If healthy, Tyler Wilson must lead the Hogs against top ranked Alabama Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-US PRESSWIRE
Last week I wrote that it was too early to panic, that a good physical defensive showing in a big win over an inferior team could reinstate some confidence going into Alabama week. Well, as we all know, that didn't happen and Razorback Nation has sprung into a frenzy. A great cloud of disappointment and uncertainty hovers over the Arkansas faithful and on the eve of what could've been the game of the year, that cloud looms ominously, ready to unleash it's foul contents that will rain down upon us and send us scrambling for shelter. Sadly, we may not find that shelter for another few months, maybe years.
Though, there are those of us who think we can find a nice ray of sunshine with a big, no, HUGE upset this weekend. Players and optimists keep reminding us through the media (social or otherwise) that SEC play has not yet begun, and the goals are still in place for this season. We can still win the SEC!
Guess what, Hog fans? Last week is over, we lost, suffered injuries, we've got a defensive coordinator who still refuses to leave the booth, and a head coach with a 10 month contract who listens to music through his coaching headset all game. (ed. note: joke, we hope)
That's the hand we've been dealt for this week, and that's the hand we'll play. If all goes well, we may be able to add a Heisman calibur quarterback to said hand, a proverbial ace up our sleeve. None of us, not me, not you, not even Nick Saban will know if Tyler Wilson will play Saturday until sometime Saturday.
If he's healthy, I think we will see him, I'm so tired of hearing people call in to the talk shows and say "Well, let's sit him and save him for games we can win." Why? For one, Wilson is not that kind of player, he's a warrior and if he can play, he will. For two, I'm sure I'm not alone in this feeling, I'd be sick if we rolled over and let Bama come run all over us. By not playing an able Wilson we are waving the white flag of surrender. I'm not saying throw a dizzy, concussed Wilson into the fire against them, but if there's no reason he cant, then why not?
Other than Wilson playing, no matter the outcome, the Hogs must show something positive. We need something, whether it's from Wilson, one of the receivers, the backfield. All of Hog Nation needs to be shown some promise, that not all is lost. Someone needs to impress us, we have players who are better than what they've shown thus far. We cant keep bringing Knile Davis along slowly, we need to pound the rock, and if he's still showing signs of a slow recovery, put in Dennis Johnson, Ronnie Wingo, Nate Holmes, or Jonathan Williams. If someone on offense is hot, feed them. If Wilson plays, Bama's only weakness (if you can call it that) is their secondary with 3 new starters, he may be able to take advantage. We've got size and speed at receiver, Cobi Hamilton, Brandon Mitchell, Mekale McKay, Keon Hatcher and Chris Gragg, if someone gets hot, feed them.
The future doesn't look too bright at this point, but you have to play the hand you were dealt. We've got a chance if Tyler plays, his skills and intangibles could pay huge dividends tomorrow, and if someone gets hot they've got to keep the ball in their hands. Though the matchup has lost much of the sizzle it had 2 weeks ago, they've still got to come out and play. And if (this has turned into quite the big "if" this year) Arkansas truly comes to play, they can compete.