No doubt many fans have found reason to be both encouraged and discouraged with the Razorbacks performance this season. Some positives were found in the Auburn game, not many but there were some signs of a team that was still competitive at the end. Moving forward the road does not look much easier against Ole Miss. Hugh Freeze has a young team that looks much like the Auburn team that dismantled Arkansas last week in a fashion like a kid saying "Look ma I can win with no passes (9 attempts)".
Dave Wommack (D Coordinator at Ole Miss) runs the same 4-2-5 Defensive scheme as Ellis Johnson at Auburn. Almost a mirror image on that side of the ball and I expect the same results for Arkansas on Offense. Struggling to pick up 3rd down conversions, being pressured in passing situations, and relying on the running game to break long runs.
Ole Miss Offense:
Freeze has 4 quality WRS (Moncrief, Treadwell, Logan, Engram) that are all capable of breaking a big play. Against LSU and A&M the Ole Miss Offense threw more short, quick passes and were able to effectively run the ball. Ole Miss has been ridiculously efficient on 3rd Downs converting 11 out of 18 against LSU. A big part of this is due to the dependable WRS and the ability to throw the ball in short yardage situations. Treadwell, a Freshmen is difficult to stop on routes over the middle and will be a mismatch for Arkansas.
Heres an example that I think we will see a number of times. Arkansas has struggled with their LBS and Secondary in coverage, and there is no doubt that Bo Wallace (poor mans Johnny Football) and his 62% completion rate will look to isolate Braylon Mitchell, Brooks Ellis, and Jarrett Lake in coverage over the middle.
This play is just a simple "Sticks" play from Shotgun 5 Wide. Moncrief and the opposite reciever on the outside both run a route up the sideline drawing coverage with them. Ja-Mes Logan ends up catching the pass for a first down, and Hugh Freeze runs the same play twice more in a row. Freeze is known for repeating a play that works until it is stopped and will most likely get that opportunity against Arkansas as well.
After watching the 2013 Razorbacks its difficult not to look at the 5 WRS that Ole Miss has and not wish for at least one or two similiar that could stretch the field in addition to Javonte Herndon.
A football season develops from week 1 to the last game, players improve, regress, get injured etc. Gameplans are built around what works, and Auburn showed a blueprint (so did Alabama, A&M, Florida, and Rutgers) of how to run the ball on the Razorbacks. Below is a play that Ole Miss will likely run 15-20 times on Saturday.
This is the Ole Miss version of the Power-O play. Whether it is Scott, Mathers, or Walton in the backfield really doesnt matter. The key blocks come from:
- Pulling guard-leads through the B-Gap into the Strong side LB
- H-Back- Must seal the DE and keep him from crashing inside
- Play side Tackle- Must Arc block and wall off the MLB as he pursues with the pulling guard.
The RB has several options after getting past the first level, either bounce outside to the sideline or cut back and attempt to split the safeties down the middle like Jaylen Walton was able to and put Ole Miss up 24-14 going in to the 4th Q vs LSU.
How can Arkansas win?:
Starve Moncrief- Donte Moncrief is their go to reciever. LSU played two deep safeties most of the game and he still had 5 catches and over 100yds. If he can be contained the Razorbacks have a shot at keeping it close.
Stop the run(more realistic slow it down)- Arkansas was unable to stop the Zone Read vs Auburn, and will have the same outcome if they can not stop the Ole Miss running game. Mixed with some zone read, outside zone runs, and sweeps, it is a daunting task, but Coach Bielema will gain some much needed momentum if he can do it.
Auburn, Alabama, and A&M had some success pressuring Bo Wallace with blitzes from the field. If Arkansas can get to him and force some turnovers the result may be much better this week.