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Not Ready for Prime Time

It's been a long day here at Arkansas Expats Inc. We spent much of it hiring a plane to fly a "Fire Petrino" banner over the U of A campus and filing a Freedom of Information request for Willy Robinson's cell-phone records.

I kid.

I'm excited about the future of the Razorbacks under Bobby Petrino but last night was a sobering reminder that the hoped-for glory days may be farther down the road than we'd like. Yes, Ryan Mallett is, amazingly, exceeding expectations. And the depth of talent that the Hogs have at wide receiver is impressive indeed.

But, man, the Hogs' defense is bad. The unit appears to be capable of accomplishing a feat previously not thought possible: being worse than last year's defense.

And this may not be garnering as many headlines as the defensive woes, but Arkansas' largely ineffective running game so far is also a big cause for concern (could Broderick Green have been more unimpressive in his first two games?). I love watching Mallett and crew air it out as much as anyone, but it's deflating to think that may be our only reliable offensive tactic.

I know, I know - it's just one game. And maybe Georgia will turn out to be a much better team than the Bulldogs appeared to be before last night's game. But when I take a cold-blooded look at this team's strengths and weaknesses, it's easy to think Rasputin's prediction of a 7-5 overall record and 3-5 SEC record is a tad optimistic (side note: I'm really regretting my vow to eat live worms on TV if the Hogs fall short of those marks).

And you know what? That's OK. Petrino was handed a program woefully short of SEC-caliber talent, and it's just going to take some time to get to where we all want to be. Rome wasn't built in a day, and apparently it's going to take more than two seasons to build a defense capable of handling SEC schools not named Mississippi State (come to think of it, we couldn't even stop them last fall, could we? Oh boy).

I remain confident in the football program. The basketball program, on the other hand ...