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Monday Reaction: What We Learned After Georgia

Arkansas v Georgia Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

​It is officially week six of the college football season, and the Arkansas Razorbacks are No. 13 in the nation with a 4-1 record. The Hogs have two top 15 wins with plenty of opportunities remaining to prove they belong towards the top. However, Saturday showed that there is still much work to be done for Sam Pittman’s Razorbacks. A 37-0 beatdown at the hands of the Georgia Bulldogs should prove as a wake-up call for Arkansas. Previously, the Hogs overcame mistakes with physicality at the line of scrimmage and an effective run game. This was not the case on Saturday, as Georgia physically outmatched the Hogs from the opening kick. I think the blowout loss may prove to be the most telling game for the Hogs so far. Let’s take a look at what we learned from Saturday.

The special teams woes seem to be a regular occurrence as we reflect on the previous weekend’s game. The Hogs muffed a kickoff which set them back in their initial drive. Additionally, a blocked punt in the end zone allowed the Bulldogs to blow the game open before it truly began. Eliminating special teams mistakes lessens Georgia’s score on Saturday and gives the Hogs a greater chance to establish offensive production. I think Scott Fountain and the special teams units must improve dramatically as the Hogs enter a stretch of winnable games. The errors we saw on Saturday can be the deciding factors in a close game which is very likely against Ole Miss and Auburn.

Georgia torched Barry Odom’s defense for the first time this season. Ultimately, I think the Bulldog’s offensive line was overpowering, allowing them to run the ball effectively. Georgia rushers tallied 273 total yards on the ground and averaged almost five yards a carry. The Hogs experienced success before the Georgia game by swallowing up the run and forcing opposing quarterbacks out of the pocket in passing situations. The Bulldogs were rarely in passing situations on Saturday. I think the Hogs get back on track this weekend against Ole Miss from a physical standpoint and create some serious pressure upfront.

Offensively, I don’t think there is much to say about Saturday’s performance. The Georgia defense is just that good. In his postgame press conference, Coach Pittman noted that the Bulldog defense was one of the best he has ever seen. The Hogs created some holes and moved the ball downfield on a few drives but were always setbacks due to penalties. However, no turnovers were recorded, and everyone came out of the game healthy. Look for the offensive line to be much improved heading into this weekend.

Penalties were the most frustrating part of Saturday’s loss. The Hogs still get whipped without penalties, but I think the score is much closer. Granted, Saturday was the first actual road game in the Sam Pittman era and the first rowdy atmosphere for KJ Jefferson as QB1. I believe experiencing the atmosphere between the hedges will be huge for the Hogs moving forward. Arkansas still has to visit Ole Miss, LSU, and Alabama. I think the penalties will likely be an emphasis in the first few days of practice this week. I believe mental mistakes will be cut way down going into this weekend.

No question watching the game on Saturday was tough. However, I think the Hogs are significantly ahead of schedule. I don’t think many of us expected the Georgia game to be a top 10 showdown before the season began. There is still a lot of football to play and plenty of opportunities for the Hogs to bounce back. In recent years, a whooping like the Hogs received on Saturday would have been a knockout punch. But I don’t think that is the case anymore. Sam Pittman will have his team ready to go against Ole Miss this weekend.