2013 - 3.9 penalties per game – 8th in the country
2014 - 5.1 penalties per game – 34th in the country
2015 - 4.3 penalties per game – 9th in the country
2016 - 5.6 penalties per game – 43rd in the country
To be honest, I would expect a traditional, huddle up team to have LESS penalties than teams that try to go break neck speed…the speed would make a team more vulnerable to mistakes and thus, penalties, IMO…at least the “movement” and “formation” type penalties…not so much on the holding type penalties…just sayin’
I’ve always thought you have your most penalties in a year when you make the most changes on offense. New quarterbacks, new offensive linemen and especially a combination of a new center/quarterback give you more issues to keep clean. I have not looked to see if they are offensive penalties or defensive penalties. But I suspect most of them are on offense. When you change quarterbacks, it takes a time for the operation to smooth out. In looking at those numbers, this is not a heavily penalized team. It’s not at the top, but it’s not far from the top end. An average of five is not a big number.
All of these “I wouldn’t expect blah in year four” comments are baseless rants from hopelessly biased, unfair points of view.
Nick Saban’s year-four team at Michigan State went 6-6 and didn’t go to a bowl. His year-four team at Alabama lost three games after being preseason No. 1. Should have lost four.
There’s nothing magic about “year four.” You can’t give any meaningful analysis without looking at how good/bad recruiting was immediately before and after the coach was hired. You also can’t ignore changes in schedule strength.
The main problems Arkansas has involve how little veteran contribution the team got from the 2012-13 recruiting classes. The 2012 class was Petrino’s last, and '13 was the one Bielema had to salvage after Arkansas’s season in limbo.
If you don’t know those problems hit hardest now, you’re not even trying to understand.
Current players from the 2012 class:
DL Johnson, Lewis, Winston, Wise
Current players from the 2013 class:
DL Beanum, Roesler
S Coley, Richardson (injured)
Can you see some positional gaps in the 2012-13 classes? The current team got one linebacker and one offensive lineman from those two years, among other shortfalls. Too many misses + too many didn’t redshirt + too many jucos.
You can also consider how many from those classes were drafted and left early. This of course happens to all teams, but having Kirkland, Henry and AC would make this a different team. Kirkland in particular was a huge loss. Having he and Skipper at their 2015 tackle spots would make a world of difference.
It would still be the same LBs and DBs though, the true Achilles Heal.