Last year’s disappointing finish had to be a focusing element in the off season. Every year, CBB’s teams got tougher as the season went along, no one wanted to play them late in the season, until last year, and they collapsed in their last two games. Two games that should have been easy wins (giving a 9-win season) with a little effort in the second half turned into disasters, very un-CBB-like collapses. I think they will get that fixed and return even tougher.
We have the best center in college football. We have, at worst, the third best QB in the SEC and, as far as fitting their offense, probably the best. We have the top rated JC wideout and the top rated JC tight end (although coming late) to help with the loss of a lot of receivers. We have fullbacks and H-backs and offensive linemen who are settling in to be very good. This can be a very good offense even with the loss of Rawleigh with Devwah stepping up and David Williams coming to help. If we get our running game going (staying healthy) this will be the best offense of the CBB era.
The defense has some sneaky good players in the defensive line, linebackers, and secondary. These were not great recruits, but they are decent recruits with the potential to be good in our developmental system. Some of them will be good. Not Bama good but approaching respectable. Agim, Greenlaw, and Pulley can be 2nd or 3rd team ALL-SEC good, so there is hope for better play on defense. Rhoads is a former head coach and a proven defensive coordinator. He will get every thing they have to give out of his defense. We will be better this year, maybe rising to mediocre in the SEC. If our offense can establish the running game and dominate the clock, that will help make the defense better, especially in the second half.
So, I think we will upset Auburn (we get them at home and after last year’s humiliation at their place we will play very well) probably lose to someone we shouldn’t lose to (like MissState), will finally beat A&M, will lose to but be competitive with Bama and LSU, will split the South Carolina and TCU games, and will win the rest. So, 8-4 in the regular season and 9-4 with a bowl win (they should be focused on the bowl game after last years). CBB will “right the ship” and the future will look better. JMVVVVVVHO
That is what we have to hang our hopes. Lossing RWIII just leaves no room for injuries and the SEC is a war of attrition.
One point. I don’t think VA Tech should ever be considered an easy win, but given a 24 pt (is that what it was?) lead, it should go in the W column. Heck, they could have made up 30 or 35 pts. they way we slooped around in that 2nd half. That was just bad.
I am in total agreement Hogmodo. It all rides on the Oline improving as much as I think they will, so that we can RUN and PROTECT AA. If we can run, the run opens up the play action, and we will be great if we give AA time to go through his progressions. The Oline is where all the pressure is for improvement, but I feel very good about a position group that is this talented yet embarrassed. Last year teams knew they could flood Froholdt’s gap or the injured Raulerson’s gap. Froholdt was inexperienced with exotic blitzes and delayed blitzes and Raulerson’s ankle injury was bad enough he should not have played for a while. The flood and delay blitzes overcame the TE’s and RB’s picking up the blitzes too.
As you correctly stated the offense’s time of possession is a big benefit to the DEFENSE by limiting our fatigue and making the opposing Offense panic (fewer possessions to score). Our defense has to be better this year because it can’t get any worse than the last few years. The players did not believe in Robb Smith’s scheme and adjustments and it showed in the games after just a few bad plays.
I think the game that we lose that we shouldn’t is Ole Miss. It’s in Oxford, their QB is better than Auburn’s and their offense still has talent. Their weak defense means we could have a shoot-out against a Manziel-like QB.
As for Auburn, I too think we beat them in DWRRS. Stidham looked good in AU’s spring game but I have heard from AU fans I know that aren’t sold on him or their offense yet. AU’s fans are pumped about their Defense and think it will be better than Bama’s.
The offensive line is really what I’m curious to see. All the young guys who struggled last year have experience now and have had another year to develop physically, so you’d expect big improvements.
I think this fall will tell us whether they are SEC-caliber linemen or not.
As mentioned, staying healthy will be huge, as always. For the defense, keeping Dre, Scoota and Sosa intact will be major.
I expect Pulley to have a big year.
My biggest question marks are probably
I’m obviously sold on Austin. Devwah will be good if someone can step up and spell him adequately. I think there will be a little bit of a step back as far as WRs go and there may not be one TE give you what Sprinkle could, but the depth at both positions should help.
Sosa could have a big year. Scoota will probably have some growing pains, but I think he and Dre can be a really good tandem. Randy Ramsey can be disruptive. The corners looked superb in the spring.
I think the consistency in the WRs will probably be down, but the explosive play ability will actually be up. I think athletically the current group is better than last year’s bunch. Physically we’ve got more guys who can be match up problems for the opposition than last year.
The problem is that just being athletic is often not enough when you are playing against SEC West DBs. Cornelius has been good to very good when healthy, but he has not shown he can be elite yet. One or two of the younger/JC guys have to step up to keep defenses from just scheming to take him away by either doubling him or putting an elite shut-down CB on him all the time.
I think the surprising thing for a lot of people will be how well the TEs do in the passing game. There is a lot of talent there, even without Patton, and I think AA will look for those guys as a group more often than last year.
The nice thing is that Enos has shown an ability, when his QB can handle it and get protection, to be creative and diverse in the passing game. So as the season goes along I look for the WR corps to get substantially better.
If there’s improvement in the O-line and the defense, then this could be the breakout year everybody has been longing to have. Can’t imagine there won’t be some improvement in both of those areas, but the degree of improvement is the $4 million question. I know CBB would like to have a great year with AA at QB knowing that Year Six will be with an unproven QB. So, that brings me to this point: I sure hope we can get Ty Storey and Cole Kelley on the field some this year (but certainly not because of AA injury). Some end-game opportunities to get them some snaps in front of 75,000. But I digress.
If the O-line and defense are much improved, look out–the talent on campus has steadily improved, the coordinators (I believe) are the best we’ve had (Rhoads will be great and Enos keeps getting better) and the team has a chip on its shoulders from the way last season ended–this could be CBB’s best year yet. We’ll see.
Pro Football Focus said Austin Allen was pressured on 42 of his 61 drop backs, so any OLINE improvement will be dramatic upon AA’s performance. We just have to give him time to make post-snap reads and go through his progressions because the kid is excellent at reads and quick passes. AA’s ability to audible at the LOS can improve the offense a lot if he makes the right call most of the time. Coach Enos reduced AA’s ability to audible last year since he was a first-year starter. I’m more worried about our WR’s reading what the secondary is doing to get the biggest bang.
I’m hoping this coming football season will be similar to the Baseball team’s turn around. I see a lot of similarities between the two situations.
The 2015-16 finished worse than .500 but they had a lot of the same players returning into the 2016-17 season and the turn around was huge.
The same is with the football team. You’re keeping a lot of building blocks in the O-line (Ragnow, Frohodlt, Wallace, Jackson), QB, RB (Devwah should be fine to handle the load), WR (I know its lot of knew players but I don’t see a drop off) that could translate to a great turn around.
Just a thought, could be way off base here but I like what we have moving forward. Sure wouldn’t hurt to go a season without losing your RB1 before the season starts. WOO PIG!
I agree with this concern. I believe it is the one our fans - in general - are least aware of. We have obvious talent at WR, but just as obvious lack of experience. I fear it will be mid-season before we get the type of consistency there that we need and are used to.
That being the case, the TE’s MUST step up and pick up the passing game slack while the WR catch up. This will be a key to our offensive success, especially early.
I feel good about Cornelius and the TE’s carrying the passing game until the new WR’s get comfortable. We don’t have experience behind Whaley so we can’t afford to run the ball too much, so I see us becoming a stronger passing team this year. David Williams is the ONLY player with college SEC game experience behind Devwah. We have a GREAT QB that can pick apart a defense, and Enos is a great OC at creating balance and using the TE. I think the Oline improvement will allow us to see AA reach his full potential.
Pro Football Focus said Austin Allen was pressured on 42 of his 61 drop backs last season, so any OLINE improvement will be dramatic upon AA’s performance. We just have to give him time to make post-snap reads and go through his progressions because the kid is excellent at reads and quick passes. AA’s ability to audible at the LOS can improve the offense a lot if he makes the right call most of the time. Coach Enos reduced AA’s ability to audible last year since he was a first-year starter. I’m more worried about our new WR’s reading what the secondary is doing to get the biggest bang.
I’m thinking how the Offensive line goes is how the season will go
So 7-5 is a solid bet - an average season considering how thin the talent is
With Austin at QB (arguablythe best QB in the SEC) Arkansas has a chance in every game they play
The only way Arkansas does better than 7-5 is if the OLine (toughest unit to develop) matures and talent we have not heard from in the other units emerges
With injury on a team with thin talent - (notice all the recruited Jr College players evidence of thin talent needing imidiate help) Arkansas can do worse than 7 wins
I do think we have reached base line for Arkansas with this staff - 7-5 as a rebuilding year
Let’s see how it goes
I have to be careful - my reality meter - says Arkansas is no longer a National dark horse contending program but now is simply a second tier SEC program that is a regional contender at best - unless strides to greatly improve the program
My greatest fear is that Arkansas will become University of Kansas with our program measured by our win or loss vs a insignificant game with our neighbors to the north
If Arkansas signature game becomes Mizzou The program is dead
Offensive line is important but defense wins championships they say and until our defense improves we are destined to be middle of the pack at best sec team. To be consistently good in sec our recruiting and coaching must become vastly improved. Just don’t see it recruiting wise and until last year was very high on our coaching. Year 5, time to see some results. That being said we could win 9 this year if things fall right. Or we could win 6 or 7 which for me would be huge disappointment. Who the heck knows what we might see on the field this year. I am hoping for the best but certainly not counting on it. It is the defense that is the key to me.
The improvement of the defense is the key to this season, in my view. Our defense has been pathetic the past 2 years…horrible…the worst in my 69 years of watching Razorback football. To win the past 2 years, we had to play outstanding offensive football. We just have not had much talent on defense compared to the better SEC teams.
I don’t know if we are going to be substantially improved on defense. I don’t think anybody does, but if we are not vastly better…it is going to be a tough year. I do have hope with Paul Rhodes and a new 3-4 scheme that we will be much better. I am concerned about the 3-4, however, because we had a major shortage of linebackers last year with a 4-2 and now we have to have 4 linebackers needed to start. Where are all these linebackers coming from? Where were they last year?
I have faith in the offense with Dan Enos. We only lost one offensive lineman in Dan Skipper. We will miss him, but we did not lose several guys. Enos will move the football and score points. We know his offense will be very good. I do believe that. 6-6 or 7-5 looks about right.
Seems low to me, too. However, if we’re not counting play-action passes as drop backs, perhaps it is that low. That averages 4.7 drop backs per game. I suppose we averaged around 70 offensive plays per game.
I thought it was low, too. But I also thought maybe they were eliminating play-action passes as well, but even then it seems low. So I wonder if they were speaking specifically of dropbacks, eliminating play action and the shotgun.