What Nick Saban thinks about facing Arkansas this week
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — University of Alabama football will be playing one of the teams tied for last place in the Southeastern Conference’s Western Division on Saturday (6 p.m. ET, ESPN), but that doesn’t mean it’s getting a break in the schedule.
Arkansas (4-2, 0-2 SEC) is coming of a bye and had it held on to beat then-No. 6 Texas A&M on Sept. 27, a 35-28 loss in overtime, it too would be ranked in the polls.
“Arkansas is really probably the most improved team in the country in terms of if you want to compare from last year to this year,” Nick Saban said during his press conference Monday. “They’ve really played very, very well all season long, had a great chance to beat A&M, came up a little short in the end, then dominating in terms of the way they’ve been able to run the football, and really pass it effectively when they’ve needed to. Their quarterback’s playing really well for them. They have two really, really good running backs. Their offensive line is not only big they do a really, really good job of executing what they do. They’ve only given up one sack all year long.
“A lot of that has to do with the fact that they run the ball very well and don’t get in a lot of situations where you can even try to pressure the quarterback because you’re always worried about playing the run. This is probably the best overall offensive running team that we’ve faced all year long, no question, with the capability to make big plays running the ball.
“Defensively, I think they’re much improved as well. Better up front. Better in the secondary. Really play hard, play with a lot of toughness. This is a very physical team on both sides of the ball. This is going to be a very challenging game. These guys are a very, very good football team and our team is going to have to play as well as we’ve played and continue to improve to be able to have success, especially on the road.”
The Razorbacks’ other loss this season was the opener at then-No. 6 Auburn, 45-21.