansas’ defensive players had a problem getting their hands on the ball at Auburn, failing to break up a pass in the 45-21 loss.


The Razorbacks made up for it at Texas Tech. Arkansas broke up 11 passes in the 49-28 win, showing plenty of improvement from its opening-day struggles.


"I thought our guys were really in-tune all week long," Arkansas defensive coordinator Robb Smith said. "I thought our coaches did a great job with the game plan and our players really picked up on that and had a good feel for what was taking place. And I thought they had a great aggressive nature and wanted to disrupt the football a little bit, and that was great to see."


Linebacker Brooks Ellis broke up four passes on his own in the win, although the sophomore also had two interceptions that hit him in the hands.


Tevin Mitchel (2), Rohan Gaines, D.J. Dean and Josh Liddell also broke up passes in the secondary Saturday. Defensive linemen Darius Philon and JaMichael Winston batted balls at the line of scrimmage.


The Razorbacks had two interceptions as well. Linebacker Martrell Spaight had a game-changing play in the second quarter, while cornerback Henre’ Toliver ended Texas Tech’s last offensive possession with an interception in the fourth quarter.


So Arkansas got a hand on 13 of quarterback Davis Webb’s 47 passes Saturday.


Arkansas defensive backs coach Clay Jennings said it was a good performance for a group that had trouble at Auburn. But Jennings believes the Razorbacks’ work in practice led to their success against the Red Raiders. It needs to be duplicated.


"Last week during practice I think those guys saw what they could do," Jennings said. "I think one day last week we had about 23 break ups and we had about 15 picks. That’s the one thing that we’re trying to pride ourselves on is contesting throws. But you guys know as well as I do, that was last week’s game."


2. Personnel notes: Arkansas coach Bret Bielema added some clarification to WR Jojo Robinson’s status, saying Wednesday the freshman is heading for a redshirt this season.


Robinson has not played the first three games because of injuries.


"We made the decision it’s probably in his best interest to have a redshirt year," Bielema said. "He’s been a little banged up. He is closer to being healthy. But really, if you get him in the game and have him play a minimum number of snaps and what we think he may be as far as a player down the road, we’re still in that process of evaluating it. … It’s one because of depth and not because of disappointment."


Bielema also said Randy Ramsey (ankle), De’Andre Coley (hamstring) and Davyon McKinney (heel), who didn’t play at Texas Tech, have been at practice this week. It’s not clear if Ramsey or McKinney will play against Northern Illinois, but Bielema said Coley should have a role with the Razorbacks.


"Coley lit up a guy in punt protection (Tuesday) that shows, I think, he’s back," Bielema said. "We’ve involved him in several phases of the kicking game, as well as on defense."


3. Feeling Great: Offensive lineman Sebastian Tretola earned his first start at Texas Tech, replacing senior Luke Charpentier in the lineup. Tretola said he plans to hold onto the job.


"I came in ready to work and looking for that spot, and that’s what you want on your team," Tretola said. "You want the guy behind your starter to try to go and get that spot. Obviously, I’ve got to do everything I can to keep it and hold that spot down."


Tretola has impressed the Razorbacks with his work since arriving on campus overweight this summer. He was 370 pounds, but has since trimmed down to 345.


Tretola said the weight loss has made a big difference in his performance.


"I feel great," Tretola said. "Being 370 was hard. I’d go a few reps in practice and be gassed. This definitely feels better. I might try to go down a little bit more, but I like how I’m playing at this weight. So I want to see how it plays out stamina wise. But I’m definitely proud of my loss."


4. Extra Points


• Jennings said the Razorbacks have not decided which two cornerbacks will start Saturday. Arkansas is considering Toliver, Carroll Washington and Jared Collins. Toliver earned his first start last week and grabbed his first interception. "He didn’t bat an eye," Jennings said. "The one thing that Henre’ has shown within the first three games, it doesn’t matter who the opponent is. He’s decided to show up. He doesn’t think the game is too big for him."


• NIU coach Rod Carey said Tuesday his team was preparing for crowd noise in Razorback Stadium this weekend. It also meant he was facing a week of headaches. "This isn’t really a whole lot new to us," Carey said. "We’re going to have the speakers cranked up to about level 25 and I’ll come off of the practice field with a roaring headache like I always do, other coaches will too. You have to practice it because it’s going to be loud so we’ll get the speakers cranked up and we’ll play a bunch of music that I don’t understand or know. But it will be loud. I know that."


• Arkansas received a verbal commitment from junior college prospect Jeremiah Ledbetter on Thursday, according to Hawgs Illustrated. Scout.com and Rivals.com rate the Hutchinson (Kan) Community College defensive end as a four-star prospect on a five-star scale. He’s the 13th prospect to make a verbal commitment for 2015.


— Robbie Neiswanger • Arkansas News Bureau