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Secondary Should Be An Emphasis Moving Forward

NCAA Football: Auburn at Arkansas Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Last week, I thought the Auburn offense would come into Fayetteville and undoubtedly try to feed Tank Bigsby to get their offense clicking. However, the exact opposite happened. Bo Nix dinked and dunked the Arkansas defense before completing a few major deep passing plays. As a result, Nix threw for 292 yards compared to the 135 rushing yards gained by the Auburn offense.

We saw the Razorback defense try a few new formations to eliminate the Auburn rushing game. A few big stops on third and fourth downs added fuel to the Hog defense, but the Tigers always answered with a big passing play. It seemed that Auburn receivers were open on all intermediate passing patterns. The Hogs made a stop to open the second half, but that was about all she wrote before an offensive fumble by the Razorbacks handed the momentum back to Auburn.

The Arkansas offense had an electrifying performance in Oxford two weeks ago. Against Auburn, the offense played well but seemed somewhat hungover from the previous week’s performance. Unfortunately, the defense could not muster a few big stops to give KJ Jefferson a chance to tie the game against Auburn. So, what is next for the Arkansas defense?

The Hogs get a break with another early matchup against UAPB this weekend before a much-needed bye week. Following the bye week, the Hogs will face Mississippi State, LSU, Alabama, and Missouri. Each remaining opponent is very pass-heavy, which is pretty concerning due to the last few performances from the Razorback defense. Additionally, the Hogs will be without All-American safety Jalen Catalon for the remainder of the season.

I think the bye week will be huge in reenergizing the Arkansas defense. During the last few weeks, the defense has missed a few plays that were otherwise made during the season’s first several weeks. Let’s hope that the defense regains its swagger in the weeks to come. I believe the secondary can receive some help if the defensive front can apply the pressure we saw against Texas and Texas A&M. The absence of Catalon opens the door for Jayden Johnson and Myles Slusher to prove themselves for the future. Look for the secondary to be a group that comes out with their hair on fire this week and following the bye. I think the play of the secondary will be a significant determinate for the remainder of the season.