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Fast Break Football

As noted earlier, the ULM game on Saturday was a perplexing one. What to make of a team that was so sloppy for much of the time, yet ended up with with a performance that (on paper, at least) looked fairly dominant?

After pondering it a bit, an explanation hit me: rather than looking to past football teams as a precedent, a more apt comparison for this year's Razorbacks (offensively, at least) might be Nolan Richardson's basketball teams of the early 90s. For those of you old enough to remember, how many times did you watch those Hogs muddle around against an inferior team, only to suddenly blow them out of the gym with a furious run?

Basketball is a sport more commonly associated with sudden bursts of scoring - think Todd Day or Scotty Thurman getting hot and hitting 3 after 3 against a hapless opponent - but the 24 points put up by Ryan Mallett & Co in a flurry over the last quarter and a half would have made Nolan proud. Thinking of these Hogs as a fast-breaking team that scores in bunches is probably a more accurate mental model than anything in the traditional football vocabulary.

Of course, those great basketball teams also had the ability to rise to the occasion and go nose-to-nose against the better foes, which is something this year's Razorbacks hasn't proven yet. They'll get the opportunity soon enough, will they do?