Monday, September 26, 2011

Hog game recap (ouch...still smarting)

Well, that was some weekend, wasn't it?  Fantastic weather and a solidly unfantastic Hogs/Tide game.  I haven't watched such a complete domination between two opponents that were allegedly in the same vicinity, skill-wise, in quite some time.  It is clear that the Razorback offensive line needs some serious work.  And it is doubly clear that, four years into Willy Robinson's tenure, the Hogs still cannot tackle a person carrying the football.  That being said, the Hogs were on the road, in a formidable and hostile environment.  Three of Alabama's touchdowns were scored unconventionally* and were not the result of a sustained, end zone-to-end zone drive.  And the Hogs were missing some very key players (Bequette and Knile Davis to pre-game injury, and Tenarious Wright to an injury during the game) whose presence surely would have helped the Hogs' cause.  But even if those things were in different and instead in the Razorbacks' favor, there still was no answer to the Tide's defensive front, both against the run and the pass.  We just got eaten alive.  No running game meant no play-action pass options and at least six defensive backs on every down.  Unless we tame that defensive front five, we never stood a chance.

If this game had been played on October 24 instead of September 24, I think the Hogs play much better.  We just weren't ready for Alabama.  On a brighter note, however, is that I do believe we will continue to improve.  This is why I still like the Hogs to win out, even against LSU on the last game.  A&M presents a challenge next week, although their pass defense was exposed by OSU pretty badly and I think the Hogs passing attack, while not quite as good as OSU's, is good enough to do the same.  And, let's face it, we're not going to face a better D-line than 'Bama's for the rest of the year.  But then it is Auburn at home, a terrible Ole Miss team in Oxford, a slightly better but still not good Vandy team in Nashville, and then South Carolina, Tennessee, and Mississippi State all at home.  I believe those will all be wins.  And then LSU to determine who goes BCS bowling. 

*  A fake field goal, a punt return, and an interception-and-score. 

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