The Arkansas Razorbacks launch spring practice on March 16, looking to bolt from last place in the SEC West closer to the middle of the pack, perhaps earning a Top 25 ranking in the process.

That won’t be easy, as the team isn’t set up for a huge leap forward like last offseason, and the team will have to work even harder to make gains. But considering how many close games the team lost in ’14, perhaps with the right priorities this spring, the team can improve on its seven wins from a season ago.

Here are Arkansas’ five most pressing priorities entering spring practice.

1. Find a way to create some explosive plays on offense.

The best college and NFL teams make you win with your left hand.

Arkansas is a great football team when its running game dominates and those big bullies can lean on defensive linemen while Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams take turns delivering uppercuts. But if that’s the extent of the offense, there are teams good enough to cram extra defenders near the line of scrimmage and defeat Plan A.

The Razorbacks finished 13th in the SEC and tied for 100th nationally last season in passing plays of more than 20 yards.

Tight end Hunter Henry is great, but the offense needs something downfield. Between Keon Hatcher, Jared Cornelius, Kendirck Edwards and Jojo Robinson, new coordinator Dan Enos needs to identify some players and route combinations that can lead to more explosive plays.

2. Turn last year’s supporting defensive players into stars.

If the team isn’t already exhausted from hearing the names “Trey Flowers, Darius Philon and Martrell Spaight,” it will be soon.

It’s going to be tough to replicate last season, when the team developed into one of the best front sevens on defense in all of FBS. But players like Taiwan Johnson and Brooks Ellis must morph into leaders.

The Hogs are losing several players in the secondary, but the nucleus is young and now will have a chance to grow into an even better unit. That will help mitigate the losses in the front seven, as would a more explosive offense. But the team is going nowhere in the SEC East in ’15 unless one or two dominating players emerge on that part of the team.

3. Find out if Jeremiah Ledbetter is the man to replace Darius Philon.

Hjalte Froholdt was the prize of the 2015 signing class and also enrolled early. Bijhon Jackson reportedly has lost weight and will be a factor at the position. But Ledbetter, who recorded 22.5 combined sacks the last two seasons at Hutchinson Community College, enters spring as the more SEC-ready player — on paper.

The Razorbacks need to find out fast whether Ledbetter can be a difference-maker as a starting defensive tackle in ’15.

4. Turn QB Brandon Allen into a playmaker or give the keys to the offense to someone else.

Most assume Allen, a senior, will be the starting quarterback by default. But despite a strong TD/INT ratio last fall, Allen completed just 56 percent of his passes. Given the help provided to him in the running game, and the safe nature of many of his play-action throws, he’s got to be more accurate.

Then there’s his measly 6.7 yards per attempt in ’14. The receivers must improve, but if Allen can’t get the ball to anyone downfield, Arkansas should consider staging a legitimate quarterback competition with former four-star signee Rafe Peavey. The Razorbacks could use the guise of “starting fresh with a new offensive coordinator” if the team needed an excuse to avoid upsetting Allen.

5. Turn into an excellent team at situational football.

The Razorbacks went 0-4 in one-possession games last season. Bret Bielema’s style, when it’s working well, lends itself to close, low-scoring wins against good teams. The Hogs rarely are going to blow out teams like Alabama and Auburn.

Given that the team’s closest win in ’14 was a 17-0 victory against LSU, as well as the team’s man-eating offensive line and intimidating backfield, this group knows how to play with a lead. But do you trust Allen to perform in a two-minute drill trailing late in a close game? What will the offense do on third-and-long? Can the ’15 defense make goal line stops? Is Adam McFain good enough in pressure situations to drill a game-winning field goal?

Bielema should have his team practice as many of those scenarios as possible, physically and mentally, this spring.