The Razorbacks are defending SEC West champs. They return 9 starters on offense and 8 on defense from a team that went 9-5 last year. But, no one is talking them up. Why? Well, perhaps it was the drumming Georgia gave them in the SEC championship game. Perhaps it was the ass-whipping Minnesota gave them in the Music City Bowl. Not good enough reasons?
It is simple. This club is just plain ugly to watch on the offensive side of the ball. They are one dimensional. Whether it is the personell, the play calling, or the coaching, the Hawgs simply cannot or will not throw the football. In this league, one dimensional offenses are OFFENSIVE. Nutt keeps promising to upgrade the passing game. I wonder if he will ever get serious about it.
Sophomore De'Arrius Howard takes over for leading rusher Fred Talley (1119 yds). Quarterback Matt Jones (1592 psg yds), and receiver George Wilson (626 yds receiving) return. Matt Jones saw some playing time at WR in the spring (this may give you a hint as to how clueless Nutt is concerning his QB situation). On the defensive side, Caleb Miller (back to back 100 tackle seasons) anchors a quality unit.
The loss of Ken Hamlin (free safety) leaves a big hole on the defensive side of the ball. This secondary gives up big plays as often as Dan Rather needs a prostate massage. Senior CB Lawrence Richardson will lead the Hogs in the defensive secondary.
Razorback fans will tell you that all of their players run sub 4.3 forties. If that is the case, why is there no big play receiver in this lineup? That may explain Jones getting a look at WR.
If Jones or Ryan Sorahan can give the Hogs a throwing option, this club will challenge.
Hated rival Texass is on the out of conference schedule this year. It is refreshing to see an Arkansas team finally upgrade its' OOC schedule. The SEC schedule is favorable, with home contests against Florida and Auburn, and visits to Baton Rouge and Bama.
A return visit to Atlanta is not out of the question, but many questions (particularly on the offensive side of the ball) must be answered.
Predictions: 8-4 overall. 4-4 SEC. The Hawgs will participate in a mid-level bowl.