Scouting Report: Arkansas Offense

Bret Bielema brought his B1G-style offense to Arkansas, and the Razorbacks have become one of the top rushing teams in the SEC. Leading up to Friday's game, TSD will preview the Razorbacks on both sides of the ball, and today the Arkansas offense goes under the microscope.

Before No. 15 LSU (8-3, 4-3) kicks off its final game of the regular season against Arkansas (3-8, 0-7), TSD is previewing the Hogs on both sides of the ball. Tomorrow I'll take a look at the Razorback defense, but today I'll examine Bret Bielema's new run-heavy offense in Fayetteville.


QB: Brandon Allen (So., 6-3, 218)
RB: Jonathan Williams (So. 6-0, 222) OR Alex Collins (Fr. 5-11, 206)
FB: Kiero Small (Sr., 5-10, 242)
WR: Keon Hatcher (So., 6-2, 210)
WR: Javontee Herndon (Sr., 6-1, 197)
TE: Hunter Henry (Fr., 6-6, 250)
LT: David Hurd (Sr., 6-6, 318)
LG: Dan Skipper (Fr., 6-10, 317)
C: Travis Swanson (Sr., 6-5, 315)
RG: Denver Kirkland (Fr., 6-5, 345)
RT: Brey Cook (Jr., 6-7, 330)

Notable Backups: WR Julian Horton (Sr., 6-1, 205), TE Mitchell Loewen (So., 6-4, 272)

There's no question what Arkansas' focus is offensively. Bielema brought his powerful ground attack from Wisonconsin to Arkansas, and the Razorbacks have developed one of the top rushing offenses in the country. They rank fifth in the SEC with 211.1 rushing yards-per-game, and they've eclipsed the 200-yard mark in seven games this season.

Arkansas has run it at least 40 times in five games this season, including more than 50 attempts in each of the year's first three games.

The Razorbacks are led on the ground by Jonathan Williams and Alex Collins, who's one of the top freshmen running backs in the country. Collins became the first true freshman back to record three-straight 100-yard games to open his career since Adrian Peterson in 2004. Collins is two yards shy of reaching the 1,000-yard mark for the season, and Williams isn't far behind at 842.

Also keep an eye on FB Kiero Small, who's racked up 145 rushing yards and a pair of touchdowns this season.

But the Hogs' rushing attack can be contained. Both Rutgers and Florida held Arkansas well-below its season average with 101 and 111 rushing yards respectively.

When Arkansas can't run, it becomes an even larger issue considering how inefficient they are through the air. The Razorbacks rank dead last in the conference with 145.8 passing yards per game. Their pass efficiency of 106.1 leads only Tennessee in the SEC.

Brandon Allen has had his struggles this season (USA Today)
Sophomore quarterback Brandon Allen has played a large part in that inefficiency. Allen's completed just 109 of his 229 pass attempts, including nine interceptions and 11 touchdowns. He's an easy scapegoat for the Razorbacks' one-dimensional offense, and Arkansas fans even took to egging his truck after the tough loss last week against Mississippi State.

Allen doesn't have many weapons to throw to, but Javontee Herndon, Keon Hatcher and freshman TE Hunter Henry have all been serviceable in the few instances they do throw it.

Herndon leads the team with 29 catches and 420 receiving yards with four touchdowns. Only Henry, Hatcher and Williams, the RB, have multiple TD catches this season for the Razorbacks.

But Henry has been a pleasant surprise for this team at tight end. The freshman is the only TE in the conference with a 100-yard receiving game this season, and at 6-6, 250, he could present a challenging matchup for the LSU linebackers or secondary.

In order to run the ball like Arkansas does, they need that big offensive line to take control of the trenches. With each lineman weighing at least 315 pounds, the Tigers' defensive line will have its hands full, but some of the quicker guys like Jermauria Rasco and Danielle Hunter could have success.

Senior center Travis Swanson leads the unit, as he's started every game of his Arkansas career. Freshmen Dan Skipper and Denver Kirkland entered the starting lineup midseason and have remained in each of the last seven games.

While this offensive line has mostly just paved the way for Arkansas' strong rushing attack, they also do a good job of keeping the quarterback clean. Opponents have only registered seven sacks this season against the Razorbacks.

The question will be whether Arkansas's mostly vanilla offense can fool LSU DC John Chavis enough to be effective. The last time LSU faced an offense this one-dimensional was against Florida, who the Tigers held to just 240 total yards of offense.


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