Posted: 7/30/2014 11:15 AM
Posted: 7/30/2014 11:47 AM
hawg66 wrote: Last year was miserable for Hog fans. Their first winless season in SEC play since joining in 1992. Two years removed from a top 5 finish nationally, the Hogs fell hard. A miserable October that saw them lose three games to Florida, Bama and A&M by a combined score of 134-17. Ouch. Crapped away chances for wins @ Rutgers, @ LSU and vs MSU. The QB play was bad, and the defense was weak, especially in the back seven.Now, Arkansas faces one of the toughest schedules in the nation, playing in the toughest division in CFB. They draw Georgia and defending champ Mizzou from the East. Open the season @ AU. An early test on the road at Texas Tech. So, are there any indications that 2014 will be better than 2013? Well, me being the Pork Dork, you know I'll find a few.Offensively, Arkansas was extremely young last year. Two true freshman started on the offensive line. They started a true freshman TE, their leading rusher was a true freshman. Jonathan Williams, Brandon Allen and Keon Hatcher were first year starters as soph's. The learning curve was steep. Most people would assume it starts with the running game for Arkansas. Those who followed the team last year (which means Hog fans, no one else cared) know it begins at QB. Brandon Allen was, simply, bad. Much of his problems were due to a new system, inexperience, and a shoulder injury to his throwing arm that limited him to no practice time and game only duty for half the season. The question now becomes, how much was the injury and inexperience responsible for his lackluster play, and how much will a season as starter and a healthy arm help? If Arkansas can get solid QB play from Allen, they can have some success. The potential in the run game means he doesn't have to throw for 300 yards a game. He does have to protect the ball, and make plays when needed. Bielema is talking Allen up in the off-season, but that's his job. Hog fans want to believe, but we'll need to see it on the field before we buy in. Behind Allen is a vacuum right now. If he can't perform, or if he gets injured again. the hopes for this year take a major hit.Bielema's reputation at Wisconsin was for big physical O-lines and quality RB's. He has the groundwork laid for both at Arkansas. Williams and Alex Collins are SEC quality. They combined for over 1900 yards a year ago, when everyone in the stadium knew what was coming. A threat of the pass can do wonders for the ground game, if it happens. The O-line is young but talented. Sam Pittman is one of the best O-line coaches in the country, and he's brought in some talent. This is a unit that will be good this year, and possibly great down the road. The wide receivers were a weak link last year. No one could consistently get open, and there were way too many drops. Hatcher looked like the only one who would have seen the field under Petrino. To their credit, the staff went out and recruited for need. Newcomers will get their chances early. Someone will need to step up. Hunter Henry at TE is very good, and there's some depth there. Demetrius Wilson, a Senior coming off injury, needs to contribute.Defensively, Bielema reshaped the staff after last year's showing. Robb Smith was brought in as DC. He mentored under Greg Schiano at Rutgers and brings in a much more aggressive scheme than departed Chris Ash. There are new coaches in the secondary and at D-line, also. Randy Shannon is the only holdover, still with the LB's.The D-line is the most solid group. Trey Flowers is an All-SEC caliber player at DE. Darius Philon and DeMarcus Hodge are experienced and talented. Deatrich Wise is a tremendous athlete at the other DE. He showed flashes of brilliance in the Spring, he could be a surprise player this year. Depth is shaky, some young'uns will need to be ready to go.The LB's are still a work in progress. It's another position of need that the staff recruited to. The veterans will be pushed by a group of new guys with much more athleticism. Smith is preaching simple reads and speed, speed ,speed. Much of the defensive hopes for 2014 rest with this group.The secondary will also be more aggressive, if Smith and Bielema are to be believed. They've never played to their talent level, they need to step up. Strangely, I feel confident they will. Overall, Arkansas was -9 in TO's a year ago, forcing only 14 on the season. They'll need to improve that stat if the Hogs are to have any chance of a bowl game.This year could well be another struggle. But Bielema has a plan, and a contract that gives him time. The odds of Arkansas ever out-recruiting Florida, A&M, Georgia, AU, LSU and Bama are slim to none. What Arkansas has to do is recruit to their system, develop the players, and field a veteran team most years. Fourth year juniors and 5th year Seniors with a sprinkling of young stars. I equate it to the mid-major model in College Basketball. If you can't get the one-and-dones, get guys who will buy in for the long haul, and rely on older guys to be stronger and wiser than the other guy's young pups. Will it work? Like I said, Bielema has the contract that allows us all to find out. The talent at Arkansas has some holes, no doubt. But i think the fiasco of 2013 has clouded the view of many. Sadly, even many Hog fans. I think the Hogs will be much more competitive in 2014, with a big surprise win somewhere along the way. If that surprise comes early enough, it could spur them to a surprising season. I'll go with 6-6 for the season, after all, it's still August.GO HOGS!!!!
Posted: 7/30/2014 12:33 PM
Posted: 7/30/2014 2:07 PM
hawg66 wrote: yeah, they'll beat the Aggies, not sure who else.
Posted: 7/30/2014 2:13 PM
ALA2262 wrote: hawg66 wrote: yeah, they'll beat the Aggies, not sure who else. LSU, UGA, and MO?
Last edited 7/30/2014 2:13 PM by hawg66
Posted: 7/30/2014 3:23 PM
Posted: 7/30/2014 4:09 PM
Posted: 7/30/2014 4:55 PM
I hate all over generalizations.
Posted: 7/31/2014 4:16 PM
Posted: 7/31/2014 7:14 PM
Posted: 8/1/2014 4:57 AM
Posted: 8/1/2014 7:40 AM
99blackcobra wrote: Didn't some of the defensive stay leave Arkansas for other jobs? Or did Bielema fire them?It is a good analysis.The chance of Arkansas not winning more games then last year is very very slim. I agree with Hawg about Arkansas opening the season with Auburn as a good thing. The Hawgs will have more time to prep for the hurry up offense then if they played Auburn later in the season.Plus they play a cupcake after Auburn.
Posted: 8/1/2014 7:41 AM
Just1Hog wrote: Nice work 66, you give me hope that the Hawgs will at least play competitively this year, but what a schedule....
Posted: 8/1/2014 7:52 AM
Posted: 8/1/2014 9:00 AM
TallyDAWG wrote: 2nd year as a HC in the SEC is where you can typically see what you have and contains the most "improvement" for a team. Jones and Bielema are on the clock.
Posted: 8/1/2014 11:40 PM
He fixes the cable?
Posted: 8/2/2014 11:11 AM
Last edited 8/2/2014 11:19 AM by bamajoe
Posted: 8/3/2014 7:46 AM
bamajoe wrote: I said earlier that Arkansas may have a chance if Auburn were to suspend Marshall because of the marijuana incident. I saw that Marshall will not start the game but whether he has been suspended for one play, one quarter or what Malzahn refuses to disclose. Go figure.I also read where Auburn lost Alex Kozan who started 14 games last season at guard is done for the season with a back problem. They already lost Carl Lawson.
Posted: 8/5/2014 1:25 PM
Texas95 wrote: Arkansas is a good example of what's wrong with the SEC.A team that has the brand, the tradition, and the fans to be a legitimate contender, can't be.