Woe, woe, woe, woa. Hold on!! T-T-TIME OUT!! TIME, TIME, TIME!!! SOMEBODY STOP THE D*** CLOCK!!
Wait, where did THIS offense come from? I ask totally in the same way I’d ask, “You’re pregnant? How’d that happen?” Of course, we suppose that Dan Enos is the daddy, but how in the name of Mendel did this offensive baby get THESE genes?
The clear problem with Bret Bielema and Jim Chaney was that their two offensive schemes didn’t mesh together well. Chaney’s system was not designed to be run in the mix that seemed more like what Bret Bielema wanted to add to not having the players to stretch the field. That child matured and had its moments before leaving home.
Maybe we all presumed incorrectly that when Arkansas hired a new offensive coordinator that the plays would rumble behind Arkansas’ big offensive line and would continue to be a more run-oriented offense to pound the ball and control the clock. We presumed that the passing game was to complement that basic philosophy. The goals were to be effective, efficient and have potential for long plays.
Toledo coach Matt Campbell sounded somewhat confused or mislead when he described Arkansas’s offense as one that spread the field and that the Rockets would have to defend from east to west. That was certainly how the Hogs played against UTEP, but no one, except maybe him, thought that Arkansas scheme had actually changed to that style football. Who wouldn’t have heard Campbell and think, “I hate Auburn” as Bret Bielema recently declared. If there’s any constant Arkansas fans have seen for several years, moving the ball north and south is it. That’s defined Arkansas’ offenses.
However, this poor red-headed baby is bipolar and addled with ADHD. On Saturday it forgot what it was doing, ran all over the field – five times, hurt itself and didn’t get anything done. Against UTEP is was clicking in the zone.
Field vision, a sense of play development and/or an ability to hit the hole plagued the Hogs. Usually people think of fumbles as results of a lack of full contact practice, but the ability to see where the people (and the plays) are going is a skill that changes with personnel and has to be honed.
Look at the tackles in the first picture. They’re in three point stances. Kody Walker is in the backfield, and the Hogs have a tight end on the left.
Being in the end zone behind the play, the people around me saw the same as I did. The wide hole on the right opened quickly and was very visible from 45 yards away. Walker took the ball at the <. We were wishing for a cut and acceleration, but the play dies as he runs into a two-man pile in front of him. Very fairly, most wouldn’t expect Kody Walker to make the play we saw.
The same series has another play out of the I formation where both tackles are standing although the reason why the left TE is in a three point stance while the tackle to the inside of him isn’t eludes me. Far from a comprehensive search, I looked through games and highlights over the last two years for about 2 hours. When the tackles were standing, in the past Arkansas’ rarely ran and a smaller number of those plays were up the middle. However, Toledo wasn’t sold and has 8 men in the box with a safety cheating in as though he is going to be number 9.
By the next picture, the receivers’ delays appear to be on purpose as Hatcher appears to be headed in to seal the lane. But what happens? Collins takes two steps to the right into the lane, sees pursuit from the linebackers clumped in the middle of the field and cuts back to the left where he’s stuffed.
But look at something else. As you know, the dark line is the line of scrimmage. How many Razorback linemen are at or beyond the line of scrimmage as these plays develop? Maybe it’s not a fair assessment as the top play was a draw so there’s some selling of a pass play. But on the second play the line hasn’t moved a single Toledo player in a positive direction. Of course tackles kicking ends out wide usually takes the ends effectively out of the play, but that’s not a given.
I don’t know how the coaches perceive it, but defensive penetration in either play looks too much.
Based on more than these five pictures, although they’re nice examples, either the Toledo line was as strong and physical as the best of the SEC (in person they appeared to match up well physically with the offensive line) or the new-found emphasis on the pass has the offensive line standing up or moving backward to pass protect or to give the impression of a pass.
Petrino had trouble with exactly the same thing in his 2008 transition year even as the 2007 Rimington Award winner in Jonathan Luigs anchored the line. Some of the line had blocked for McFadden and Jones and there was nothing pass oriented about that offense or blocking scheme. The potential running problems were evident and then when the Hogs faced Texas, Arkansas ran for 42 yards with an official number of 11. At that point, the blocking schemes were blended with the old, and Michael Smith ran for more than 100+ yards the next four games including 176 and 192 yards against Auburn and Kentucky.
Fortunately, a magic elixir exists here — return to a north-south game with passing being secondary and backs need to attack the holes that are open.