Comments on the season

…from a fan…maybe informed…certainly seasoned…who see’s no practices…but instead relies on practice reports on this board and elsewhere.

I have two main concerns. They are:

  1. Corner depth. This now worries me. And I’m sure it does the coaches. We are about to face lots of 3-4 wide teams. Having 4 quality corners is enough only if there are no more injuries. This concern goes along with…
  2. Safety play. The proof is gonna be in the pudding when it comes to safety play. Everyone talks about how good Liddell is on the verge of being. Well, time to see that #28. Ramirez has not proven to be consistent yet. He does look the part, and seems to have speed. I know they now have great coaching. I am hopeful this proves to be the most improved area on the team. It needs to be.

In other words…I’m still concerned about the secondary, and will be until I see improved play on the field. I am buying into Clay’s assessment of Rhoads and trying to be optimistic.

Other than that, I am as confident about our roster as I have been in a long, long time. The front 6-7 on defense may be as good as we have had since the Hatfield days. Yes, I just said that. I am reaching that far back. Certainly, we have not had this much quality on the d-line since Wayne and Billy Ray were running around. IMO. I personally think we are gonna be very good at LBer. Brooks is very underrated around the league, and Dre is about to be an all-star. You watch.

On offense, when Bobby crashed his bike and skulked away, did any of us foresee having a WR core like this anytime soon? I sure didn’t. Yet, here it is. Regarding the offensive line, I know many worry about the right side. Not me. Phil Steele spoke for me when he asked “is Bret Bielema still the coach…?”…“Arkansas is gonna have a good offensive line.” I know we will be fine there. More than fine.

At RB, I do wish Hammonds hadn’t gone down. But we are stacked there…and I think we always will be under CBB. Whaley is the kid I felt like would be a difference maker from the moment I saw his film. I’m thankful UGA fired Richt allowing us to get him (and Richt more than landed on his feet…and he should. He’s a good man). Whaley is going to be a great back… Not good. Great.

TE will be a step down from last year. But far more than adequate. We will still be able to run multiple TE sets and hurt people that way. Much like the o-line and RB, this is another area I think CBB will always maintain at a high level. Every year.

Finally, there is QB. Austin has proven nothing. No doubt about that. But for some reason, I am just not concerned about him. He’s now a junior. He was able to watch and learn…the way you want your QB’s to be able to. The story of BA would have been alot different had he been able to do the same. Austin has a great QB coach, and weapons galore. I think he will be somewhere between just fine…to very good.

Bottom line…I expect us to challenge for the SEC West this year. THIS year. Not next. Now. Not saying we will win it. But we will be in the middle of that fight. The Bama game, the LSU game, etc…all will mean a ton. We will not be just hoping for a bowl mid-season. I feel confident about that.

I do admit I am always optimistic about the Hogs. To a fault. But I am especially so this year. The roster and system Bret has planted has been harvested. The produce is ripe. Its time, I believe.

That was long. But fun. Thanks for reading if you made it this far.

Go Hogs.

Good post. I would be interested in seeing what everyone else’s primary concerns are.
For me, it is the OL and RB.

I would say secondary and the right side of the offensive line.

I respect both of your opinions! But, I maintain, we will be good to very good at O-line, TE and RB as long as that big ole Iowa Hawkeye noseguard is the “head ball coach.” I think the o-line right side will work itself out. I think Jimmy is probably right…they know they have Zach and Jake ready to play on that side and are seeing if Merrick can beat one of them out.

Hope I’m right…

Kicking game worries me. Until Hedlund becomes reliable under 40 yards, I am concerned about FGs. Additionally, it boggles the mind that an SEC school can’t find a kickoff man to put the ball in the end zone 8 or 9 times out of 10.

Otherwise we’ve got some warts, but so does every one else.

I think the secondary will be better, though I am not optimistic enough to think they will better than a middling SEC secondary. The back up QB situation does not bother me much. BB has shown since he got here that unless the game is a real route, an uninjured starter get treated like an NFL starter- if we’ve got the ball he plays. The talent level at QB is really good now, I just think it takes a while for a young QB to learn the system, so I am not worried that the younger guys are progressing slowly. I hope Kelley redshirts and either Storey or Peavey take the back up job.

I guess the thing that is most encouraging is that the overall talent level of the team keeps rising, which creates real competition for playing time, which increases quality depth, which gives you a better chance on Saturday.

Also excited about Bret’s 4th year as he builds this team the right way

While secondary has been a huge concern and still is he goes out and gets a great coach to address it

We can not continue to let teams amass huge amounts of yards throwing the ball and expect to compete for a title

It’s still my number one concern to hold teams to 20s not 40-50 points a game as our offense will take time to produce

We get tested early on and every opposing coach looking at film knows our weaknesses in the secondary it’s got to improve!!

My two main personal concerns at the opening of preseason practice were; (1) defensive secondary and (2) reliable 40 + yards distance place kicking proficiency.

My swiftly growing primary concern now is depth at key positions due to injury depletion.

For me it is the kicking game and injuries. I agree with the Maestro that as long as we have CBB our O line and RB’s will play on a level that we can compete with anyone. The caveat is and always be injuries

The secondary is my biggest worry. With that said, I do think it’ll be much improved.

Man I want to believe we are ready to be at top of SEC but not sure we are there yet.

Are the top SEC and national teams running DB and OL by committee like we are at the end of fall prep hoping for enough options?

Or have no running backs on campus who have played a down since injuries last year or haven’t taken a snap yet in a D1 game? (Yes I think Walley can be great, but if he gets hurt, we are down to Williams coming off season ending neck injury, and Walker who seems always hurt and I believe isn’t practicing at moment? Love duwop but saying he is a true sec back seems a stretch),

I love BB, and think he is building a monster.

But it seems we are lacking some critical pieces still to win SEC.

I love the talent BB is amassing in year 4, but I’m afraid we will need more talent development in a few areas to be at the top of SEC.

As mentioned before if DBs as so thin they get burned again like last year, I fear we slip a touch this year.

Although with continued good recruiting, we are very strong next year.

Of course our competition lights it up with recruiting as well.

Man I hope to win 10 or more but feels more like 6 to me - and so hope I’m wrong.

I think SilverFox gets straight to the point. Injury can and does play havoc with depth but I’m not sure we have quality depth in all the positions it’s needed even before injuries. Just having numbers doesn’t necessarily provide depth in the SEC, as we all know.

For us, injury at starting QB, top two RBs, or the OL might put us in a position of a certain losing season.

Defensively, we can’t have anymore serious injuries to DBs or to key DL. If we lose any key DEs or Ledbetter, we will be back where we were last year trying to defend the pass.

I just don’t think we have the SEC quality depth that some believe we do.

Good thread. My main concerns are the secondary and special teams. If we have as good a pass rush as advertised, the secondary will be better able to make plays. As some have said, the o-line is not one of my worries. No more injuries and we could be something! Woo Pig…

My main concerns are…

  1. Right side of the OL — They appear to have a group they’re finally comfortable with, but I’m not sold on Colton Jackson. He has made progress since the start of camp and is better on the right side, but still struggles against good competition. I think that’ll be an area to track all year.

  2. Secondary — How much better is it? I think we’ll see if Liddell and Ramirez have SEC talent this year, now that they have experience and are playing with a defensive line that should pressure the QB. I’m also a little curious to see how the CBs play. Austin Allen completed a pretty high percentage against them in both scrimmages, but that was with little to no pass rush and Allen not being live. The DBs were generally in decent position, no huge busts, but beaten by on-target throws.

  3. Depth at LB — Brooks Ellis and Dre Greenlaw have to stay healthy. I think Scoota Harris has a really high ceiling and is progressing quickly, but there’s a big drop-off after those first two with not many great options.

  4. Kicking — Hedlund has to prove it in games.

I like Allen at QB, think Whaley and Williams are going to have big years with each pushing/cracking 1,000 yards, WR is obviously a strength and the DL has a chance to be really good with a lot of able bodies.