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Arkansas Panel Discussion: Where Do The Razorbacks Go From Here?

Gathering our contributors' opinions on the topics of the week.

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

1. There's plenty to be concerned about after the Toledo game, but what do you think is the biggest concern?
Josh: The interior offensive line, and the fact Toledo used the exact game plan up front that Georgia used. Pittman and Bielema have gotten too fancy with the blocking schemes and just need to let these guys line up and block straight ahead on inside zone, lead, power.

Robert: The front 4 on defense.  We only have 1 sack in 2 games.  The defensive line is not pressuring opposing quarterbacks.  The good news is they are getting some tackles for loss, but only 3 in the Toledo game.  We also failed to sack Toledo's QB against an offensive line that only had one player that had ever started before.

Adam F: The run game, definitely. What a fall from grace.  Seemingly out of nowhere the Hogs find themselves totally unable to execute the core of Bielema's offensive philosophy. The kicking game - both field goals and punting - are a concern, but everything is secondary to the collapse of the run game.

Jamie: Inability to run the ball.  That’s this team’s entire identity and we flat out can’t do it right now.

Graham: The inability to shove the run down the throats of lesser opponents. How are the behemoths that moved the ball last season against far superior teams now incapable of doing so? The defense has not embarrassed itself so far, but the offensive line is of great concern moving forward.

Ryan: This isn't the biggest but I think it's one that might not get mentioned. He's starting his 3rd season on campus and Hunter Henry still can't block without holding. They just need to move him to the slot if he still can't block after several years in campus.

Adam P: Besides the obvious kicking game, I've got to go with the running game, as well. I refuse to believe Alex Collins all of a sudden has lost it, or never had it at all, and was merely "helped" by Jonathan Williams. Did the changing of positions make us lose our physical style of play, as well?

Mitchell: The biggest concern is how our play calling is going to be against TTU. After Toledo, our coaches promised to run the ball better. Now are we going to do the opposite and run the ball too many times behind an unprepared run blocking O-Line?

Scottie: The fact that Arkansas doesn't know exactly what its identity is. A majority of the offense has come from the arm of Brandon Allen, but Bielema said post-Toledo that running the ball has to be first and foremost. So which is it? Arkansas had the ball at the Toledo 4 on first and goal down 16-10 Saturday and threw a fade route to Keon Hatcher. Why? You've been building all this momentum and have what is supposed to be one of if not the best offensive lines in college football and you pass? That's so soft. The Razorback offense has to figure out who it is.

2. Do you expect Arkansas to continue throwing the ball more frequently than rushing it?

Adam F: For now, yes. I don't see what else you can do. Alex Collins rushed 20 times for 54 yards. The good news is the passing game is looking good: Brandon Allen is fifth nationally (!!!) in passing yards at over 350 per game. Unless the run blocking magically improves, I expect to see Dan Enos use a wide-open passing attack to set up the run, which is basically what the Bobby Petrino offense was. When teams stop stacking the box, then the run game will find its way back.

Ryan: I expect them to do whatever is working best in the game. The passing game was much better than the running game on Saturday so that's what they went with. If the ground game gets going I expect them to stay with that.

Mitchell: Yes. It was said that BA audibled some running plays to exploit what the defense was showing. If that's still the idea, than BA will audible a lot more when the defense loads up the box.

Graham: If they do expect to hear the cries for Jim Cheney. Joking, but I have a hard time believing that Bielema will stray away from the running game, where he has had most of his career success.

Scottie: I expect to see Brandon Allen continue to throw the football much more than he did last year, especially if the offensive line can't give Alex Collins and the backs anything more to work with. 103 rushing yards against a MAC team? Sam Pittman needs to wake his guys up. If you're not able to have big games on the ground against UTEP and Toledo, what makes you think you can against Alabama, LSU, Ole Miss the rest of the SEC?

Adam P: If Brandon Allen was doing terrible, I would say, yes. But unless the run game doesn't pick up, I think they believe it might be all they have. I hope we go back to being balanced, but now it's hard to say what we witnessed in Little Rock.

Robert: When you get 0 yards in a cloud of dust, it's pretty easy to become enamored with the passing game. I get it, our offensive line seems better suited to pass protect, and our wideouts are doing a good job of getting open and have a pretty good YAC at this point.  I can't see an offensive coordinator turning to something that isn't working, and at this point running isn't working.

Jamie: I honestly don’t know.  I wouldn’t think so, but I didn’t expect to see as much vs. Toledo as we did vs. UTEP and we saw more.  I don’t see any way that CBB doesn’t put his foot down or even interrupt the offensive play calling if they don’t at least attempt to run the ball more this week.  That said, if we’re behind again like we were against Toledo, you really don’t have a choice.

Josh: I've made it well known that I'm just unable to see this team winning a game throwing more than 25 times. Just can not see Bielema going much further away from his core philosophy either. Keep running the ball no matter what, there may be a tight game where Allen is asked to step up and lead a drive down the field but this offense must covert inside the 10 and be able to get those short yardage problems fixed.

3. Under Houston Nutt and Bobby Petrino, Arkansas was 29-2 in Little Rock. Post-motorcycle, the Hogs are 1-5. Explanation?

Robert: People stopped wearing their "Undefeated in The Rock" shirts.  Bring 'em back out next year.

Josh: It levels the home field advantage when they have to travel so that does make a difference. Still should have beaten Toledo whether they played in LR or somebody's back yard. No excuses.

Adam F: The more Hog football I watch, the more I start to buy into the "ULM cursed the place" explanation. Not sure how else it can be explained.

Graham: Let's face it. It's been a hard time for most everything Arkansas football post-motorcycle.

Ryan: It's a coach's bad attitude about playing in LR. Doc's column this week said everything that needs to be said about it.

Adam P: Pepsi products.

Mitchell: Trap games, better teams, and a coach that doesn't like to play away from home.

Jamie: I think CBB doesn’t like it and and his verbal distaste for it over the last 2 seasons has made it’s way into the team.  Nutt embraced it, so his teams did.  CBB hates it so his teams don’t get up for the challenge, but focus on the same negatives that he does.  I’d like to see the LIttle Rock games killed (*ducks*) as well, but this isn’t how I’d like to see it done.

Scottie: In high school, my basketball team traveled to a power in our class, Kirby. Nothing good happened when you went to Kirby. You dreaded going there, playing there and knew going in that things probably weren't going to go as you had planned. I think that's what WMS is for Arkansas now. Ever since the ULM debacle, there is nothing but negative connotations associated with that place. And it's unfortunate because that building, as bad as the wifi and scoreboard issues are, has seen some amazing things.

4. What happens against Texas Tech?

Graham: No Keon Hatcher will force Enos to call a more run-based game. I expect a win, but I thought that about Toledo, too. Either way, I want to see JoJo Robinson on the field at some point. (Note: He's supposed to start) I know that he has had some off-the-field issues and his practice might not have warranted the playing time, but he was supposed to be a big recruiting prize and at some point, it would be fun to at least see him with the ball in his hands.

Josh: A big part of the struggles against Toledo were direct result of no huddle and short quick passing game. Tech does both of those well but plays defense just because the rules say so. So if Arkansas does not rack up 200 rushing in this game, banners may start flying in Fayetteville again.

Adam F: If the Hogs are focused - and I'm sure they will be - this should be a victory. I expect Robb Smith's defense to pull of a big performance and allow the Hogs to win a 35-24 kind of game.

Mitchell: I think we win big. It's at home, and our team will probably be bloodthirsty. Combine that with what's sure to be a better game plan and you have yourself a solid win.

Scottie: The Razorbacks will run the ball better, and everyone will think all is cured when in reality Texas Tech's rush defense is about as consistent as the scoreboard at War Memorial. Arkansas' secondary is going to get tested, too. Patrick Mahomes and his receivers are going to be a real challenge.

Ryan: 31-30 Texas Tech with the win.

Robert:I 'm all confidence.  I think that we win a much closer game than last year.  Score should be somewhere in the 40s for Arkansas and high 30s for Texas Tech. It doesn't get decided until the 4th quarter when an Arkansas defense is on it's heels with Texas Tech driving and gets a fortunate turnover to seal the victory for Arkansas. We finish running the ball and all of the good feelings come back for this team.

Jamie: We’ve still got more talent on the field, and we’ll be back in Fayetteville, but they’re putting up some points and our ability to own the clock or get reliable stops on defense haven’t shown up the first 2 weeks of the season.  I’d like to see them come out loose and play well and get some swagger back with a big win, but DWRRS can get a real puckered feeling in situations like this that seems to creep onto the field.

Adam P: I've gotta say we bounce back and have a really good showing against Texas Tech. I know they put a beating on UTEP, but being back in Fayetteville, I've gotta believe we'll be back to form. It's what I have to believe to not jump off this ledge, my friend.

Doc: Same here. I'm not ready to give up on this team yet, so I'm going to say Arkansas wins 38-28. But I wish I felt more confident in that than I do.

5. After losing to Toledo, what are your expectations for this season?

Josh: So we have all been knocked back down a few levels, after that disaster. Still think they can get it together and win 7+ and maybe pull an upset over an Alabama or Auburn. Beating either of those two would ramp the program back up to where it was post Toledo disaster

Ryan: It's impossible to make my prediction of 8-4 now. I'm praying for 6-6 again.

Adam F: At this point, Arkansas could finish anywhere from 4-8 to 9-3. It all depends on how quickly the offense can find an identity.

Adam P: It's hard to stick with my homer 10-2 record, but I'm gonna say 8-4 or 7-5 is still attainable. Maybe? Kinda sorta? Please Football Gods?

Graham: It's hard to tell. For the last two weeks we've seen two different teams. Arkansas' mean is closer to the UTEP performance but with their schedule that still won't amount to a significant wins increase. Six wins seems about right.

Scottie: In the preseason I was pretty content with 8 wins, which would be a great season. Now, I'm down to 5 or 6 wins and I say that with zero confidence. Things could get even uglier very fast. Seriously, where are the wins going to come from? UT-Martin ... and? Nothing I've seen through the first two weeks tells me this is a 7+ win team.

Jamie: Still a bowl game, but probably something more similar to last season than what our hopes were for 2015 pre-season.  Memphis, Nashville, Shreveport? (please not Shreveport)

Robert: I think that this team has the potential to still make some noise in the SEC.  I may change my tune pretty quick if we don't beat Texas Tech.  The last time we had a 3 win season was 1992.  The last time we had a 2 win season was 1952.  I'd be worried we would equal one of those results if we don't win.

Mitchell: Depends on what they look like against TTU. If they play like they did against UTEP, but with a reinvigorated running game then I still expect them to compete in the SEC. If the Toledo game was not an anomaly then we miss a bowl bid.

Doc: I pretty much agree with that. If Arkansas loses to Tech, they'll have to go 4-4 in SEC play to make a bowl and it's pretty hard to see that happening if they can't beat Toledo nor Tech. But I have them beating Tech so I'm still expecting a winning season my 9-3 preseason prediction obviously seems like a stretch right now.