The season's schedule looks to be
another hard for the hogs, hosting last year's national runner-up USC out of the
gate on Sept. 2 prior to a meaty conference schedule that includes match ups
This year's Razorback offense returns 10 players with experience on offense, with the lone gap to fill being found at right tackle.
Two of the key returnees to the Arkansas offense this year are the rushing tandem of fullback Peyton Hillis (6-2, 233, Jr.) and tailback Darren McFadden (6.-2, 210, So.). Hillis rushed for 315 yards and three touchdowns in the fullback role last season, while McFadden was the team ground leader with 1,113 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Hillis was also led the hogs in receptions last season with 38, which he took for 402 yards and four touchdowns.
The Hogs return another 2005 receiving leader this season in split end Marcus Monk (6-6, 227, Jr.), who led the team with 476 receiving yards and seven touchdown catches last year.
Leading the offense will be Casey Dick (6-2, 211, So.) at quarterback. Dick started in the final four games of the 2005 season, where he threw for 584 yards and seven touchdowns with four interceptions.
The hogs landed the nation's top quarterback prospect this year in Mitch Mustain (6-3, 200), who will be under the guidance of his former high school coach, Gus Malzahn, the new Arkansas offensive coordinator. Mustain originally planned on red shirting his freshmen season, but could may play a potential role this season should Dick need help at quarterback.
Returning to spearhead the offensive line is left guard Stephen Parker (6-4, 310, Sr.), who started off as a walk-on prior to the 2004 season and since then has started in 21 consecutive games before missing last years LSU meeting.
Zac Tubbs (6-6, 335, Sr.) looks be entering in to the right tackle position this season, after missing much of the past two seasons due to injury.
At tight end, the hogs bring back Wes Murphy (6-3, 265, Sr.), who started in five games, including the final three, last season but hauled in just one reception.
On the defensive front line, the
hogs will bring back starters at all four positions, with Marcus Harrison (6-3,
315, Jr.) and Keith Jackson (6-0, 300, Sr.) at the tackles, and Jamaal Anderson
(6-6, 268, Jr.) and Anthony Brown (6-6, 235, Sr.) playing end. Harrison, Jackson
and Anderson were all starters at the close of last season, while Brown started
in the first six games in 2005 before being sidelined against
The Razorbacks will also return three linebackers from last year's team, including Sam Olajabutu (5-9, 229, Sr.), who lead the defense in tackles with 118, and Desmond Sims (6-3, 226, Sr.), with a team high 5.5 sacks this past season.
Chris Houston (5-11, 178, Jr.) and
Veteran Jacob Skinner will return at punter this fall. Skinner averaged 31.8 yards per punt last season.
Returning kicks will be Felix Jones (6-0, 202, So.), who returned 17 kickoffs last year with one touchdown. Starting fullback Peyton Hillis is slated to be the hogs punt return man, averaging 10.3 yards per return last year.
All-Time Series: 32-17-2
1901, LSU 15,
2005, LSU 19,
93-62 overall, 13 years
2005 in Review: 4-7, 2-6 SEC
Final '05 Ranking: Not ranked
Off. / Def. Systems: Multiple / 4-3
Returning Starters: 20; 10 offense, 9 defense, punter
Last Conference Championship: 1989, Southwest Conference
Total Offense: 360.6 (6th - SEC / 66th - NCAA)
Rushing Offense: 216.9 (1st - SEC / 12th - NCAA)
Passing Offense: 143.7 (11th - SEC / 108th - NCAA)
Scoring Offense: 25.7 (6th - SEC / 65th - NCAA)
Total Defense: 341.9 (9th - SEC / 34th - NCAA)
Rushing Defense: 132.5 (6th - SEC / 35th - NCAA)
Passing Defense: 209.4 (9th - SEC / 45th - NCAA)
Scoring Defense: 24.6 (10th - SEC / 54th - NCAA)
Turnover Margin: -1 (6th - SEC / 65th - NCAA)
Rushing: Darren McFadden – 176 rushes, 1113 yards, 11 TD
Passing: Robert Johnson – 158-89-6, 876 yards, 5 TD
Receiving: Peyton Hillis – 38 catches, 402 yards, 4 TD
Tackles: Sam Olajubutu – 110 tackles (67 S, 43 A)
Date Opponent '05 Result
S-2 USC L, 70-17
S-16 at Vanderbilt L, 28-24
O-21 Ole Miss W, 28-17
O-28 Louisiana-Monroe W, 44-14
N – 25 LSU L, 19-17
VIEW FROM THE OTHER SIDE:
The question centers around quarterback, where true freshman Mitch Mustain, the consensus national prep player of the year, will battle returnees Casey Dick and Robert Johnson, both starters for stretches last season.
End Jamaal Anderson, tackle Marcus
Harrison and linebacker Sam Olajubutu lead the defense, perhaps UA's best since
coach Houston Nutt's first season. There are eight home games on a favorable
schedule, but the Hogs better be ready early.
One of the mysteries this year will be the Hogs' offensive style of play. Will the plays be akin to what Nutt called the last few years with a heavy emphasis on the run, or will the Hogs gravitate to the no-huddle system favored by new offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn? Either way, the Hogs should be better and finish with a winning season after 4-7 and 5-6 campaigns the last two years.
- Clay Henry, HawgsIllustarted.com