Questions with the Enemy: Florida @ Arkansas


The guys over at

Question: Bobby Petrino doesn’t seem to be very well-liked outside of Fayetteville. As Arkansas fans, what’s your opinion of him? Obviously you support your coach, but is this the guy you wanted? Do fans see him getting the Razorbacks to be able to consistently contend in the SEC?

Answer: Arkansas fans were very excited about the Bobby Petrino hire and remain so, despite the way the season is unfolding. (We knew that Houston Nutt had left the cupboard relatively bare, but didn’t realize just how bare.) It may take a little longer than initially hoped, but we’re confident that Bobby can make the Hogs a major player in the SEC. His track record is solid (a 41-9 record and two Top 10 finishes in four seasons at Louisville). Plus, his style of play and the university’s dramatic improvement of its football facilities during the last decade should (hopefully) make Arkansas an attractive option for top-tier high school talent.

As for his reputation outside of Arkansas, it probably makes him more appealing to Hog fans. As a general rule, Arkansans have a bit of a chip on their shoulder and feel looked down upon by the rest of the country. The fact that the national sports media has an obvious – and, we think, somewhat over-the-top – dislike of the guy has probably caused Razorback fans to rally around him more than they would have another coach.

Q: It’s been a rough start to the season for Arkansas. After two close wins, the Razorbacks were beaten handedly by a couple top ranked teams. With Florida, Auburn, and LSU on the remainder of the schedule, is their still a chance to right the ship and get headed in the right direction? Or is this considered a rebuilding year as Petrino begins to implement his offense and bring in the correct personnel to run it?

A: Unfortunately, we think this is going to be a very long year. It’s quite possibly that the Hogs already have notched their final victory of the 2008 season. As mentioned above, we’re optimistic about the long-term, but the short-term is likely to be kind of gruesome. This squad doesn’t do anything well.

Q: Despite the two big losses, the Razorbacks actually only gave up a combined total of 287 passing yards to Alabama and Texas. Is defending the pass one of Arkansas’ biggest strengths? The commitment of Darius Winston would make it seem that recruits are recognizing it as one.

A: We don’t think there’s an aspect of this year’s Razorback team that could qualify as a strength. Alabama was having such success running the ball against the Hogs that there was no need for them to try and pass much. And Texas may not have had the gaudiest passing yards total, but the Longhorns still completed 21 of 23 passes. And in their second game of the season, the Hogs gave up 270 yards in passing to Louisiana-Monroe, and the secondary was torched for several big plays.

One Arkansas sportswriter said recently that this is likely the worst Arkansas defense in 20 years. Suffice to say, we don’t think Tim Tebow is losing much sleep this week.

Q: Staying with the pass game: During the 2007 season, Gator quarterback Tim Tebow put up fairly consistent passing numbers from game to game. So far in 2007 his number of attempts have been 14, 35, 15, and 38 while his pass yardage totals have been 137, 256, 96, and 319. How do you game plan for an offense that appears fairly unpredictable?

A: We’ll have to defer to defensive coordinator Willy Robinson, who is no doubt fiendishly devising a scheme that should hold the Gators to under 600 total yards of offense and less than 70 points. Seriously, until they demonstrate otherwise, we don’t think the Hogs will be able to stop anything the Gators try to do.

Q: From 2005-2007 Arkansas’ opponents had to prepare for Darren McFadden and Felix Jones. With the two currently playing on Sundays, who do teams have to look out for now?

A: No Razorback offensive player has gotten it done week in and week out. Casey Dick started out well – not against the stiffest competition, grant you – but has played poorly the past two weeks against Alabama and Texas and could very well find himself on the bench with another bad game or two. Running back Michael Smith has had his moments – 157 yards rushing against Louisiana-Monroe and 91 yards rushing against Alabama to go along with 67 yards in receiving. And tight end D.J. Williams hauled in 124 receiving yards and two touchdown passes against Louisiana-Monroe.

Despite the lack of total points, the offense has moved the ball well at times, but there’s just not enough there at this point in time.

Q: I attended both schools, so although odd, I feel comfortable with my allegiance to both UF and USF. Even though most people won’t admit it, there’s usually one other school they secretly enjoy watching or cheering on for one reason or another (relative went there, grew up a fan, lived in the same city as the school, etc.). Who is your guilty pleasure?

A: Good question. For whatever reason, we have both always kind of rooted for Auburn when they’re not playing the Hogs. We don’t know why – maybe it’s because of Charles Barkley or maybe it’s because they are the sworn enemy of some obnoxious Crimson Tide fans we know or maybe it’s because we get such a kick out of the hilarious Auburn blog The Joe Cribbs Car Wash. On a related note, we’ve really enjoyed our dealings with the Kentucky blog A Sea of Blue and thus have developed something of a soft spot for Kentucky football (we don’t know if we can quite go there yet for the basketball team!).

We’ve certainly enjoyed corresponding with you, but man, the memories of that 2006 SEC championship are still too painful for us to consider Florida anything close to a guilty pleasure. Despite that, let us take this chance to wish you guys good luck on Saturday (not that you will need any) and the rest of the way. Thanks for the chat. It’s been a pleasure!