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Third Down Critical To Success of Arkansas Offense

Last season, Arkansas only converted 33% of their third downs. They need to improve on that if they want to move up in the SEC West.

NCAA Football: Arkansas at Missouri Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

To say Arkansas’ third down conversion rate was terrible would be an understatement.

Too many drives during the 2020 season couldn’t be sustained due to a lack of execution on third down. That in itself should be a huge focus going into the summer practices.

It was somewhat easy to forget the third down issues with the help of big plays from the Arkansas offense. Arkansas ranked 13th in the SEC (103rd NCAA) when it came to third down conversions in 2020, just ahead of Tennessee.

The majority of the offensive success was predicated on staying on track within the offense and big plays. Under first year offensive coordinator Kendal Briles, the Hogs had the fourth most 40+yard plays in the SEC with 15 and tied for first in the SEC with 50+ yard plays with 11. This stat will be a big one to see if the Hog offense can be more balanced on third down while also having a knack for the home run ball.

Arkansas on third down in 2020:

Georgia: 3/14

Mississippi State: 5/14

Auburn: 6/15

Ole Miss: 6/17

Texas A&M: 3/12

Tennessee: 9/17

Florida: 3/10

LSU: 0/10

Missouri: 6/14

Alabama: 5/15

KEY STAT: In Arkansas’ three wins, the Razorbacks converted on 41-percent of their third downs. However, they were very bad in losses converting on 29-percent of their third downs.

A much bigger, stronger offensive line, the classic Sam Pittman lines, will make a difference when running the ball on third downs. Running the ball between the tackles was a tough task last season but added weight and strength should help the Hogs move the ball during down and distance situations

In an article earlier this week, I stated Arkansas could finish 8-4 in 2021. Reaching that mark will require Arkansas to meet the 41-percent mark.
Yeah, that’s easier said and done.

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