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Arkansas vs TCU Final Grades

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It was bad, but just how bad? A second look showed major flaws for this Arkansas team.

NCAA Football: Texas Christian at Arkansas Joey Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

A frustrating game in all facets: offense, defense and certainly special teams. The offense sputtered and stalled in the second half after a promising opening drive, and were unable to put points on the board in the red zone. On the other side the defense performed to the level to get a win but fell into a trademarked fade in the fourth quarter.

Then, throw in two missed chip shot field goals that were necessary due to a lack of confidence in the offensive line, and you have a recipe for a loss. A blowout is bad, but a loss with multiple opportunities left on the field is way harder to accept.

You will notice that I have added the plus minus, not exactly scientific but what I use as a foundation for the position grades. (Each + or - is a play that stood out)

Quarterback

Passing Accuracy:++ - + ++--++ B

Awareness: +++-+-+ A

Decision Making: -++--++-+ B

Clutch: +--++ B

Overall: B

The QB discussion is insane. Allen, like the defense, played at a level that should have put this team in a situation to win. No turnovers, and very few bad throws even in the face of a lot of pressure from TCU. He was also able to escape and pick up a few first downs when the pocket collapsed around the QB. I’m not sure what more we can ask.

This system that Dan Enos has developed and the philosphy that Bielema has in place does not ask the quarterback to be a Lamar Jackson, or Josh Rosen and throw the ball 40 or 50 times and be a game changer. At times the QB will be asked to make those plays in critical third downs or other situations but the role of the QB at Arkansas right now is to not make mistakes and capitalize on a few shots downfield when they are available.

Running Back (Group)

Ball Security: + ++ A

Run Success Rate: - +++--+-+- C

YDS After Contact: + - ++++-- C

Passing Game: - + -++- C

Overall: C

On the film there were several occasions where Whaley looked to cut back too early instead of fight for yards in the intended gap. Those losses are killer to a ball control offense and the stats showed that 2nd down rushing was abysmal. That being said the offensive line created zero push on short yardage situations and many times caused the backs to redirect their path in the first two steps to the hole.

David Williams ran hard and found some yards, possibly earning himself more carries. Chase Hayden will continue to be the change of pace back with a few carries here or there in my opinion. They tried to get him outside but TCU had SS help as a force player in the run game. That caused them to give up a couple big plays in playaction but proved to be a winning gameplan.

Tight Ends

Run/Pass Blocking: - + -+-- C

Routes: + + -+- B

Catch Rate: + + B

Jeremy Patton was in the rotation more, and when they went 3 tight ends to find any way to gain yards on the ground. He made a good catch and run but followed that up with an off sides penalty that proved to be a drive ender.

In the run game Cantrell made some key blocks, and I would have liked to see the Hback used more to open up some space. The though was probably that the TCU front would be slanting and stunting creating havoc in the backfield, but Cantrell and the fullbacks are really good at blowing those up.

O’Grady has tremendous potential in the passing game but they really have not put him into the run game enough to be balanced.

Overall: B

Wide Receiver

Catch Rate: ++-++-+ B

Run After Catch: - + - - - D

Blocking: -+- D

Routes: - - + - - - - -++ F

Jared Cornelius is not healthy, and they seem to be trying to play him back into shape. They have very limited options at the position it seems. Nance can emerge into that, but it’s unrealistic to expect him to jump in this early. Stewart, and Pettway just are not consistent route runners who have trouble getting open over the middle.

Someone like TJ Hammonds has to take that slot WR role and cash in on those 12-15 yard chunk plays.

Overall: D

Offensive Line

Run Blocking: - - - - ++- - + - + - - D

Pass Pro: - + + ----+++-- D

Short Yardage: - - - --+-- F

Overall: F

This group looked much the same early last season. On most run plays you can see at least three of the five blockers in the right position, engaged, opening holes but one or two missed blocks at the point of attack destroy the play. Many times TCU would slant or cross the face of the guards messing with the zone blocking scheme on those plays.

Ragnow in the middle looks as solid as ever, but football is a team game and all five offensive lineman have to be in sync. Ty Clary at RG was targeted with line games and blitzes multiple times. The same will be true in the coming weeks, and there seems to be limited options.

Will Kurt Anderson go down the line to the next man up?

Defensive Line

Pass Rush: + + + - - + B

Gap integrity: + - + - - - C

Contain: + - - + - - -- + - - D

Overall: C

A decent performance in this game for the big guys in the front. Against the TCU’s, Texas A&Ms, and other quick passing spread teams a pass rush is different, and they put some pressure on Kenny Hill getting to him a couple times. The big key was contain which they did a good job of in the first half, but fatigue set in late and gave up some scrambles.

Agim as a 3-4 DE seems undersized. He’s listed at 286, but I think it is more about reach than anything and the TCU offensive lineman were able to lock him up on runs to the edge. Austin Capps at the nose spot has also struggled and been moved out of the gaps fairly easily.

Linebacker

Run Fit: + - + - - + - +++-+-+- - B

Play Diagnosis: + + - + + + - +-+-+++-+++ - B

Coverage: ++-++ A

Overall: B

The emergence of some back up linebackers in the rotation is a good sign with Grant Morgan Dee Walker, and Dwayne Eugene. Against fast paced teams there has to be a rotation to leave something in the tank for the fourth quarter, and the starters Greenlaw and Harris will both benefit.

Harris also had some struggles early in the game recognizing some of the misdirection that TCU use. Greenlaw racked up 17 tackles and played one of his better games.

Defensive Back

Run Fit: +-+--+- - B

Open Field Tackling: ++++++++-+ - A

Coverage: + + - ++ +++--+ A

Overall: A

Coverage was solid for the most part by the secondary group. TCU ramped down the passing game in the second half when they knew the opposing offense was unable to score. Curl was beat deep a couple times and got lucky with a dropped touchdown.

Open field tackling has dramatically improved from a year ago and save yardage on multiple plays.

Safety play by Santos Ramirez and Josh Liddell handled the Air Raid complexities playing over the top of trips and filling on run plays in a rapid manner. What we should be talking about in this game was the field flipping interception by Ramirez that set up the offense in scoring position.

Fans are frustrated, and will continue so long as this team can not run the ball or stop the run. If this was a more dynamic offense there would be some more forgiving takes than with what this program is built around. A week off and maybe everyone can hit restart.