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Arkansas Fight Panel Discussion: Previewing LSU

Talking weather, Korliss Marshall's return, the point spread, and more. Also, Grant Cook joins us again!

Butch Dill

1. Are you surprised Arkansas opened as a favorite? And that the line has slowly grown in Arkansas' favor?

Grant Cook: I am surprised that Arkansas opened as a favorite. We have obviously struggled down the stretch, played a lot of good teams very close but ended up on the wrong side of the W/L column. LSU has won some of those closer games.

Devan: Vegas has favored Arkansas a little bit since the Auburn game. They were a 20+ point underdog in that game, and they haven't been more than an ~9 point underdog since. I would've guessed this game would've been a pick 'em though.

Adam P: How could you not be? LSU is playing really well, and *mostly* winning. Arkansas is playing well and losing. We always play LSU well for the most part and being a home game, I can sort of understand the oddsmakers.

Mitchell: Absolutely! I think that people knew the game would be competitive, but I don't know how you make 4-5 Arkansas the favorite over 7-3 LSU. I'll take it of course, but I am a little bit surprised.

Mark: I am, actually. I figured it would open 1-3 the other way and perhaps tilt towards even. As owners of a 17-game SEC losing streak, being favored against a good team, regardless of circumstances, feels downright strange.

Josh: Like everyone else has said, it makes sense following a tough game against Alabama with a rested Arkansas team at their place that the Hogs would be favored. Not sure the last time they gave points at home to an SEC West opponent, but getting that W against LSU would be monumental.

Doc: I've always thought this game set up well for Arkansas. I'm surprised enough people like Arkansas that the line has moved in the Hogs' favor a bit. But, like Devan said, Vegas has shown a lot of respect for the Razorbacks this season.

2. How much of an advantage is it, if at all, for Arkansas to get to practice this week in weather much closer to the game forecast than LSU will be able to?

Grant: From a players prospective practicing all week in the conditions likely for gametime, allow you to focus on the task at hand versus the outside distractions such as weather. Arkansas players will have adapted to it by Saturday.

Mark: LSU's mental toughness will be tested this week, snow or no snow. But snow/ice/cold can only help us. It guarantees nothing, but potentially benefits us. Coming off an emotionally and physically exhausting OT loss to its most hated rival (and I believe Bama is LSU's Texas), licking its wounds only to realize it's got a flippin' wild Razorback to deal with (I mean that figuratively and of course, literally), and possible snow and ice to boot? (To boot...just caught that.) LSU's mindset has to be, "Are you kidding me?"

Josh: I think it could give an edge early but after a drive or two both teams will be ready to go. Turnovers could be a factor but the way this season has played out Im just not too confident the ball would bounce the Bielema/Arkansas way.

Adam P: I'm not sure that is the REAL advantage the Hogs might have in this game, but I think if it does favor anyone, it should favor Arkansas. SNOW BABY SNOW!

Mitchell: There is a lot of theory regarding weather that just doesn't quite have anything it back it up. I think the weather will affect someone on a person to person basis. Obviously, if there is any team that should gain an advantage from this it should be us.

Devan: I don't think it is really that much of an advantage. If there is any advantage it is that Arkansas has a coach that is accustomed to coaching in these conditions. This game is usually played in late November and it's usually a little brisk outside then too, maybe that's why Arkansas always keeps it close.

Doc: Arkansas has had success this season in scoring early. If the Razorbacks can get that early lead, you have to wonder whether the LSU players will have it in them to compete for 60 minutes. Maybe they will. It could excite them. Maybe they'll just want to get back on bus and go home.

3. What do you expect from the crowd on Saturday? Some think the weather will cause thousands to stay home and some think the weather will make it more electric than usual.

Grant: Thank God we live in Arkansas where camo hunting clothes are a plenty. I think with the history of this game, the battle of "The Boot," and Arkansas' chances of becoming bowl eligible with a win Saturday increasing dramatically, there will be butts in seats. From a players point of view with all that laying on the line having DWRRS live for a 7pm kickoff against the Tigers is huge!

Mitchell: The crowd will be there. Snow is fun! I'd kill to be at a game where we play LSU at HOME in the SNOW! The crowd should be there and DW should be rocking. Hog fans realize how important this game is to our season.

Adam P: Since I only went to the UAB game in Fayetteville this year, I can only hope this game has a better atmosphere than that homecoming game. I have to believe the Hog fans will turn out to make this one for the memory book. If it was in Little Rock, I could only imagine the amount of puke the janitors would be cleaning up for a 7pm game.

Mark: That's the 72,000 question. I think it'll be similar to Bama -- a few empties but lively and energetic. If the forecast holds up, then surely that'll chase a few. But the smell of blood in the water will overcome. It'd better, anyway. Football in the elements. Doesn't get any better, people. Suit up and come help us break the @#$*&%^ streak and get one game closer to extra practices in December.

Devan: It's going to be fun. Some won't come, as always but others will. I know being a student on campus, students are more excited for this game than they have been for any other one all year. Some of that has to do with Arkansas being the favorite, but regardless people are ready for this game. It may not be a capacity crowd, but it will be electric non the less.

Doc: It won't be a full crowd (unfortunately) but it will be a really fun crowd. Only the people who really want to be there will be there.

4. How big of an impact is Korliss Marshall's return?

Grant: This will be a huge factor, I think having those few weeks off allowed him some rest. Adding that speed into the backfield and on kick returns will be much needed, Jonathan and Alex - having some relief down the stretch, fresh legs coming in not allowing the run game to subside - will play into our advantage. Also, with Korliss as our home run threat the offensive line should realize that he has the ability to score it every time he touches the ball.

Josh: Having Marshall back should give the offense a key ingredient that it has been missing. Collins, and Williams do not have the speed that Marshall has and he could break a big play on kickoff returns to get the crowd energized.

Adam P: It all depends on how much play time he gets. However, another tool in the belt can't hurt. Just one more weapon to throw at a really good LSU defense.

Mark: Potentially huge. He's fresh, not banged up, and perhaps eager to please like a dog who got swiping the meat loaf off the buffet. We really need our "1C" option back.

Mitchell: It doesn't hurt having another player to take some of the load. It depends on what kind of responsibility the coaches decide to give him. He's been explosive at times, but he's also been a non-factor. It certainly isn't a negative.

Devan: Huge for the kick return game. Not sure how many touches he will get at running back, but he provides a spark with the kick return game that is not there otherwise.

Doc: Remember, he took one kick return to the house against LSU last year (although it was called back for a penalty) but the threat of it happening again exists. He certainly provides an additional weapon - weather he gets many opportunities remains to be seen.

5. Is this the type of game we should expect to be able to win on the ground or will we see Brandon Allen throw as much as he did against Alabama and MSU?

Grant: I think this late in the season you've got so much film out there that there aren't many surprises left on the table for either team. LSU knows that we are going to run the ball and they are going to try to stop that. They're going to try to put the game in Brandon's hands as much as possible, load the box and make him throw it to beat them. I think he is capable of doing so. Keeping the run game proficient will obviously help him be more effective through the highs and lows of this Saturday's game.

Josh: It had been my stance for a while now that putting Allen in a situation to throw the ball 30 times a game just is not what this team is built to do. He has to be efficient when given the opportunity to throw on play-action and in shots downfield on medium yardage downs. Either way could work out, throw early and then be able to run after they adjust coverage, or run it right at them and then play-action over the top. Arkansas did pretty well up to the last few drives against Mississippi State., but I have the feeling this is an "All In" kind of game for Bielema and Chaney. Would not be surprised to see some big shots downfield early on Saturday.

Adam P: LSU's secondary is damn good. We've got to change this "can't run in SEC games" if we want to win.

Mitchell: I don't know why I feel this way, but I think we will run all over LSU. Chalk the Hogs up for 250+ yards on the ground. I think Allen will throw a decent amount, but I'd be shocked if we didn't see smash-mouth football for 50 minutes of the game. Maybe with a sprinkle or two of something sneaky. We definitely need to lean on the run if we want to make this a win and our defensive line needs to bring the pressure!

Mark: We'll have to win it on the ground, but BA will have to be on when we do have to throw. Hello, 84. Hello, 11.

Devan: They are going to have to win this game on the ground. LSU's pass defense is really good, and if Brandon Allen has to throw it more than 25 times, the Hogs are in trouble. The Razorbacks should have some success running the ball. I expect this game to be similar to the Alabama game in that it is low scoring and extremely close up until the end.

Doc: Unlike Alabama and Mississippi State, LSU is more vulnerable on the ground than through the air. Arkansas will have to be successful running the ball to win the game. I'm not saying they'll need Texas Tech-like numbers, but they'll need better numbers than they had against those Bama and MSU. Hopefully Chaney won't get too pass-happy this week. At least both Bielema and Miles made reference on the SEC teleconference today that they expect a heavy run game from both schools. That plays to Arkansas' favor, I think.