RazOrbaX Hot Points Checkup post-Ole Miss with game analysis

RazOrbaX Hot Points Checkup post-Ole Miss with game analysis

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I hate 11 a.m. games. It will make you cranky all day long. Tailgating and watching other teams play as a build-up to the Razorback kickoff is just the best. I understand the frustration LSU fans have this year because the Tigers will play ZERO conference games at night. While all the preparation for tailgating is work for my wife and sister-in-law and we are always up early Saturday to set up and the days are long, it is just not the same. Apparently, the Arkansas Razorbacks feel the same way about early games. Thank the Lord for the coaches' ability to adjust and for the playmakers on the field!

 

 Tusk wants acorns, a fast
start at Vanderbilt.

Coach Bobby Petrino had stated earlier in the week that he wanted a fast start. What I saw early was a quarterback trying to go too fast. After finally stopping the Rebels on their first possession, Arkansas took over from their 9-yard line against a 4-2-5 Rebel defense. While Keith Burns (secondary coach) is not the Ole Miss D-coordinator, it is the defense he brought to Arkansas in 1998.

On first down, Arkansas has Cobi Hamilton wide right and Joe Adams in the slot right. Jarius Wright is in the slot left with Chris Gragg at tight end. Hamilton runs an in route against man to man and is open at the 16. Adams is crossing to the left and is covered man to man while Wright is hooking up at the 18 against zone. Wilson takes the snap and almost immediately hits Gragg on a short out route for a 2-yard gain, second-and-8. The Razorbacks go no-huddle but substitute Austin Tate at tight end for Joe Adams. Hamilton is wide left this time with both Tate and Gragg to the right, Gragg in the tight slot right and Wright in the wide slot right. Dennis Johnson shifts position to right behind Tate, and the Hogs have a bunch formation tight right. Hamilton and Wright go deep taking coverage with them. Tate curls at 5 yards, and Johnson follows him then cuts across the formation at the line of scrimmage. Ole Miss brought a man from the secondary on a delayed blitz, and Chris Gragg runs an out route and is wide open. Wilson tries to hit Johnson but the ball is tipped, incomplete, third-and-8. Again with no huddle the HOGS line up with trip receivers to the right and Gragg at tight end on the left. Hamilton is wide in the slot and motions to stack behind Wright on the line of scrimmage. Both Hamilton and Wright go deep taking the man coverage with them. Johnson leaks out of the backfield the linebacker jumps him. Adams runs the shallow crossing route from right to left and has man coverage. Gragg runs a left to right crossing route at 6 yards and is WIDE OPEN. Wilson tries to squeeze it into Adams and the pass is incomplete. That kills the Razorbacks first possession.

Playing fast does not mean rushing! If Wilson had been a little more patient, first downs and checks were there for the taking.

What can you say about the defense? They look great one play and lost the next. Ole Miss was successful in the shotgun in an alignment just like Auburn. Blockers lined up right behind the tight end and a slot receiver on the opposite side coming in motion to the strong side of the formation. It seemed that Arkansas was always out flanked on the speed sweep, but if you check the stats, the Rebels did not do as well as thought. Only Bolden, who rushed for 68 yards and a 4.9 average, actually hurt the HOGS. When he tweaked his bad ankle, he was done for the day. Jake Bequette and Robert Thomas had their best games of the season. Thomas did not have a solo tackle but made a huge push to allow the linebackers to make plays. Trey Flowers is also coming on at end.

The Rebels actually hurt the Razorbacks through the air more than they did running the football. That does not bode well when the HOGS face South Carolina and Tennessee, but those are weeks away. Once again, the secondary gave up the deep ball and once again not seeming to be able to play the ball. I am not sure if it was the speed of the Rebels' young receivers, but when in man coverage, the cornerbacks were giving a 10-yard cushion. Surprisingly, Mackey, except for his TD run, only ran when the receivers were covered, but once again it hurt the HOGS. Even with all of the sweaty palms over the defensive play, Arkansas shut the Rebels down when it had to. Like Auburn, one of the Rebel touchdowns was on a short field. The last was irritating because the Ole Miss QB often scrambled for first downs, especially on fourth down. There are a lot of little things that the defensive coaches always seem to get worked out, but as a fan, you sure would like to see them from kickoff.

HOT POINT CHECK UP
OFFENSE
BE SHARP!
Arkansas must not let the week off dull the execution. No turnovers and penalties are a must. Not in the first half! But the second was pretty good. One fumble (at the goal line) and two penalties for 4 yards. The fumble hurt but the penalties did not.

CATCH THE BALL! Most Arkansas fans remember the last trip to Oxford. The talented Razorback receiving core dropped too many passes including a couple that would have been touchdowns. No drops this visit. Joe Adams made a great catch on Wilson's deep ball that lead to the tying touchdown.
SHOW YOUR FRESHNESS! They should have very fresh legs and need to show it. It took a couple of quarters, but Arkansas finally wore out the Rebels.

DEFENSE
FROM THE START!
The second half of the last two games the Arkansas defense has given up 3 points and 0 points. Add 7 to that number. The problem is the 17 in the first half.
DO NOT GET FAKED OUT! Randall Mackey can run and can pass. The Razorback defense must play their keys and not get flanked. Again, it took a half to contain the sweeps.
CONTAIN THE SPEED. The Rebels have some speed and you can bet the house that every play will be something to get the ball to that speed. Split ends Donte Moncrief and Nickolas Brassell, running backs Jeff Scott and Devin Thomas along with Mackey can all burn you on one play. The defense got burned a couple of times by the speed of the Rebels.

KICKING GAME
COVERAGE NOT THE KICKING IV
The Ole Miss speed guys are the kick returners and the Razorbacks need their best coverage game of the year. A great job by the coverage team from start to finish.

UP NEXT: VANDERBILT
Arkansas is 6-1 and ranked No. 10 in the BCS. While Razorback Nation should be rejoicing, there is grumbling. HOW NICE IS THAT! Expectations: It is great to have them! It beats being 4-3 and hoping to travel to Shreveport for a bowl game. Arkansas has a great opportunity to win 10 or more games. Remember Razorback fans, Arkansas has had back-to-back 10 win seasons only twice-1964 & 65 and 1988 & 89. Saturday morning in Nashville is another step, another test in opportunity to add 2010 & 2011 to that list. Last year against Ole Miss, Knile Davis broke out with 176 yards, his first 100-yard game of the season. Dennis Johnson gets 160 against Ole Miss this year. Will history repeat itself? Take care of business and big things are coming. Go Hogs!

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