If there's one thing Hog fans can detect without the assistance of a Jefferson Pilot color analyst, it's a leaky defense.
No wonder then, when La.-Lafayette drove with ease on its first two possessions last weekend, a knot formed in the collective gut of Razorback Nation. We could already anticipate the sweaty second-half palms and the angst to come in that game and for the next three months.
Like a Houston Nutt smoke draw on third-and-long, it's a doom we're well-acquainted with, one we can sniff out from the faintest of clues. There's been enough of it on display in Fayetteville in recent years for even the most casual observers to spot the hallmarks: arm tackling, blown coverages and overall passivity.
We know these things from the anecdotal, but just to drive the point home, let's really dig down and wallow in the ugliness for a moment.
- Since 2003, Arkansas has finished in the top half of the SEC in total defense only twice; 5th in 2010 and 6th in 2006.
- The 2010 unit, the only defense in the last five years to finish higher than 9th in the SEC, was almost 5th by default, leading a big group in the middle by a slim margin. It was actually closer to 9th than it was to 4th.
- The Hogs have finished among the bottom four teams in the league in total defense seven times in the last 10 years.
- Last season, Arkansas was 12th (of 14) in points allowed, last in passing yards allowed, last in pass efficiency allowed and 12th in total defense.