As part of our ongoing public service to bring you, the Razorback fan, the best and most in-depth information about the Hogs and their opponents, we like to invite our fellow bloggers over to our little corner of the Internet to give us the scoop on their teams.
This week, we're pleased to present the wit and wisdom of Juco All-American from the Ole Miss blog Red Cup Rebellion. The RCR guys are known for bringing the snark on every play, as it were, and have even been known to say a few derogatory things about Arkansas (the team, state and fans) every now and then. So, we figured it would be a good interview and it was. Thanks to Juco for his time, and read on for all the details:
1. We're not experts on the subject, but it seems like the 2008 version of Jevan Snead may have been the victim of some sort of alien abduction during the offseason. Does the big game against UAB mean that the '08 Snead has returned, or is the jury still out?
Obviously you can’t judge much at all from one game, especially one against a team that ranks dead last in the country in pass defense. Jevan’s struggles have been a recurring first question among the Q&As we do each week. Let me say this. I think Jevan Snead, when given the proper talent around him, is exceptional. He can make incredible things happen with his arm. The problem comes when he doesn’t have adequate protection.
Jevan says that his favorite player, and the player after whom he models himself, is Brett Favre. It’s easy to see why. He relies heavily on his arm, and he thinks he can get out of bad situations by fitting the ball into tight windows. Sometimes it works. Often it doesn’t. But the bottom line is that when Jevan isn’t pressured, and has time to make his reads, he’s quite good. Unfortunately, we haven’t afforded him that luxury this season. Replacing Michael Oher was much more difficult than we expected. It turns out that Ed Orgeron didn’t like recruiting offensive linemen, and Houston Nutt hasn’t done a bang-up job there either yet.
Anyway, I digress. The jury is definitely still out on Jevan. If he is able to perform well against your secondary, which has been up and down this season, then I will be ready to say that he’s coming along.
2. Indulge us in a couple of hypotheticals: Why will the Rebels win on Saturday? Why will the Hogs?
I mean…they can’t both win. Essential to a hypothetical is the term, “if.” But anyway, I’ll infer it.
If the Rebels win Saturday, it will be because they played stellar defense, like they have all season, and adequate offense, like they have in three games. Obviously, Jevan Snead needs to get on track, but more than that the running game needs to perform better. Brandon Bolden, who many believe is an incredible talent, averaged 1.1 yards per carry against Alabama. Sure, a large portion of that was the fact that they were stacking the box and daring us to beat them with Jevan, but some of it lies on the terrible play of the offensive line, poor playcalling, and Bolden being unable to shake tackles and get upfield.
As for the defense, they need to try to match the success that Alabama, and Florida to some extent, had against the Razorbacks. Ryan Mallet is a significantly better quarterback in a significantly more offense-friendly system than the Rebels have seen all year. Any hopes to win rest on stopping Mallett. The Rebel offense will not win a shootout.
For the Hogs to win, they need to do only two things.
1. Pressure Jevan Snead: As discussed above, when he’s pressured, he makes ill-advised throws.
2. Capitalize off of mistakes: We’re going to make some. Arkansas can’t force turnovers and not take advantage of them like they were unable to do against Florida. If they want to win this one, they have to put the ball in the end zone.
Do both, or really either of those things, and Arkansas likely gets the W.
3. So far the Rebels have lost to a surprisingly good South Carolina team on the road and #1 Alabama at home. Given that those are perfectly respectable games to lose, has the whole "Ole Miss is a disappointment" meme been overblown, or is the team really not as good as fans had hoped?
Certainly our disappointment levels are higher than most teams looking at a 4-2 record with 6 very winnable games remaining. We shouldn’t be as disappointed as many of us are, but to suggest that a level of disappointment isn’t warranted is silly.
Before the season started, I ran a poll over at RCR that asked, “Of Which Games Are You Most Afraid?” When the results came back, the #1 team on our schedule was South Carolina. The second team was Alabama. I guess that has proven accurate thusfar. So I say all this to enumerate that many people saw these losses coming. It’s not as if we thought we were untouchable. Obviously, there were some idiots who predicted national championships, but that was a severe minority.
4. One and a half years into the Houston Nutt era, what is your assessment of him as a coach (pros, cons, etc)? Based on the season so far, is the Rebel fanbase at all unhappy with him, or is confidence still high?
These options are limiting. We can be unhappy with him while still having high confidence.
Here’s the thing. Houston Nutt helped our team to nine wins last year. None of us expected to even approach that. This season has gotten off to a bumpy start, but it’s still salvageable. If we win eight regular season games, fans will at least have to be somewhat satisfied. That’s definitely do-able.
I think that many expected a better year, but that’s just going to happen sometimes. Sometimes a team just isn’t as good as they were hyped to be. I’m not sure that’s Houston Nutt’s fault. It’s not as if he ever even mentioned the SEC Championship or anything when talking about this year’s team. The national media and the fans are the ones who built the team up so much. What’s funny is that none of us were there to see just how awful the offensive line was. Still, we just KNEW that we would win ten games. Hell…I even predicted as much in a season preview.
5. Final question: you're going out of town for the weekend and you need someone to watch the house and feed the pets. You have two options - Houston Nutt or Bobby Petrino. Which do you choose? For added degree of difficulty, try not to crack a"Petrino will leave to watch a different house" joke as part of your answer.
For the sake of the joke, we're going to use as many Houston Nutt and Bobby Petrino jokes as possible. Ready? GO!
Bobby Petrino would be a pretty good choice because he's an asshole. He's stern, cold, and rarely shows much enthusiasm, which would keep the pets in line and keep any sort of robbers or vandals at bay. Of course, he'll either take excellent care of your house before letting it fall into disrepair upon his departure (Lousiville) or be in over his head and burn a ton of bridges in the neighborhood before leaving under a shroud of controversy, leaving you to clean up his mess (Atlanta). Also, there's always the possibility that an easier, more attractive house-sitting job pops up and he abandons yours halfway through the week
Houston Nutt would also be a good choice. Most of my neighbors are idiots which means, for at least the first few moments of his house sitting tenure, they will all be head-over-heels for him. He is also a master-texter, meaning that, if something were to happen, the proper authorities could be notified almost immediately. The big problem though, is that my pet cat is named "quarterback." I hear Houston Nutt has a sick perversion towards killing quarterbacks. Also, Nutt is constantly stalked by crazy Arkansans and weather ladies so, in order to keep the house safe and free from intruders, he wouldn't be a good choice.