Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Dr. Z's Arkansas Preview
Neither one of these Fearless Arkansas Leaders Promotes a Strong Defense
Well, It's track meet Saturday for the Auburn Tigers. For 4 years we been clamoring for point production. I have a feeling this weekend we may need it.
This is a pretty big measuring stick for our team. How well will we handle recognition? We are nationally ranked, getting props from all directions now. This is usually the point where the wheels tend to come off, and this campus in Fayetteville seems to always be the location.
We have seen our share of stinkers here over the years, dating all the way back to Terry Bowden. Dr. Rob can tell you about 1999 in the rain when the lights went out on Ben Leard (a Tebow-esque concussion), and Auburn had no answer in a 34-10 loss. Two years later we return for a 42-17 drubbing. We have fared better here recently, though, having not lost in Fayetteville since 2003 ( may have more to do with the decline of Houston Nutt than anything).
The main difference between those days and now is, well...everything. Arkansas really doesn't run the ball anymore (111 rushes for 447 yards, that is a little more than 111 yards per game). They are near the bottom of 1-A in rushing stats. Whether it be because they can't or just choose to sling every time, they are a fairly one dimensional team.
But it is a pretty good dimension, because Ryan Mallette is the real deal. Arky will put up points in a hurry, just ask Georgia. Our big key defensivley is getting a push with our front four. Coleman and Co have to apply pressure or Mallette has the ability to eat us alive.
Defensively, the Hogs are bad against the pass, a little better against the run, and all around pretty awful. They haven't stopped very many folks this year, including giving up 460+ to A&M in a victory.
The key to this game on offense will be the run game. If we run the ball and have long drives, I think we win comfortably. If it becomes a track meet, then all bets are off. I think the Hogs have little choice but to sell out against the run and risk the big play, and hope that they are close enough at the end to give Mallette a chance to win it in the last seconds.
What will (hopefully) happen...Auburn's balance is too much. Look for more downhill running and more ball control, as Guz slows it down just enough to keep the potent Arkansas offense cooling their heels on the sideline. Big day from Tate and Fannin again. Mallette gets his numbers, but it won't be enough to stop Auburn and the Guz Bus.
Little Pigs 28