Expectations

The Hogs are summarily being dismissed as a factor next season primarily because of what occurred in the second halves of the Missouri and Va Tech games. Extraordinary and bizarre circumstances happened in both of those games to allow Mo and Va Tech to come back and win. I seriously doubt that the Hogs will blow leads of over twenty points and be shut out in consecutive games again. Also, AA made late game mistakes which he hadn’t made all year. I expect him to be improved and more mature this year. Arkansas twelfth out of fourteen teams in the SEC? I don’t think so.

I hope you’re right but until they prove otherwise…

Right now it seems they are arranging deck chairs. I am not buying anything until I see real blocking and tackling. We saw very little of that last year. I hope it happens, but on this one, I am going to be from MO. Everybody is saying the right things. Great. Now show me against real SEC teams.

The gap between the third and seventh in the West typically isn’t very big. I could see Arkansas being the fourth or fifth best team in the league because of the perceived power of the offense, and I could see it being considered in the 10 to 12th range if the defense doesn’t take a step forward.

That’s the “positive spin” version of the story.

Another way to look at it is that even under “bizarre and extraordinary circumstances”, Alabama doesn’t blow a 20 point lead to anybody, much less Mizzou or Va Tech. In other words, we have personnel (and scheme?) issues that exposed us to the possibility of those types of melt downs, and it caught up with us.

  1. We aren’t Bama.
  2. They have blown big leads before under Saban (Cam Iron Bowl, Clemson games).

I agree that it’s the positive spin. I think the 2 losses were both bizarre circumstances but we should have easily won Mizzou, regardless.

Exactly - Arkansas is not Alabama. We are - were - the team that blew those leads. The poster I was responding to seems to want to make it appear as if those were both random flukes. I’d like to think he’s right about that, but I don’t - not completely, anyway. And his “argument” has done nothing to make me feel better about it. “I seriously doubt they’ll do it again” does nothing for me. WHY do you think it won’t? What information can you share that supports that position in an objective and compelling manner?

As for Bama losing leads to Auburn (2010) and Clemson, (1) neither were 24 point leads in the second half; and (2) both opponents involved won the National Championship in those respective years, and both were led by Heisman Trophy winners/candidates. Far cry from a 4 loss Virginia Tech team and an objectively BAD Mizzou squad.

I stand behind my prior conclusion - “we have personnel (and scheme?) issues that exposed us to the possibility of those types of melt downs, and it caught up with us.”

We were not a powerful running team last year. That sounds strange (even to me) when you consider we had the top rusher in the SEC, but I feel it was true. When we ran well, our offense was very powerful, but we were unable to maintain running effectiveness during those late game collapses as teams adjusted and we didn’t or couldn’t. We were unable to punch it into the end zone during those second half collapses. The more Austin pressed, the more mistakes were made. When our passing game was clicking, we passed for a lot of yards, but our offensive line could be beaten when rushing the passer, particularly in the second half. Once they got pressure on Allen, our receivers were good but not great athletes who could not get open or make the other team pay when the protection broke down. The more we held back to protect the qb the harder time he had finding open receivers.

Our offensive power was a fragile thing and could be knocked off balance late in games when we tired and their defense adjusted. Our defense last year was justifiably criticized but, if our offense had continued to play as well in the second half as they had in the first half, we would not have lost the Missouri and VaTech games.

So, I am hoping we will block better when passing and on short yardage running situations. That will then create opportunities for success in the passing game. If we can do that, we WILL be a very hard team to beat, if we can just get to slightly below average on defense. JMVVVVVVVVHO.

I have know idea where we will end up, but we have the talent to be better than they are predicting but do we have the coaches to bring these guys to their full potential? Without drastic improvement on the defensive side of the ball and marginal improvement on the offensive side their will be a very hot seat for CBB come December. Hoping for the best! WPS

I thought Ala was up 24-0 on Auburn, am I wrong on that?

Yep, Alabama was up 24-0. I remember listening to the game on my way to Little Rock for the LSU game the next day and thinking I was glad I hadn’t hurried to get to the hotel to watch that.

I’m not ready to say what my expectations are of this team. Have not seen enough in two scrimmages to predict where the defense will be at next year. I do think the quarterback play will be good. Need to see more of the wide receivers. Offensive line is better. They don’t blow assignments like last year. I do not think the SEC West is as good top to bottom. I see problems at Ole Miss and Texas A&M for sure. I don’t know what to expect from LSU other than it’s talented. Alabama is rebuilding the defense with some severe losses up front on that side of the ball. I’m sure there is plenty of talent left. But what you don’t know is who else is going to field a defense that’s really good in the SEC West. Auburn lost some studs, but is still good there. Arkansas, Ole Miss and Mississippi State are rebuilding on that side of the ball for sure. Who gets it together the fastest on defense will have a chance for a decent finish in the division.

I don’t think the Arkansas schedule is horrible. The key games are TCU, Texas A&M, TCU, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Missouri. That’s a lot of key games, I know. But I think Arkansas is capable of winning a lot of those games. Capable. That’s kind of like saying potential. Both of those words are far from sure things.

Meetings in VA today with a lot of VA Tech fans.

I was sick to my stomach.

Will love our program until the day I die but, man the way we tank winnable games sometimes, man.

Got to get a big turn around on D.

Paul Rhodes and the 3-4 scheme will be the key. Hopefully putting more slightly smaller but quicker players on the outside will give the D more flexibility to blitz and also contain the edge.

Offense should take a step forward, other than WR there will be more experience across the board, especially on the Oline, But left tackle replacement will be the key there.

Still need more positive results & consistency on special teams. I hold my breath on any special team play, no matter what side of the ball we are on.

You guys need to re-read the part of my post you are responding to a little bit closer.

Auburn scored with a little over 5 minutes left in the first half to pull the score to 7-24. Then they received the 2nd half kickoff and took 2 plays (less than a minute) to make the score 14-24, with virtually the entire second half (29 minutes) left in the game. It was a fantastic comeback, but that’s a lot different from coming out of the halftime break down 24-0 and having had virtually no offensive success all game. And, again - those blown leads were to the National Champions of those respective years. Ours were to Virg. Tech and . . . Mizzou . . . (I’d use the throwing up emoji if we still had one).

I keep reading where some think there is talent to be better than the prediction. I am curious to where some who think that see the talent, especially on the defensive side?

All we need is for Greenlaw to stay healthy, Taylor to leap from the scout team to become a dominant SEC end, Agim to continue to develop into an elite defensive lineman, Capps to become solid in the middle, Ramsey to have a breakout season, Pulley to become the shut down corner that we sorely need, and our safeties to learn how to tackle opposing QB’s and not let them run for miles for TD’s. I forgot, Guidry, Marshall, Harris, and Tolliver need to have outstanding seasons as well. If all of that happens, our defense might reach somewhere just below or above average in the SEC West. Works for me. Go Hogs!

Hogmodo, you left off Kevin Richardson. He’s the nickel in the coverage packages and is the best blitzer on the team. He must stay healthy. He must have a good year. All of the other things you mentioned are important, boot, but KRich is a key, key player for Paul Rhoads in this defense.

Such is the “fool’s gold” of pre-season rationalizations. I’m not picking on you, Hogmodo . . . we all have been guilty of it.

You listed 8 things that needed to happen to give us a chance to be an average SEC defense. Let’s be optimistic and say that each thing you mentioned is very likely - 80% chance of happening. If that is the case, then we have about 1 chance in 6 of them all coming together. If just two of them were lowered to a 60% chance (instead of 80%), that drops to 1 chance in 11.

Fans tend to identify a relatively small number of things that need to get better, then (first) they talk themselves into believing that the chances of each individual situation getting “fixed” is greater than it probably is. Next, they’ll say “well, gosh, we only need 4-5 things ., . . and each of them is “likely” (by their optimistic reckoning) . . . so it’s probable that we can be improved!”, forgetting that we need ALL (or, at least, most) of them to happen or else the improvement won’t be enough.

This is why, each season, the median number of games won predicted by fans n the pre-season is typically 1 or 2 higher of what we actually win. I’m talking across our fans, as a whole. Obviously, some fans are more or less optimistic than others. But more tend to over-estimate our success than under-estimate it.

Hey Wiz. How far we have to go to reach mediocre WAS the point I intended to be making. Guess I need to 'splain it better next time. :sunglasses: