Hogs gone wild

Many college football teams are utilizing a direct snap to the tailback in their offensive arsenal this season. But nobody does it quite like Arkansas, Tennessee's opponent this Saturday at Neyland Stadium.

There's a very simple reason for that: The "Wild Hog Package" features a direct snap to the finest player in college football, Darren McFadden. No other team in the land has that benefit.

"Everybody's doing a little bit of that (direct-snap) stuff," Tennessee defensive coordinator John Chavis noted this week, "but nobody can put anybody back there and snap the ball to 'em that has his kind of speed and his ability to run the football. We haven't seen that."

Utilized both as a direct-snap tailback and as a traditional I-formation tailback, McFadden rushed for an SEC record-tying 321 yards last weekend vs. South Carolina. The Gamecocks couldn't contain him, so how on Earth will the defensively challenged Vols do so?

"We've got a method to the madness, and our guys understand our scheme," Chavis noted. "They understand when they've got the freedom to go and they understand when they're going to have to motor down. The biggest thing is that guys know when they can cut it loose and go make plays, and we're going to have to do that this week. We're going to have to go make plays, and that's going to be a big part of us being successful ... if we are."

The Vols were not successful stopping McFadden last year. He rushed for 181 yards and two touchdowns in a 31-14 Hog victory at Fayetteville.

Making the Wild Hog Package even more potent is the fact McFadden, a former high school quarterback, is a capable passer. He has completed 10 of 14 career throws for 147 yards, with exactly half of his completions (five) producing Razorbacks' touchdowns. He threw one of those TD passes in last year's game with UT.

"Number five (McFadden) throws the ball as well as any of them," Tennessee secondary coach Larry Slade noted earlier this week. "There's always that threat. They're always going to have two or three trick plays, and they've been very successful with them. It's always a challenge."

Providing a glimmer of hope for Tennessee is the fact the Vol defense shut down Georgia's tailback tandem of Knowshon Moreno (30 yards) and Kregg Lumpkin (26) earlier this season. Still, Moreno and Lumpkin don't pose the same threat as McFadden and his superb backup, Felix Jones.

"This will be a totally different scenario in terms of the backs we'll be playing, even though Georgia's backs were really good," Chavis said. "It's a different team, a different philosophy, a little bit different scheme.

"You've got to tackle well, you've got to make sure all of your gaps are taken care of and you've got to have 11 guys playing well. If 10 guys are doing a great job and one guy is getting blocked or losing his battle, it can end up being a big play."

Arkansas broke a bunch of big plays in last Saturday's 48-36 defeat of South Carolina, gashing the Gamecocks for 541 rushing yards. That got the attention of UT head coach Phillip Fulmer.

"We cannot give up chunks of yards like South Carolina did," the Vol coach said. "We've got to contain those guys the very best that we can.

"You flip on the Arkansas-South Carolina film, and it is unbelievably impressive from an Arkansas offensive standpoint. You watch how they totally manhandled a South Carolina defense that we thought was pretty good."

Asked if the return of first-team defensive tackle Demonte Bolden from a one-game suspension will help against the running Razorbacks, Fulmer replied:

"Yeah. We need about six of those guys."


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