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Feel The Rhythm: UTEP

Your BERT-Approved Companion To The UTEP Game.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Are you ready? It's that time. I am so happy to tell you that 2015's first edition of Feel The Rhythm is brought to you by Bob Marley, Tito's Vodka, and Food Network Star Eddie Jackson's Caribbean Jerk Rub, which I like to imagine that Bert endorses and applies liberally to all manner of things, including but not limited to eggs, Bloody Marys, vanilla ice cream, and the soul of opposing teams just before he devours them.

As season openers go, yesterday's game against UTEP went about as well as games like this can go. A dominant win. Minimal injuries. Offseason questions answered. New contributors introduced. Plenty to improve on. Nothing to absolutely freak out about. I'm not a coach, but I have to think Bert couldn't script a better Week 1 to build a season from than what he was given yesterday.

So... Brandon Allen. We always start with Brandon Allen, don't we? The UTEP game could be a case study in the psychology of Razorback fans. Brandon Allen went 14/18 for 306 yards and four touchdowns and "He sucks" was in the mind or on the lips of every Hog fan after each incompletion yesterday. All four of them. YOU KNOW IT'S TRUE. Don't deny it. You said it. Or thought it. I did too. Show me someone who says they didn't and I'll show you a liar.

It's Pavlovian. It doesn't matter how many touchdown passes or how few interceptions he throws. He makes a mistake and we flashback to 2012 and 2013. It's incredibly unfair. But as a fan base we also can't help it. The corner route he threw to Keon Hatcher was perfect. Couldn't have been thrown better, and that's not an easy throw. He won't get enough credit for that throw because most of us were still apoplectic from the egregious overthrow immediately prior to that. Let's set aside all that baggage, just for a moment, and agree that Brandon Allen looked pretty damned good yesterday.

And what about Allen's receiving targets? Keon Hatcher ran great routes and was rewarded with a stellar stat line. Jared Cornelius flashed the speed the Hogs have so desperately needed for two years. Jeremy Sprinkle is, at least to my eyes, a genetically altered secret government experiment gone awry that needs to be accompanied with his own creepy horror movie music when he steps onto the field. Humans aren't supposed to take eight-yard strides. Henry was Henry. Dominique Reed was, uh, fast. I feel good about who will be catching the ball this year.

The rushing attack was a little stilted, but nothing to be concerned about. At least not yet. UTEP wanted to force the pass. Alex Collins looked like Alex Collins has always looked through the line of scrimmage, which is really, really good. Did we see the extra gear he reportedly gained in the offseason? Maybe. If you squint. I certainly couldn't rule it out. Rawleigh Williams III didn't have a great yards per carry average, and he looked a little tentative, but he's got a burst. He's going to take a pedestrian off-tackle run untouched for 70 yards at some point this season.

If you're looking to complain about something, you're probably starting with the lack of push from the offensive line and the missed tackles on defense. IF you're looking for something to complain about. I'm not. The running package was as basic as basic can be. I trust Sam Pittman. He's earned my trust.  The missed tackles will be addressed by Robb Smith. He's earned my trust. For now, we'll just make a note to revisit this next week and the week after.

I watched the game yesterday with a room full of Hog fans and one Arkansas State / LSU fan. He didn't say much. Bert didn't show much. What's there to say? Covered the spread. No turnovers. No injuries. No special teams snafus. A textbook cupcake appetizer. If things go as planned next week, we'll have just as little to talk about next Sunday as well.

I'm hitting the water. Y'all have a safe and fun Labor Day. I'll see you next week.
Trent Wooldridge will be that guy with enough bourbon. He loves the S-E-C chant and honks because he hates Texas. He puts honey on his pizza, demands aisle seats, and sees quitting golf as more of a hobby than actually playing golf. Follow @twooldridge and track his quest to transform his  five-year-old into a southpaw ace in the bigs.