Well, Hog fans, it may feel like we've already been through a season's worth of damage, but it's only Week 5 and, to quote the fight song: "On your toes, Razorbacks, to the finish, carry on with all your might!" to the finish. John L. is here to stay, for the season at least, and all the Hogs can do is fight, fight, fight!
To fight competitively, however, something's got to change. The passing game is fine, obviously a 420 passing yard game to a receiver with 303 yards receiving should be enough to pull a team to victory. Much less against a Big East team. The run game, on the other hand, has been absolutely dreadful. Mainly because Paul Petrino refuses to stop running a broken Knile Davis. Davis has yet to return to his impressive 2010 form, a preseason Heisman candidate coming in this season, he has 208 yards and 2 touchdowns after 4 games, and averages a meager 3.3 yards/carry. That is absolutely unacceptable and it isn't going to beat anyone. I understand coming back from missing 18 months of football, maybe we had too high of expectations for his return. It doesn't help at all that he boasted during the SEC media days that he was the best back in the conference.
JLS said to expect more Dennis Johnson from here on out. Hopefully that means a lot more Dennis Johnson. If you were to take off names and numbers and just watch Johnson and Davis side-by-side, you'd think the 5"9' bowling ball from Texarkana was the Heisman candidate. Johnson is averaging 6.7 yards/carry this season and has only been limited by play calling. With just 22 carries on the year, Johnson is definitely taking a backseat with the coaches, compared to Davis' 64. Now, it's easy to blame a very porous O-line for the lack of a run game, they are probably as much to blame for Davis' slow start as anyone. Yet, Johnson runs behind the same O-line, he hits the holes (or cracks) much harder, and more often than not winds up dragging entire defenses a few extra yards as he finally falls to the ground. Hopefully DJ running the ball more will provide some extra motivation for Davis. Look guys, I don't care who's running the ball, as long as someone's getting the job done.
Of course, there's also that tiny defensive problem we've had all year, although with a balanced offense, we may be able to win despite the defense. The D-line looked better against the run last week, though the unit as a whole continues to allow opposing offenses and quarterbacks to break records. This week against Texas A&M, the Hog's defense faces Mega-Kolton Browning in Johnny Manziel. Manziel can run and pass, his 262 yards rushing this year eclipses that of either Arkansas tailback. There may be good news for the Hog defense, however; Christine Michael, who gashed the unit on the ground with 230 yard's last season, is listed as the 3rd team tailback. In Sumlin's air-it-out offense A&M's Johnny Football will likely break some record this weekend, as there doesn't appear to be any answers for the Hog's defense.
There you have it, folks, Arkansas faces a tough foe this weekend, a foe who's got 3 years of anger bottled up and is just itching to open a can of poetic justice laced whoop @#$ and, um, "gig" the fallen Razorbacks. Hopefully DJ can spark something in the running game this week and force an honest defense. I like Tyler Wilson's chances against an honest defense. Not that I wouldn't like his chances over almost any defense, but one that has to respect the run could provide easy pickings for Wilson. Perhaps the defense will find a way to ban together and turn things around this week, let's hope, anyway. Regardless, this team is too talented to roll over, no matter what happens, and our support of them should, ahem, never yeild. For it's A-A-A-R-K-A-N-S-A-S for Arkansas, fight! Fight! Fight!