Published September 21, 2012 - 3:37pm
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The start Arkansas has gotten off to is just altogether head-scratching. The Hogs sit 1-2, losers of two straight after being totally dominated at home last week against Alabama, and their head coach is just making everything hard to watch in Fayetteville.
There Hogs have so many questions on both sides of the ball, but where is Knile Davis? He’s had zero effect on the team so far.
It’s obvious he’s either not 100 percent, or the offensive line can’t open up any running lanes. I would tend to lean to the latter, but Davis just hasn’t looked right through three games. The coaching staff didn’t let him take many hits during preseason camp, worried he might get injured again. Maybe that has something to do with it, and he’s just running scared.
Davis was mentioned as a preseason Heisman contender entering this season, along with his quarterback. But Davis hasn’t even gotten started yet. Everyone remembers his sophomore year when he led the SEC in rushing with over 1,300 yards. Those days seem like a distant memory.
It’s imperative that Davis gets going this weekend against Rutgers. If he’s not 100 percent, the coaching staff needs to sit Davis in lieu of backup Dennis Johnson. Davis has 54 carries for only 191 yards and two touchdowns. He’s only averaging a meager 3.5 yards per carry, a far cry from what was projected for a presumptive first-round draft pick this spring.
He’s averaging right at 18 carries per game. I’d give it to him 25 to 30 times this weekend and continue to work in play action with Wilson in the passing game.
The Arkansas offensive line has been putrid, and they are getting ready to be tested even more with Rutgers coming to town. They bring as many as six or seven defenders at the quarterback on any play, and Arkansas has never been a big pass protection team with extra protection for the quarterback.
The best way to offset an aggressive attack is to mix in screens and draws with Knile Davis. If Rutgers wants to bring max pressure throughout the game, the Hogs need to use that to their advantage.
It’s great that Tyler Wilson is returning to this club. It will give them an added sense of confidence, but Davis must get going in the running game to give the offense some balance.
Arkansas is the SEC’s worst rushing offense, averaging just over 100 yards per game. They averaged around 135 yards per game last year even without Davis in the lineup.