Arkansas Football 2001 Preview

This is the another segment in a series of previews on every SEC football and basketball team.

Arkansas Razorbacks

Coach: Houston Nutt
2000 Record: 6-6
Returning Starters: 7 Offense, 8 Defense

All-Star Candidates: RB Cedric Cobbs, OL Kenny Sandlin, DB Ken Hamlin, P  Richie Butler.

2001 Schedule
Aug. 30 UNLV@
Sep. 8 Tennessee
Sep. 15 North Texas
Sep. 22 at Alabama
Sep. 29 at Georgia
Oct. 13 South Carolina@
Oct. 27 Auburn
Nov. 3 at Ole Miss
Nov. 10 Central Florida
Nov. 17 Mississippi State
Nov. 24 at LSU
@Little Rock, AR

Strengths: Good personnel at running back, offensive line, one of the best secondaries in the SEC.

Weaknesses: Linebacker is thin. Special teams, wide receiver.

Key Game: Sept 8, Tennessee; an early home game with the Vols will set the tone for the season.

Coach McNutt says:

"First I want make sure there are not near as many injuries as last year.   This is the toughest conference in America, average eight to nine bowl teams every year.

"We lose Quentin Caver, J.J. Jones, and we lost three seniors in the middle.   On the offensive line we have three seniors coming back, and we want keep them on field. Tight end was an area of concern last year, and it became a  bigger concern when J. Strain went down. He made it all the way through spring, and we expect him be an impact player on this football team.  Receiver, none of these names stand out, but we are excited to have a group like Sparky Helms, Sam Breeden, Richard Smith. All of these guys have the potential to put up big numbers.

"Quarterback is a reason to pick me last, but that's okay since you've
picked me last every year but one. In this league, you need a quarterback  who is quick at the trigger to make decisions. Robby and Zak have been through a year, and it will be a year better, hoping Hampton gets back to 100 percent. Zak has really stepped up, getting his weight up to 208 pounds.

"The last area of concern is kicker. We have to have a kicker who will be consistent. We still believe in Brennan O'Donohoe. He has a strong leg, but I think Richie Butler made big strides, really helping us beat Mississippi State and LSU.

Overall projection: The Razorbacks have some good talent but games at LSU, Georgia, Alabama, and Ole Miss will make it tough to be a contender in the SEC West.  Throw in home games against Tennessee and Auburn and it's obvious the hogs will have their hands full.  Arkansas will score a stunning upset over one of the previous mentioned teams.  Expect 5-7 wins from the hogs.


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