Actually, I've gotten much better with keeping up with my keys over the years. But we won't go into my troubled history with locks and keys. What I would like to do instead is start steering our attention to the big game in Fayetteville this weekend. I am pretty sure Bobby Petrino isn't coming on here for strategy and talking points for his team, but of course, he is more than welcome to do so! haha. This is part of the fun part of being a fan; we get to pontificate and come up with "strategery" as George W. Bush once said without the pressure of having to put thought to action. With that said, here are what I think are keys to Arkansas winning the game on Saturday. Please add your own thoughts in the comment section.
1.) Arkansas needs to go at it this week in practice when it comes to tackling. I saw Ealey and Murray slip by too many red helmets with hogs on them last week. And I still have the nightmare of last year in Tuscaloosa when it was either Richardson or Ingram who acted like he was a pin ball machine as he just bounced off one Razorback after another to the endzone in a long run. Gang tackling, taking good angles, and wrapping up are crucial. Arm tackling will cost us points.
2.) We had eleven flags thrown against us in Athens. Twenty-five have been thrown our way through three games. Three of the eleven against Georgia were personal fouls. The Hogs are going to be pumped for this game, as they should be. But they can't be so pumped that they lose their heads and committ dumb penalties such as personal fouls. 15 yards could be the difference in this game. Believe me, the refs aren't going to be looking for reasons to throw flags at the number one team in the country and the SEC's best hope right now for a national title team. So, Hogs, don't go throwing punches against the Tide. The Georgia player did it against you and didn't get ejected, yeah. But don't think you can throw a haymaker at a Tide player and get the same treatment.
3.) Open up every page in the playbook. This is not a game to go all conservative. If you have a "Little Giants" (Michigan State) play, use it if need be. This is a go to the mattresses, haha, game if there ever was one! The pressure is on Alabama to stay number one when everyone expects them to do so. I think the only way the Hogs lose in this is if we are just blown out at home. Yeah, 35-7 last year in Tuscaloosa and it could have been worse, but I don't think we'll see that this year at home.
4.) Commit to one back and see how it goes. Take the back who looks the best in practice and run with him for at least a half. See if some rhythm can develop. If not, try somebody new in the second half. Maybe the committee approach is part of the problem?
5.) It would be a crying shame if you don't run at least one reverse with Joe Adams getting the ball. Screens, reverses, whatever it takes, get Joe the ball! And the player who commits a block in the back foul the next time Joe returns a punt, well, that person becomes Joe's personal servant for the rest of the semester. "Hey, this is Joe. Come on over. This dorm isn't going to dust itself, you know." haha.
6.) The Hogs have to keep their cool when things start to go bad, and at some point in the game, things will turn sour for the Hogs. Alabama is too good for that not to happen. But if the Hogs can gather themselves at home like they did in Athens in the 4th quarter then they'll weather those bad patches.
7.) Finally, the kicking game in all phases has to show up again for the Hogs. Breeding's 57 yard 4th quarter punt had as much to do with us beating Georgia as anything else. Hocker needs to be on target, as he has been. Tejada needs to boom those kicks through the endzone. And wrap up on special teams. We don't need to give Alabama any special teams touchdowns due to not covering the lanes and not making sure tackles.
Okay, those are the key things I've been thinking of. They are not especially profound, but I think they are all crucial to the Hogs getting a win in Fayetteville next Saturday. What suggestions do you have? Oh, one last thing. Fans, you need to bring a third lung and an extra set of vocal cords to make Fayetteville as loud as it has ever been. And you Bentonville Princes and Princesses, put down your iphones and scream at Greg McElroy like he was taking your trust fund from you!