PST Contributor: Des Boodram
August 3rd, 2016
There’s a lot to be excited about this year with Arkansas Football.
A good class coming in with size and speed on both sides of the ball features playmakers that could be difference makers right away. Coach Brett Bielema has another year under his belt in the SEC, and fans have to feel good about how Arkansas finished the season after a treacherous start. The defense returns nine starters, and upperclassmen should be able to fill the remaining holes. Finally the schedule is extremely friendly and should yield positive results for the Razorbacks who will do battle in an SEC West that is a little down this year.
Who Will Score on Offense?
There are few questions on the offensive side of the ball that need to be addressed immediately, and Arkansas is usually prone to one itsy bitsy hiccup every season, when they lose a game they shouldn’t lose. Many programs suffer from this disease, but the Razorbacks have ZERO margin for error if they want to compete for the West.
Offensively the Hogs need to solve their biggest need by finding a QB first, and then finding a line to protect that QB, whoever it may be. Austin Allen, makes the most sense and naturally the best story as he is the younger brother of the last QB to be under center for the Razorbacks the departed Brandon Allen. It’s time to get busy living or get busy dying for the younger Allen, who has some game experience but should know the playbook.
That is just the start of the of the offensive boat for the Hogs which has sprung many leaks. Offensive line guru and coach Sam Pittman went to Georgia, but Bielema was able to pluck another coach from the NFL with college experience Kurt Anderson, who must get his new O-line in shape ASAP. This can’t be overstated, as the SEC teams will be licking their chops to get a hold of Austin Allen, especially with a weaker O-line and no established running game.
Arkansas has continued to produce quality backs, and although they lost Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams there are four potential RBs that can fill in. Hopefully one will emerge. Any struggles this team incurs this season, is likely to come from the offensive side of the ball.
Defensively the Hogs lost one playmaker – Rohan Gaines, but as a unit the secondary wasn’t that great, and will need to be better. They will start with three LBs, but all of them are good, and the D-line should be more experienced. Even though the Arkansas is returning nine starters, the unit as a whole wasn’t that great, but experience is key, and this is an athletic bunch.
As eluded to earlier this team is close to being a legit contender, but they lack depth and are still likely another year out. They beat LSU last season and Tennessee in Knoxville, but the offense is much different.
Razorbacks Looking for Perfect Finish
Everything would have to work out perfectly for Arkansas to finish with only one loss at the end of the SEC regular season, and that would be to Alabama. After that, it’s conceivable that they could win the rest of their games, including TCU. They get Alabama, Louisiana State, Florida and Ole Miss at home, and travel to Auburn.
Look for a faster start which should result in a 1-2 win improvement for this team versus last year’s 8-5 record.
The Arkansas Razorbacks are a -21.5 point favorite vs. Louisiana Tech in Game #1 of the season. Get all of your College Football Odds at the odds section.