Last night’s game in War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock was over before halftime, as it should have been. Although Arkansas played “cupcakes” in its first two games and outscored over-matched opponents 103-10, the Hogs have shown improvement.
Many pre-season and early season questions have arisen. How Tyler Wilson would handle taking the reigns of this high-powered offense? Will the defense be improved? If so, how much will they improve? All have been valid questions.
Tyler Wilson has shown the ability to run this offense as well as make plays with his legs, although he has not yet mastered the slide technique. Feeling pressure, he made some bad decisions in the first half last night and threw balls that he shouldn’t have thrown. But his delay in mastering the slide technique is not necessarily a bad thing as he has hurt opponents on the ground. .
Brandon Mitchell impresses with his efficiency and runs the ball effectively.
On the defensive side, the Hogs have shown maturity by not allowing big plays to inferior opponents. That in itself should be something Hog fans cheer for. In years past, Arkansas would give up huge plays, have to fight tooth and nail against opponents they should bury easily.
That was then; this is now.
Coach Bobby Petrino has transformed this Arkansas program. He has done what Houston Nutt could NEVER do. And that is make the Arkansas Razorbacks a contender in the SEC.
One huge part of Arkansas’ high octane attack is Joe Adams. Not only can he return punts and make amazing catches. He can change opposing coaches game plans.
New Mexico Head Coach Mike Lockesley was not going to kick the ball to Adams.
No matter what.
Unfortunately, Lockesley learned that the Arkansas Razorbacks aren’t short on talent. (Cue Maquel Wade)
With Knile Davis going down before the season, many people decided then and there, the Hogs couldn’t get it done. Those people must have forgotten who was coaching on The Hill, how much talent the Hogs have on offense.
If I were to say the loss of Davis is insignificant, I would be ignorant. Knile Davis is a stud, no doubt. However, as good as he is, Arkansas has multiple game changing athletes that can score from anywhere on the field.
The defense has playmakers too. So many in fact that Defensive Coordinator Willy Robinson has started using a five man defensive front so he can get them all on the field.
For the people calling for Willy Robinson’s job, shame on you. The first few years were hard to watch. Knowing what would happen in certain situations. That was before he had “his guys” on the field.
With his hand picked athletes in place, with experience under their belts, the defense allowed 163 yards in the opener, and 297 against New Mexico.
While those aren’t startling numbers, it is an improvement.
One touchy subject around the Natural State has been the running game. The Hogs only managed 108 yards on the ground against Missouri State, but amassed 259 last night.
One thing I’ve noticed, is what I like to call, Arkansas’ “Damage Package”. When you have Kiero Small (5-10 255 lbs) and Kody Walker (6-2 240 lbs) in the game, inside the five yard line, put six on the board.
Regardless of any “analysis” at this point in the season, the Hogs have yet to be legitimately tested. With Troy coming to Fayetteville next Saturday, Hog fans will have to wait until September 24th to see just how good this Arkansas Razorbacks team is.
But in my opinion, this team will stack up against any competition it faces, how the Hogs handle that competition will determine how many wins the Hogs have come December.