If I had to sum up Saturday's game in one word, that word would be "predictable."
I'm not going to rattle off all the "I told you so" moments because it's really not that interesting. And believe me, I wanted to be wrong so bad. I wanted to spend my Saturday night chewing a big piece of crow.
However, there was one thing I was drastically wrong about. I thought this would be another Hog team that would make me want to stab my eyes out because they are so painful to watch. I was so wrong. This team is entertaining to watch, at least offensively.
Even in the second half, when the offense went stagnant, I didn't find myself saying to every player, "bless your heart" and "I know he is trying his best."
Well, I do still say those things to the defense, because, bless their hearts, they're trying their best.
I don't want to talk about the defense because it can't be fixed this season. Only two things can fix this defense. First is continuity at defensive coordinator. Four different coordinators in four years is the thing that I think the local media didn't talk about enough when they said that this defense would be better. Second thing that will fix the defense is better recruiting classes. That's it, that's all that can be done.
I do have two things that can be fixed.
Something that can be fixed is the conservative coaching decisions at certain times in the game. Twice, Bielema decided to punt from the AUBURN 35 YARD-LINE. I'm not saying kick a field goal, I'm saying go for it. Take that Big Ten diploma out of your pocket, rip it to shreds, and GO FOR IT. What do you have to lose at this point? Seriously, what do you have to lose? It's not like the defense was going to stop them (and they didn't).
Everyone knew this game was going to be a first team to 50 points wins type of game. Act like it. Nothing would back up Bielema's big talking bravado more than going for it on a couple of fourth downs when the opportunity presents itself. For the love of everything that is holy, I rather watch this team go down swinging than punting.
The other thing I would like to see change is taking the ball if Arkansas wins the coin toss. Stop it. Just stop. Two reasons I can't stand it. First, I can't tell you the last time the offense actually scored on it's first possession. At least when Houston Nutt did it, they would put together a great drive, only to kick a 25 yard field goal.
Second reason is that it sets up the other team for the back-to-back scores at the end of the first half and beginning of the second. It almost happened if it wasn't for #collegekickers.
But really think about it. This is a team that offensively is built on running the ball and controlling the clock. They are being set up for the other team to put 14 points on the board without the offense even seeing the field. When that happens, it doesn't matter who the three headed monster is in the back field. You'll have to throw the ball to try to get back in it.
Other than that, I was actually really happy with the Hogs performance and the coaching staff. I like Robb Smith's defense because I saw guys going for strips and turnovers.That's how Arkansas will eventually win a conference game. They aren't going to stop anyone, but if they force a couple of turnovers, that will be the game Arkansas finally wins. That wasn't something I saw under the previous defensive staff. They still can't tackle, but I don't think I've seen a decent tackling defense since 2011.
There is one issue where I feel I'm going against the grain.
I didn't see a problem with the play calling that others on social media seemed to have. Jim Chaney probably scripted the first drive based on what he thought would work coming out of halftime. Allen completed his first two passes of the half, but just for two yards. The third pass hit Demetrius Wilson right between the numbers and he dropped it. It would have been a sure first down. That's not a bad play call. That is poor execution of the play.
In the second drive, it was actually the rushing game that hurt the Hog offense. Allen completed two passes for 21 yards, while Alex Collins rushed for -2 yards on three carries. Collins rushed for -6 yards on a 3rd and 4. That's what killed the offense, not Allen's 4-5 for 24 yards (he should have been 5-5 for about 34 yards) in the first two drives of the third quarter. After that, the Hogs were so far behind they had to throw the ball.
I hope I can quit predicting the outcome of Hog games. It will make the rest of the season more enjoyable for all of us.
- Auburn Tigers 45, Arkansas Razorbacks 21: And Off We Go, Way Off In The 2nd Half
- Feel The Rhythm: Auburn
- Arkansas vs Auburn Reaction: A Shot of Wiscy with a Dose of Sigh
- Hog Trough Fancast #113 - 'Twas a Great Half, Coach!
- Arkansas' Assistant Coaches Stuck In Elevator At Halftime Of Auburn Game; Didn't Make It To Locker Room