Well, ladies and germs, it’s that time again. The countdown is now down to hours and your Arkansas Razorbacks will kick off the 2013 season against Louisiana-Lafayette, or “Louisiana” as they’ll be referred to from here on out. (Editor's note: U-LaLa is always acceptable)
It will be a day of debuts or the Hogs. The team received a full makeover this offseason nearly from top to bottom.
The most obvious debut is Bret Bielema and the new staff. After a few years of Bobby Petrino’s high octane offense, we can expect to see some of the Bielema’s Wisconsin influence of ground and pound, power football. Which is good, considering the receiver issues. New OC Jim Chaney ran a Petrino-esque offense last year at Tennessee where they averaged 315.6 yards/game and ranked second in the conference with 475.9 yards/game in total offense. Some kind of balance of the two philosophies can be expected, and we’ll find out tomorrow.
Chris Ash will be commanding the defense after following Bielema from Wisconsin. Hopefully the defensive play of the Petrino era is a thing of the past. Ash has some fun toys to play with, particularly up front in Chris Smith and Trey Flowers. They’ll be tested early against Terrance Broadway, Louisiana’s dual-threat quarterback. As we know, defending dual threat passers has been an Achilles’ heel of the Arkansas defense for a long time. Let’s hope they can reverse the trend starting tomorrow.
The on-field director of the new offense is redshirt sophomore quarterback Brandon Allen. Allen has seen playing time before, but he will debut as Arkansas’ starting quarterback tomorrow with big shoes to fill. Allen played in five games last year with one start and finished 21-of-49 with 186 yards and a touchdown. Allen won’t have as decorated a group of receivers as his predecessors, but he will have some talented guys to hand the ball to, speaking of which...
Tomorrow will mark the highly anticipated debut of new fan favorite Alex Collins. The 5-11, 207 freshman will be the number two back behind new starter Jonathan Williams, whose debut as the starter is another thing to watch. The pair of running backs has been the most highly-touted aspect of Arkansas' offense, and Collins in particular has become a fan favorite since announcing his commitment to Arkansas last February. Tomorrow will give the five-star signee his first chance to dazzle the fan base on the field.
The wait officially ends tomorrow, 3:00 PM CT. It’s here, we made it.