As Alfred Lord Tennyson once wrote, "In the Spring a young man's fancy turns to football and the promise of a really good season in SEC play and beyond." Or something like that.
At any rate, spring football practice begins tomorrow, and with it comes the first steps of a 2010 campaign that has the potential to be one of the most enjoyable in a long time. To help celebrate the occasion, we did a Q&A exchange with one of our favorite sportswriters - Chris Bahn of Arkansas Sports 360. You can read Chris' excellent answers to our questions below, and then head over to AS360 to see how we responded to his questions.
Many thanks to Chris for his time and insights.
1. Every Razorback fan knows that the Hogs' biggest pain point last year was the defense. How are Bobby Petrino and Willy Robinson planning on addressing this, and in your expert opinion what should we expect from the D when it faces SEC competition next year?
Bobby Petrino told the Tulsa Razorback Club he expects the defense to rank in the "Top 20 nationally" this season. I’ve gone back and listened to the tape about 10 times just to make sure I heard that correctly. That’s a major jump in most statistical categories.
What I think Petrino and Robinson must be counting on is experience. have nine guys back at first-team spots on the two-deep that have started multiple games on defense. By the time the spring gets here they’ll add some potential difference-makers from the recruiting class that could improve depth and competition. Losing Malcolm Sheppard will hurt more than people think, but most other positions should upgrade, helping make up for his graduation.
Honestly, I’m not sure we’ll learn about this defense until the season starts. These guys can look good in practice, but until we know they can stop giving up big plays, I'm not going to be impressed.