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Arkansas is No. 10 in the country and 3-0 with wins over Cincinnati and in their SEC opener South Carolina. The strategy is working, even though it is definitely a band-aid on a bad situation. Imagine how strong this team would look had Catalon not gone down.
Arkansas's secondary has been getting gashed because Myles Slusher and Jalen Catalon both went down in the first game. Which sucks, especially for Catalon - who is out for the season. Slusher is reportedly ready go though, which may change the dynamic a lot. The secondary is going to remain weak, but it won't be last-in-the-country weak with him back.
Arkansas is very unlikely to win the west and would have to get through aTm and Ole Miss to take second, but if they finish behind Auburn I'll eat my hat. I'm also not sold at all on LSU. Kelly looks like a huge mismatch.
Well, it’s a good thing SDS doesn’t apply this guy’s thought-process in hiring its writers, or this dude would be out of a job, stat. The Hogs will be just fine. They will be back to a solidly mediocre to good program before Texas and Oklahoma get here. Hell, this year’s Arkansas-Texas game will probably be a pick ‘em.
Let's focus on the challenge in front of us. Looking past the #2 team in the West (other than us) to the #1 team in the West isn't very wise. A&M is going to be a really tough opponent.
It's because of our geographical identity. We're a perennial mid-Top 25 team, usually fluttering between about #30 and about #12 throughout the season. The last couple years our actual rankings have been lower because the SEC West has been so dominant, but our S&P+ rankings are right in line with our historical averages. That profile is one that leads to lots of overtime games. Tennessee is in the same position long-term. We're good enough to play right with anyone but not so overwhelming that we put good teams away. That recipe just leads to a lot of tie games, which now go to overtime.
Brandon Allen had a QB rating of 166.5 last year. Ryan Mallett's 2010 rating was 163.6, the year he took us to the Sugar Bowl. Tyler Wilson's highest rating was 148.4 as a starter. Hell, PEYTON MANNING's QB rating was 147.7 both his junior and senior years. Brandon's 2016 season was the 67th best single season by a QB in NCAA history. Last year he was literally THE BEST quarterback Arkansas has ever had. If Austin looks anything like 2015 Brandon this year we are going to win a lot of games.
Think this through, y'all. Bielema isn't really proposing a plan that he thinks would work -- the guy below who said every junior would immediately declare and cause a huge headache is totally right. Bielema is instead using this as a way to very politely criticize upperclassmen who get stars in their eyes and declare for the Draft when they really need to stay in school. He can't be seen to through his own players under the bus, but this way he can communicate with his current kids and future recruits about what happens to people who are fringe 2nd or 3rd rounders and don't quite make it. Unless you know FOR SURE that you're going in the first or second round, or you are out of eligibility, you should stick in school. Maybe take out a big insurance policy, but stick.
Agreed. Just work out the math: Hogs have Allen, a junior with two years of eligibility remaining. (i.e. 2016 and 2017). Then they have Rafe Peavey with three years (2016, 2017, and 2018). Then they have Ty Storey with four years (2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019) OR Ricky Town with four years (2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019). Behind that they have Cole Kelley, who was only rated a 3 star but reminds people of Ryan Mallett, and he could probably convert to TE pretty easily if there's a logjam coming in behind him. Loaded is right. Brandon Allen was the recruiting equivalent of any one of these guys and he just put up one of the best seasons by any QB in Arkansas history. He saw so much drama during his tenure that he only really realized his potential for that final season. But these guys have all had stability on campus, a steady solid program to build within, and we are unlikely to see that change in the next three years or so. We should worry about our O-line. We might need to worry about our running back situation. Our WRs look excellent, our QB situation is enviable for any team having to change horses, and our defense overall looks to be the best Bielema has ever had on campus. I'm not predicting a 10 win season but I like our chances to repeat with 8 and maybe sneak 9, and we're still putting better bodies on campus year to year. Bielema is winning at his job right now.
We all know that Ole Miss is flagrantly cheating. Unless you want to run afoul of NCAA regulations, you have to ascend to the top 25 level before you can crack the top 10. we are getting there. It is always going to be a slow process at an Arkansas.
Wow, (correct) English lessons from a Cajun. Stings like good jambalaya!
Miami is a step down from Georgia, and arguably a step down from Missouri or South Carolina. Would it be smart for him to go there? Sure; the path to success in the ACC is way easier. But in terms of current profiles of the schools? Miami has a great history but not much lately.
I said this as well. Missouri is a good temperamental fit, plays in the SEC East, which would give him the same challenges, but has different recruiting pipelines, which he could supplement. He would still have the chance to win SEC East Championships and indeed national championships if the stars aligned, but wouldn't have insane Georgia fans breathing down his neck. I live in Atlanta despite being a Hog fan, and I will tell you, there is something cultural about this state which has extremely deep roots and which does not bode well for any sports organization. It is a kind of deep-seated pride and self-assurance which overwhelms all evidence to the contrary. You see it in the Braves and Falcons fanbase--a nonchalance about even great success because that is how things 'ought to be' and a chilly disdain when the programs do not live up to their hype. It's not an issue for Tech fans, who mostly come from outside the state originally. But UGA is the school of the *state* of Georgia, the former Confederate State of Georgia, and that same Lost Cause sentiment has a weird effect on its fanbase.
Arkansas *can't* match Alabama's pass rush -- that's fair. But to then say 'they only have 13 sacks all year' ignores the fact that FIVE of those were last week on the road, at night, at top 10 LSU. LSU is stumbling a little but they do not suck by any means -- give the Hogs some credit. Much like last year, this defense is starting to gel.
Regardless of the specific points being made, Saturday Down South loses credibility when it publishes an article which is nothing more than a set of snapshots of some other website owner's tweets. Is this site an aggregator now? I thought the plan was to produce original news coverage and analysis? I've read a couple of seriously thin pieces of reporting on this site this morning (John Brasier's Bielema on-the-hot-seat-article literally had sections cut and pasted from other articles). If SDS wants to remain a player in this space, you cannot go down this road. This brand got off to a really strong start, but I have been forcibly reminded that this is a 'blog' twice today, and you don't want that label. Talk to your editors, seriously. Pieces like this need more than some other site's analysis sloppily re-published if this site is going to work.
Bielema's smart, and he's right, but personally I'd like to see him tug Superman's cape a little less often until this Hogs team actually arrives (by which I mean a top ten finish). Ohio State had some miscues in the Va Tech game but when they clicked, they looked dominant. If that team had an SEC schedule it would certainly compete for the league title. That doesn't mean the schedule they do have isn't easy, because it is. But it's not Ohio State's fault that Penn State and Michigan imploded. Wisconsin might still be a contender too... if we hadn't taken their coach.
Yeah he's the first ESPN 5-star, but ESPN only began ranking recruits a few years ago. McFadden and Mustain were definitely 5 stars in some recruiting services. Ryan Mallett didn't commit to Arkansas (he transferred from Michigan when Petrino was hired), but he definitely played most of his career here, and he was a 5-star, too.
I'm from Lowell, grew up in the shadow of RRS in Fayetteville, went to law school at UT in Knoxville, and my brother lives in LA. I visit him frequently. All three are great places. Fayetteville and Knoxville are extremely similar towns. Fayetteville has a little less inner city decay, very few homeless, no abandoned buildings. Roughly equal night life, roughly equal entertainment. There's more to do outdoors in the Knoxville area thanks to the Smokies. The two towns are highly similar. LA is an internationally famous city for a reason, but I get the sense that Ricky Town is a lot more interested in what's going on inside the football complex than he is anything happening elsewhere. It's a good sign that he evidently doesn't care where he lives. We want our QBs to be thinking about the field and the opponent, not what's going on downtown. Good get Bielema. Hopefully he will develop back into the 5 star he was supposed to be.
Murf, I consistently learn more from your articles than any other journalists' work on the Hogs. You are the perfect guy to explain our program as it currently is. I don't think very many journalists understand offensive line tactics whatsoever, much less with the level of detail you consistently present. I just wanted to say that. You mention that the LT is a young man's position--why? As the premier line position (as everyone who read The Blind Side knows), it would seem like you'd need both experience and talent there. Is it just because it's so physical? Also, in a run-first offense, maybe CBB is just anticipating that he'll have most defenses on their back foot watching out for the punishing run game, and thus doesn't really need the expert blind side pass protection that a pass-first offense like Petrino's had to have.
Let's not kid ourselves. If Bret Bielema leads Arkansas to the playoff, or even to an SEC Championship, he is likely to want to make the next step in his career and who can blame him? What claim does Arkansas have on Bielema? He isn't from here, doesn't owe us anything other than his best work while he's under our contract. He's doing that. If and when he leaves we just need to hope that it's on good terms and leaves the Hogs at the peak of their success, rather than the way Bobby Petrino left.
Arkansas hangs with Mizzou and wins that game with a healthy QB, or even with a different QB, but your point is well taken. The right man needs to be under center and healthy or the Hogs lose to just about anyone.
The major distinction between Williams/Collins and McFadden/Jones is that the latter were running under the brilliant offensive mind of Gus Malzahn, who split carries and added the Wildcat wrinkle on a regular basis. Current OC Jim Chaney is just no Gus Malzahn when it comes to calling plays, and we have lacked the creative spark that probably accounted for a lot of the difference in yardage between these two sets of backs. For comparison McFadden had 1,830 yard *by himself* in 2007. Felix had 1,160. That was the year after Malzahn left but HDN was still using his basic playbook and two back sets.
This is the second time Chaney has fallen in love with the pass in the second half of an SEC West game that the Hogs looked competitive in. However, I'm not prepared to make the assumption that this is just because Chaney's a no good so-and-so who can't call a football game. Kevin Sumlin was very praising of the Hogs, specifically saying "they don't just run over you; they unbalance you." Our play calling at times--such as some of the naked bootlegs to a huge open TE--has looked inspired. What I think is happening is that the Hogs currently lack the depth to fully implement Bielema's vision against a qualified (SEC) defense. Our herd of swine is wearing down by the fourth quarter and the run game is coming apart. Going forward the solution is obviously going to be recruiting 4-star depth on the offensive line. Bielema is definitely achieving that, and when he does, this system may not have a ceiling. But for this year, the key remains balance. Allen had an excellent game but to win in this division he has to be almost perfect. No botched snaps, complete the checkdown to find open receivers. He threw the ball away possibly a couple times too often. It's hard to criticize the defense after the huge strides they've made, but ultimately it is on them to keep the pressure up. They got tired and Kenny Hill began to show his abilities after a weak first half. Conditioning, depth, balance, execution. None of this is complicated, and none of it is Chaney's fault. The good news is, we are only even having this discussion because of how far the Hogs have come in a really short time period.