Upset Brewing? Arkansas Keys For Success Against Alabama
It’s senior day for Arkansas Saturday, as the Alabama Crimson Tide roll into Fayetteville to take on the Hogs at 11:00 AM central time on ESPN. With number one ranked Alabama already in the SEC championship next week against Florida, can the Razorbacks rise to the occasion and set up the trap for an Alabama loss? Here’s how the stars align for the Razorbacks to have success against the SEC juggernauts.
Sam Pittman and crew are ready to lineup against Nick Saban’s all-star cast tomorrow, in what on paper looks to be a not so nice game. Stop me if you’ve heard this before: unranked Arkansas against number one ranked Alabama. Yeah it is something that Razorback fans are all to familiar with hearing usually earlier in the season. But with a year of unusual circumstances, comes unusual situations, as this game is being played in mid December. Now this is not the past few seasons teams, where it looks like most the players have given up on the season. This team is still hungry, excited, determined and motivated to play and compete with the best of the best, even in the end of the season. In what seems to be a very unfavorable matchup to close out the season on senior day (Thanks for that Greg Sankey), It is college football, and nothing is impossible. Here are some keys and factors that can help the Razorbacks compete with Bama, and if everything goes right, have a chance to win against the number one team in the country.
Capitalize On EVERYTHING They Give You
Last week was a travesty with the missed opportunities for extra points and the management of special teams for the Razorbacks. To beat Alabama, you have to be a well oiled machine that does the right thing on every play and doesn’t give up opportunities. Scott Fountain throughout the week had to emphasize how much the missed opportunities last week mattered to the outcome to the game to Missouri. You need every point you can get against Alabama.
Saturday’s game will also not be the best conditions to play in. It will be cold and windy with a possibility for rain, and footballs tend to be given up in weather. Hogs have to capitalize off any mistake or turnovers that Bama may have during the game. It would not surprise me if we see Sam Pittman fired up on the sideline a few times during the game, just to motivate the players into playing like the better team.
The Razorbacks will have to play with a fire lit under them. This is classic “David versus Goliath”. The Hogs have to supply as many stones as they possibly can to try to take down the giant. The defense has to keep Mac Jones and the high powered offense at bay to have a shot. Barry Odom has to get some pressure on Mac Jones by disguising some blitzes under the normal zone that is ran. With Julius Coates status for the game up in the air, it will be a big task to ask of the D-line, but Odom will have them up for it.
On the offensive side, Pittman and Kendal Briles have to come up with a complete and total game plan that will keep the Bama defense on their toes. Arkansas is going to have to find a way to punch Alabama in the mouth and show them that they are ready to play a hard fought game, and that they should not be taken lightly. This is the best team that they will face, and Alabama always has eyes on them from fans across the country, so why not give the fans more than what they were expecting.
In all honesty, I don’t believe that the hogs will win this game, but the amount of passion and grit in this football team is what a fan loves to see from their team. Sam Pittman and this staff has every ability to get this team where it needs to be for Saturday, and possibly put them into position to win this game and prove myself and the world wrong about what they thought about Arkansas. Also reminder: Alabama is ranked number one for a reason, and Sam Pittman is in his first year, so don’t go calling this team a disgrace or an embarrassment if the game gets hard to watch. If Arkansas doesn’t pull out the win, remember: Good teams win, Great teams cover the spread.