Hogs Load Up on Vols

Just when you think Arkansas has run out of tricks, the offensive brain trust trots out a few more. This time it might have slipped under the radar.

Most everyone who watched Arkansas' 31-14 victory over Tennessee left talking about Darren McFadden.

There's nothing wrong with that. He may win a Heisman Trophy some day. There may be a time he comes back like UA great Lance Alworth did this week to serve as honorary captain with an NFL highlight tape running on the big screen.

I'll excuse anyone who followed McFadden's every move Saturday night at Reynolds Razorback Stadium as he scored two touchdowns and passed for another. There's nothing wrong with focusing on his 181 yards, or the way he splattered UT's linebackers and safeties.

No doubt, McFadden can and will mesmerize fans and defenders alike. You got the feeling Tennessee called at least one timeout just to remind its defense that the key to stopping him was first getting off some blocks.

But if you weren't careful you missed the little tricks the Arkansas offense unloaded on Tennessee. You probably didn't see the field tilt hard to the right side when McFadden lined up at quarterback in the shotgun formation.

You were probably watching carefully to see if McFadden was going to keep or hand to Felix Jones on the wide receiver sweep. Of course, now there's even a chance McFadden is going to raise up and hit Marcus Monk on the post. How do you cover all three?

Yep, that's what the water cooler talk will be this week. Do you think anyone noticed the gaping holes in the line, or the way the field tilted when 6-foot-5, 305-pound left tackle Tony Ugoh lined up next to 6-6, 335-pound Zac Tubbs.

"We've run it before, but we ran it much more tonight," said Arkansas coach Houston Nutt. "We even added the jail break sweep with it. I'm not sure anyone has a chance to see that we were doing that."

I did and I noticed the O-linemen slapping high fives as they trotted back to the huddle after discombobulating yet another SEC defense with some trickery.

"We've got some real neat stuff out of that package, just another package people are having to prepare for," Nutt said. "It's a tough package, but the core of that package is our offensive line. You have to give them credit. They do an outstanding job.

"We've run that formation before, but no one has really stopped it yet. I'm telling you when we put Ugoh next to Tubbs, the field really was leaning way to that right side.

"You can see that all the different packages we've got is really causing some confusion with the defenses. We ran a little more of that tonight, but that's not all of it at all."

Offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn smiled at the suggestion the Hogs could have done a little more with their "packages" than it actually showed. "Tonight, we didn't need to do it in the second half," Malzahn said. "We had a big lead then. We were running clock.

"We've got a lot more out of that formation. Of course, Darren is something that keeps them focused, but our line is really blocking well in that look."

McFadden said the same thing. He said playing quarterback is loads of fun with the way his line is mashing defenders.

"I have some big holes, really," he said. "We could have done some more of that, but we'll just save it for another day."

Ugoh, mostly the left tackle, wasn't sure if that unbalanced look makes him an eligible receiver. "To be honest, I don't know," Ugoh said. "I switch with Wes Murphy, our tight end. I know I might be uncovered (with no end) sometimes, but I haven't asked if I'm eligible."

Ugoh said he'd skip that for now. It's kinda like when I asked Malzahn who serves as McFadden's coach when he's at quarterback.

"I don't think you can say it's Alex Wood," Malzahn joked, referring to the UA quarterback coach. "Alex is not spending much time revving up Darren's arm. I'd say it's either me or Danny Nutt. I'd say we are both coaching him."

Yeah, but it still goes back to Mike Markuson, the O-line coach. It's his men that are flying under the radar and sliding around at different spots in secret.

"They couldn't stop that formation," Tubbs said. "We were wearing them out."

All the time, we just thought it was Darren McFadden.

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