Some things just don’t look like the pictures. Fast food, most people on dating sites, and Halloween costumes from Amazon come to mind. Add the Arkansas football offense led by Kendal Briles to that list, too.
Especially when you consider the information in this tweet. No team in the country has a more enormous discrepancy between their yards gained and their points per game this season than Arkansas football.
So what exactly is happening? A “bend but don’t break” defense is a cliche expression in football, but Arkansas football has the opposite of that right now. They move the ball down the field and then stall out.
Arkansas football is moving the ball on offense, but they aren’t putting points on the board. Unfortunately, that’s not a recipe for winning games.
A few stats stand out in getting more granular with why this is happening. First, Arkansas football is 116th in red zone offense through six games. On 26 red zone attempts this year, the Razorbacks have just 15 touchdowns and four field goals for 19 total scores.
To add a bit of insult to injury: no SEC team ranks lower in red zone offense than Arkansas football does this season. Even the 2-4 (0-3) Missouri Tigers score at a more efficient clip from inside the 20-yard line.
When you couple that with the fact that Arkansas football is also 83rd in Turnover Margin, it becomes easy to see why Briles’ offense looks like a cheap Halloween costume. Great on paper but itchy when you get it home and put it on.
Still, there may be a canyon between the yards they amass and the points on the board, but the solution to the problem–the proverbial silver lining–is not that outlandish an idea. It’s pretty simple.
First, Briles has to call better plays when he schemes the offense into the red zone. Second, the players must protect the ball.
The answer is simple for Arkansas football. It is the execution that continues to prove difficult.