Things Have Changed

Florida recorded 36 first downs against us a few weeks ago. That appeared to be a record for an Arkansas opponent.

Yesterday, Missouri gained 37 first downs. We picked up 34 first downs, tying the third-most ever recorded by UofA.

As much as anything else, these inflated numbers are resulting from a lack of defense. Missouri and Arkansas averaged 7.2 and 5.8 yards, respectively, per rush attempt. Additionally, they completed 32 passes, far too many of which were in key third-and-long situations.


The opponents got a real good look at what we were able to do on defense and adjusted during the second half of the schedule. We’ve tried to do a few different things on defense to get our edge back, but nothing seems to have worked very well. IMO we just don’t have enough talent ready to play in the front seven. The LBs are not quite fast enough, and the DL has too many guys that need seasoning/strength or simply are overmatched.

We need more guys in the secondary, but I think we are closer there than the rest of the defense. Finding a way to generate more pass rush and to play the run better on the edges really needs to be a focus going into 2021.


Mizzou was 9 of 15 on third down, kicked four field goals and punted twice. We were 6 of 14 which isn’t bad.

Third down yardages for Mizzou (ones we stopped in parentheses):

(15), 5, 1, 2, 7, (9), 8, (4), (18), (10), 4, 5, (6), 7, 1.

They didn’t convert anything longer than 3rd and 8, but several of the ones they did convert weren’t gimmes.

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Missouri scored 27 points and 292 yards in the fourth quarter with Grant Morgan out. And, with Jalen Catalon playing corner (or the other nickel opposite Brooks) with Montaric Brown out. Catalon at safety is a beast. He was wasted at corner, but maybe that would have been an issue if he hadn’t played it.

Arkansas torched Missouri with Nick Bolton out. I went into the game wanting to compare Morgan and Bolton (both ranking high in SEC tackles) for All-America consideration. It was clear that neither defense could function without them.


Love this observation

Defensive production declined as the season progressed. No doubt. Seems apparent that we need to just keep recruiting to change this trend.

When we scored with :43 seconds, I thought, “we scored too quickly”. Then when I see which 11 were trying to keep them out of field goal range, I was not optimistic we could do it. No knock on those last 11… they played their tails off. We just need a deeper roster to sustain a grind like this season.

I’m not much into moral victories… but it has been nice this year to actually watch a game to the end. I am a big believer in Coach Pittman. Football is becoming fun again.


Give Coach Pittman some time in recruiting and it will be fine

Hoping he can keep the staff together only weakness on staff appears to be Special Teams

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They just don’t have enough defensive depth for a 10-game SEC season. And, you add in covid quarantines, it’s not easy. I think it was John Thompson who told me that he figured you needed to have a rotation about 18 good players to maintain a defense. If you lose some, it’s difficult. That’s an extra set of defensive linemen, an extra LB, an extra safety and an extra corner. Does that come to about 18? Maybe it does. Obviously, that’s what makes Alabama and Georgia (and a few others) so good, the way they can rotate defensive players.


Give Coach Sam time and the players will come and depth will improve

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It is the cumulative result of a long, arduous season.

We were playing our 5th and 6th CBs at the end (one who is normally safety; man, Kam Curl would have looked good rolling back over to CB at some point this fall…oh, wait, he left early and is in the NFL). We were playing two former walk-on LBs (Morgan, Henry) in a scheme designed to have LBs shine. They did. They are also exposed in pass defense, and you remember why they were walkons - they are very good tacklers, have above average speed, but are short, both in height and length. Bolton reminds you what they can look like. The Bama/LSU game last night had long, rangy LBs on both sides of the field.

I am reminded of Petrino’s “handshake” of DL recruits, testing how much he had to reach after hands were locked to touch the youngster’s shoulder with his free hand. Length matters, a lot.

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I missed this–Mo Brown was out? For what portion of the game and why (I think I remember his playing)? I hope not a serious injury.

Last play on the PBP I see for Busta Brown was midway through the third quarter when he defended on an incomplete pass.

Slusher got knocked loopy in the first half, I don’t know if he played any after that or not.

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