Looking forward to everyone else’s list. Here is mine:
Stay healthy. We cannot afford an injury to our starting QB and Tailback. No team ever can but we are thin at these positions and need stellar play there to make up for other deficiencies. We have very few playmakers on defense and the ones we do have (Greenlaw, Pulley, Agim, Ramsey, Soota, etc.) need to stay on the field and then play well.
Jackson and Wallace need to “come of age” at offensive tackles. We are solid in the interior with Ragnow flanked by Froholdte and Gibson. We have pretty good depth in the line but to be good, we cannot struggle at either tackle. The offense has to be good to carry the defense as it switches to the 3-4 and the tackles are key to making this happen.
Bijhon Jackson needs to play well and his backups need to as well as they spell him. This is where the 3-4 starts if it is going to be successful. If we get weak nose tackle play, the 3-4 will struggle.
Playmakers need to emerge quickly at wide receiver and at backup tight end. We have speed, size, and athleticism at those positions and they need to hit the ground running this year.
A dependable field goal and kickoff kicker(s) need to step up. We have been weak and inconsistent there and that needs to change. Not turning the ball over when receiving kicks is good but making a play after that is lots better. Playmakers need to emerge in the kick return game.
We need to quit talking about being mentally tough leaders, high character people, game finishers, etc. and just do it. We flopped last year in this category and that has to turn around completely for us to be successful this year.
We need some breaks, some timely turnovers by the other guys, a little luck to put us over the top in a few key games.
I think the main drivers of success are the Oline and Defense. The offense was good in spite of the Oline sucking against the elite SEC teams. We were good enough on offense the last 2 years to Score so much that sometimes it over came the sorry defense. If the defense is just 20% better than last year then we are way ahead of the game.
The combination of an improved Oline and a better defensive production will lead to a better season, and the two issues compliment each other quite well too. If our offense is able to chew up clock against the big SEC teams, then we will protect our defense and that will only improve their performance.
I think it comes down to offensive line play. Get the running game going. Then, protection gets easier. And, the defense doesn’t have to be on the field as much. That’s making it really simple. But it’s a simple game.
I’d agree about the offensive line; it’s the key to so much that the offense does (the running game and keeping the QB clean in the passing game), but I’d also say the emergence of some wide receivers. If AA is given all day to throw and can’t find open receivers or receivers drop balls, the offensive balance the line helps the Hogs have won’t be very balanced.
The offense was pretty solid the past two years while the defense was just horrible. That Texas A+M game was about as bad as it gets. They would run up the middle or pass up the middle and the Aggies guys were looking around to see where everybody went. It was a stroll to the end zone.
Yes, the offensive line needs to improve, but it won’t matter if that defense is bad again. We were last in college football in giving up rushing touchdowns. Last. Yes. Last. The cellar. The bottom. Razorback history is full of great defenses helping us win championships. Since we joined the SEC in 1992, we seldom have had a strong defense. Somebody has to fix that if we are ever going to win the SEC.