The Other Huddle: Arkansas

The Arkansas Razorbacks pay a visit to Starkville, Mississippi this weekend to take on the #1 ranked Mississippi State Bulldogs. The Razorbacks are in year two of the Bret Bielema era and enter the game with a record of 4-4. Dudley Dawson of HawgsIllustrated.com was willing to share his thoughts on the contest in this week's edition of The Other Huddle.

While the Razorbacks appear to be an improved team this fall in year two under Bielema, Dawson reports that the team has had some growing pains.

"Everyone was positive that things were trending upward until the second quarter against Georgia, who outscored Arkansas 31-0 as the Razorbacks shots themselves in the foot repeatedly," Dawson shared.

"That certainly brought about some frustration by a part of the fan base - albeit most of them realize there has been improvement made, but the schedule is just a killer one."

This weekend's game with the Bulldogs will be the fourth top ten opponent that the Razorbacks have had on the season.

Arkansas is getting it done on the ground and a pair of talented running backs will bring a unique set of challenges to the Bulldog the defense.

While Alex Collins was on everybody's five star list, his stable mate Jonathan Williams has been the big gainer this fall.

"Both are tremendous backs with NFL futures, said Dawson of the Arkansas tandem. "Alex Collins was the more ballyhooed during the recruiting process, but Jonathan Williams has been here an extra year and has been more consistent during this time. Less ups and downs and seems to hit the hole quicker instead of looking to bounce outside."

Razorback signal caller Brandon Allen has improve his numbers across the board this fall and looks to be a more complete quarterback than the Bulldogs saw a season ago.

"Brandon Allen is definitely improved, actually second in the league in terms of passing in the red zone," Dawson explains. "Still has to improve, misses targets at times, but gets more blame than he should because that's just how it works at quarterback - especially at QB.

"It is important to note that Bobby Petrino almost didn't redshirt as a true freshman as he pushed Tyler Wilson for the back up spot."

It has hard to talk about Arkansas without discussing the offensive line. The Razorbacks are long and strong along the forward wall, but it appears that the group is still looking for a sense of itself in SEC play.

"Biggest offensive line was in part because Sebastian Tretola was at 370 when he first arrived. He's now at 345 or so," said Dawson. "OL was dominant against non-conference foes, not as good against Alabama and Georgia - who both have very good defenses.

"Dan Skipper was playing great at the first of the year, but got some big penalties and has seemingly lost confidence and thus aggressiveness. This week should be interesting."

Mississippi State is riding a ten game winning streak that began last year against Arkansas. The Razorbacks will need to play one of their better games of the year if they are to pull the upset according to Dawson.

"Mississippi State is a team that has built from the ground, is a team that tremendous senior play and leadership and is playing with great confidence," said Dawson. "Arkansas is building and has some tremendous individual players, but a lot of them are young and there is not the depth at many positions that it needs.

"Arkansas will have to play its' best game of the year and have some help from MSU to win."


Gene's Page Top Stories