Arkansas goes into their bye week fresh off a win against Ole Miss, putting their record at 2-2 (3-1 still in the hearts of all fans). With the shortened season hitting its midpoint, here are some things the Hogs can look at during this free week from play.
Arkansas is trending up as a program and becoming the SEC darlings in the eyes of fans across the country. Everyone loves a comeback story, and that is what Sam Pittman and the crew have done with the Hogs so far through this season. The Razorbacks are playing competitive football for the first time in years and are buying into the system of hard work ethic on the field and doing their jobs. With six more SEC games to play after this week, here are some of the things Sam Pittman and the team should look at during the bye week.
Building Upon the Foundation
The Razorbacks have been able to build a strong unit on the defense under Barry Odom, especially when it comes to keeping high powered offenses in front of them with zone defense. The front three on the line during this zone has been very impressive to watch, as even with only rushing three, the defense has been able at times to put pressure on quarterbacks. During the bye week, Barry Odom should look at schemes that help the defense during times where the opponent’s run game is strong. Arkansas has been giving up 177.2 rushing yards per game for the first part of the season, and that could be troubling as we see teams that have stronger running games than the previous opponents coming up.
With the likes of Alabama and the Hogs next opponent Texas A&M, these offenses have a pretty balanced attack with veteran quarterbacks and strong running backs with the likes of Najee Harris for Bama and Isaiah Spiller for the Aggies. The hope is that the Hogs can apply that “Run and Hit” motto effectively stopping the run game looking forward and add that to their stingy secondary.
Finding the Groove on Offense
Kendal Briles has done a great job game planning and setting this offense up for success in his first year at Arkansas, but the offense doesn’t seem as it has hit its stride quite yet. The team is managing 346 yards per game of total offense, with quarterback Felipe Franks throwing for almost a thousand yards through the first four games, but the worries come with running the ball. With two highly talented running backs in Rakeem Boyd and Trelon Smith, the Hogs have only managed to muster up one rushing touchdown the entire season, and that came during last weeks win against Ole Miss.
As good as Arkansas has been at converting scores in the red zone, establishing and finding that groove on offense somehow during the bye week will allow for a “pick your poison” style of going at opposing defenses and getting to the red zone and extending drives. This will ultimately help the team in all facets of the game when it comes to field position and allow that high motored defense to catch a breather on the sidelines.
The Razorbacks go on to play Texas A&M on October 31st in college station in what looks to be a very winnable game. Here’s to hoping we see some more continued success for the hogs after this bye week.