RazOrbaX Scouting Report: Smithson's hot points vs. No. 1 Alabama
Arkansas vs. Alabama Pregame Hot Points
No. 1 comes to town
Saturday is the day Arkansas fans have waited on since Bobby Petrino arrived. Under Petrino's watch, the Razorbacks have grown bigger, stronger and faster. Now comes the opportunity to step to the SEC's upper echelon against the historically undisputed best of the SEC, Alabama. This is the game that let's us know if the defense is really better, that the special teams are the best in some time, and that the offense can compete against any defense in the country.
Biggest test yet for the defense
Goal-CONTROL THE BIG 5!
McElroy, Ingram, Richardson, Jones and Maze. McElroy leads the NATION in quarterback efficiency. McElroy, who torched the HOGS for 291 yards and three touchdowns, completed 70 percent of his passes last year. Ingram and Richardson comprise the best RB combination since McFadden and Jones. In last year's contest, they combined for 115 yards on 26 carries. Interestingly enough, Ingram only had 51 yards with a long of 14 and averaged just 2.9 per carry. Richardson had 65 but 52 came on one play. Julio Jones caught a 50-yard pass, and Marquis Maze hauled in an 80-yard TD. Arkansas must disrupt McElroy and contain Ingram, Richardson, Jones and Maze.
Goal-GET OFF THE FIELD!
It will be a four-quarter game so the defense must get some quick exits. A few three-and-outs and turnovers will do nicely.
Goal-MAKE PLAYS IN THE SECONDARY!
The Razorbacks were close to making some plays last week against Georgia, but this week MUST MAKE some plays. When the ball and the defender arrive at the same time, the receiver must not make the catch.
Continue to grow the kicking game
Goal-BUILD ON WHAT YOU HAVE DONE!
The special teams have been very good so far. If Tejada, Breeding and Hocker continue that, Razorback Nation will be ecstatic. Joe Adams will be on the Alabama's punt coverage team's mind. Georgia quit kicking to him late last week, and it hurt them.
For the offense, now is the time!
Goal-FOLLOW THE LEADER!
Ryan Mallett must be the man. He must make good reads and checks. He has completed 70 percent of his passes this year but has thrown behind receivers a little too often. This game needs to be HIS GAME.
Goal-PLAY NASTY OR YOU WON'T PLAY
That's a (UA O-line coach) Chris Klenakis quote, and it's time the offensive line do just that. Arkansas must protect Mallett first and make some running lanes second.
Goal-MAKE EVERY OPPORTUNITY COUNT
Once the HOGS cross midfield, they must score. The Razorbacks cannot leave chances to put points on the board on the field.
In trying to put this game into perspective, I think back to the SWC days when Arkansas played No. 1 Texas all those times. I remember reading the stats after some of the Arkansas' victories and wondering how the HOGS did it because the numbers favored Texas. Looking at the performances so far makes Alabama look unbeatable. But this game will not be mailed in by the numbers. Two football teams with great leaders will slug it out Saturday. Vince Lombardi said, "I firmly believe that any man's finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle - victorious." For Bobby Petrino and the Arkansas Razorbacks, that time is now!