Questions with the Enemy: Arkansas Razorbacks @ Florida Gators


Jacob over at

Hog Database

was nice enough to answer some questions about this weekend’s




game.  Sit back and gain a little insight into the Gators’ upcoming opponent.

The Arkansas offense seems to be more than on track…11th in points scored, 15th in total offense, 10th in pass yardage, 17th in pass efficiency.  What’s the difference this year?  Is Ryan Mallett that good?  Well, the short answer is yes.  He’s that good.  Other than his lack of mobility, Mallett is the perfect fit at quarterback in Bobby Petrino’s offense.  You will notice that he makes a lot of checks at the line, changes the blocking scheme, and isn’t afraid to call an audible; a big no-no under the previous regime.  Watch the fade route to Greg Childs if the defense is man coverage inside the 30 – it’s a thing of beauty.  He had a year to learn the offense as he sat out after his transfer from Michigan.  He’s aggressive… maybe too aggressive at times as he likes to skip the primary target (even if open) and try to hit the deeper receiver for a big play.  This hasn’t hurt us too much so far and honestly isn’t a bad problem to have, but against a defense like Florida it’s something worth watching.

The biggest difference from last year is that Casey Dick only had one year under Petrino after a career with Houston Nutt (A.K.A. ‘QB Killa’ – see Jevan Snead).  Casey had a decent year, but would usually check down to tight end D.J. Williams for short gains so there was never the threat of stretching the field.

As a follow up to the first question, Mallett’s only “bad” game was against Alabama.  Florida allows nearly 50 less passing yards per game and almost half as many points per game as the Crimson Tide.  How do the Razorbacks attack the Gator defense?  The Razorbacks will have to come out and attack quickly.  Arkansas native Charlie Strong has the Florida defense rolling and Hog fans look for the Gators to have a scheme similar to what Alabama ran against us.  Nick Saban put pressure on Mallett immediately after the snap and he was never able to get into a rhythm.  Texas A&M tried to do the same thing, granted, with a much weaker unit, but it worked for the first three series of the game.  After the first quarter against the Aggies, Petrino made some adjustments and the offense hasn’t looked back since.  I look for Petrino to setup some quick passes early and for Mallett to keep an eye on his outlet receiver.

Mallett is 13th in the nation in passing yards per game, but Arkansas doesn’t have a single receiver in the top 42 in receiving yards per game.  How important is it to the offense that the Razorbacks continue to spread the ball around so well?  It’s big and will be very important this week.  Bobby Petrino’s offense requires his receivers to run deep to clear out defenders so it’s tough to keep everyone rested, a problem that was noticeable and corrected after the Georgia game.  I believe we have the best receiving corps in the country, but we’ll be short one of our best when we make the trip to Gainesville.  Joe Adams, who averaged 37 yards per catch against A&M two weeks ago, was held out of the Auburn game due to a mild stroke suffered early last week.  It was scary news for Razorback Nation, but tests have been coming back positive and he seems to be doing fine.  Of course you can’t mess around with something this serious so he’s not expected to play for at least a couple games. The good news is two of our best receivers from last year, Lucas Miller and London Crawford, who have missed most of this season due to injury, are both 100% as of last week.  Spreading the ball around ensures that the defense can’t key on one player.  Last year, defenses could spy D.J. Williams and shut down our passing game.  This year, D.J. Williams will be the least of your worries.

Michael Smith had nearly as many carries in a big win over Auburn as he did combined in losses to Georgia and Alabama.  Is he the key to beating the Gators?  Running the ball will be big and will help our chances, but big plays in the passing game with moderate success running the ball should be our objective.  The Florida defense hasn’t given up a big play (30 yards+) all season.  Arkansas will have to end that streak early if we are going to have a chance to win.

On the other side of the ball, Arkansas allows 27.8 points per game and 398.6 yards per game.  If Florida’s offense gets rolling early, can Arkansas stay in the game?  A couple weeks ago, razorback Fans were calling for defensive coordinator Willie Robinson’s head, but things have died down after much better performances over the last 3 weeks.  I expect Arkansas to get after Tim Tebow and load up to stop the run.  That’s a bit scary considering our pass defense, but it’s really our only chance.  If Arkansas can hold Florida to 21 points I like our chances.

And finally…

I went to two schools, hence this site covering both.  Is there any other school besides Arkansas you could see yourself cheering for?  I’ve always been interested in Penn State.  They have amazing fans and the experience at Beaver Stadium has to be one of the best of college football… one I definitely want to see in person some day.  Add that to their tradition, classic uniforms, and legendary coach… if I had to pick a team to root for it would be Penn State.  As long as they’re not playing an SEC team.

Other than that… I’m a big fan of anyone playing Texas or Houston Nutt.  You should have heard my house Saturday afternoon… we were the biggest Bama fans west of the Mississippi!