What are bye weeks good for?
For players and coaches it offers a chance to recover physically and mentally. For the 2013 Arkansas Razorbacks both forms of recovery are much needed after losing by the now infamous combined "104-0" total to Alabama and South Carolina. For fans bye weeks give more time to ponder the what ifs, how did we get here, and where the hell did our season go's. If you follow any fan message boards, local sports radio shows etc, there is a high probability (almost as high as the chance B. Allen throws a pick vs Auburn) you have heard these discussions. Thankfully Arkansas plays Auburn, someone, anyone would be fine in order to end the continual overreaction/I told you so/blame Petrino/wait till year 3 discussion. At least some form of the discussion can be focused on the game itself. The better question for me is to ask what is the probability that 5/10 of the coaches at Auburn in 2013 would have coached at Arkansas previously? My answer is that this scenario is highly unlikely and rare.
Here is a short outline of these coaches who have be on the Arkansas staff and are on the current Auburn staff.
The Gus Bus
Coached at Arkansas in 2006. McFadden, Jones, Hillis and Hooty Nutt, we all know the story. Left for Tulsa, put up incredible offensive numbers in '07 and '08. Went to Auburn in '09. Went from 110th in scoring offense to 17th with a guy named Chris Todd at QB whose talent level was somewhere between notable Arkansas Qbs Ryan Sorahan, and Robert Johnson. In other words he was terrible, but still put up decent numbers until Cam Newton came in 2010 and helped push the Gus Bus to a National Championship while Chizik stayed out of the way.
Defensive Coordinator at Arkansas for less than 30 days. Realized that they had no Lbs or DBs, took the DC job at S.Carolina. Put together a decent defense except against Arkansas, Alabama, and Georgia. Left to be a HC at Southern Miss, went 0-12 and was hired by Malzahn at Auburn.
Played QB at Arkansas behind Matt Jones until career ending shoulder injury. Coached Qbs with Malzahn at Springdale then worked as a GA at Arkansas in '06. Went to Auburn with Malzahn as a GA and won a NC in 2010. OC at Samford 2011 and ASU in 2012. Current OC for Malzahn at Auburn.
Started at Arkansas under Houston Nutt in '07, survived the implosion and transition to Petrino. One of two holdovers including Bobby Allen. After Petrino Harley crash season of 2012 Horton was one of Malzahns first hires after taking offers from Bret Beilema to stay on at Arkansas.
Another old Arkansas High School coach like Malzahn. Coached at Nashville and Des Arc in 1977 and 1978. Graduate Assistant at Arkansas '81-'82, and again an assistant coach in '89-92 seasons. Coached Oline at several SEC schools including Missouri, Texas A&M, Mississippi St., Arkansas, and now Auburn. Has been coaching longer than Rhett Lashlee has been alive. (over 30 yrs)
2013 Auburn vs Arkansas
Against LSU, Auburn played sloppy in the first half falling behind 21-0. Had a good drive going and went for it on 4th down in LSU territory and fumbled. On 3rd and 2 Jeremy Hill runs through the a simple lead dive through the A gap for 49yds and LSU continued to pound the middle of the Auburn defense. "I think we tried to out-scheme them too much instead of just playing football," Auburn cornerback Ryan White said. "We tried to bring in an extra D-linemen on the run plays and we ended up getting gapped out."
Will Ellis Johnson make the same mistake, installing too many schemes and disguises against Arkansas or will he stick to base 4-2-5 schemes?
This is the look that Auburn will most likely line up in versus the Arkansas 2 back sets. It should allow Chaney to get some yards on the week side versus the wide DE.
Auburn fell behind as much as 28-7 late in the 3rd quarter. But due to some big plays from their WR's just running past the LSU secondary they were able to mount a comeback. It seems probable the same will hold true against Arkansas and they will struggle keeping the speedy Auburn WRS in front of them. If Chris Ash counters this and plays off, look for lots of screens, slants and quick game passes.
The wheel route diagrammed below is out of a slightly different formation, (Diamond) but exact same routes. With playaction in the backfield the Lbs freeze and let the back out of the backfield. Was a big play for Auburn in the Ole Miss, Miss St. and A&M games. Its the same concept that Petrino threw to Ronnie Wingo a lot during his time at Arkansas. Could be a big play for Auburn this year as well will the monumental struggles that the Arkansas linebackers have shown in coverage.