Sep 1, 2012; Fayetteville, AR, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks linebacker Alonzo Highsmith (45) runs after recovering a fumble as he is tackled by Jacksonville State Gamecocks quarterback Coty Blanchard (11) at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Arkansas defeated Jacksonville State 49-24. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-US PRESSWIRE
Although it's not yet time to panic, the fact that the defense allowed 24 points to an FCS opponent is cause for some concern, we should all be a little concerned. After a week where tackling and ball security were emphasized, according to John L. Smith, we will all be wondering what to expect from the defense going in to game two.
I would like to see Arkansas kick to begin the game, and the defense come out and establish dominance right from the beginning. Apparently Tank Wright and Alonzo Highsmith were "a little rusty" in week one after missing most of preseason camp, a big game out of the defensive leaders would be nice, and should be expected. After all, what excuse do they have going into Alabama week? Ross Rasner had 11 tackles and he flew around and had some hits. I hope the defensive coaching staff made an example of Rasner in film this week, that's how everyone on defense needs to play. Chris Smith should also follow up his impressive week one performance (6 tackles, 1 sack) with another good showing. Smith earned Lineman of the Week honors on ESPN.com.
We may see a new face at corner as well, after senior Darius Winston was benched for walk-on JUCO transfer Kaelon Kellybrew. Winston, a former five star recruit, has yet to live up to the hype he garnered coming out of high school. The position was said to have been won this week. The rest of the secondary looked confused at times, and there were way too many open receivers. If the defense can show improvement and hold ULM under 10-14 points, and force some turnovers I think we can be optimistic heading into the Bama game.
Something else to keep an eye on is the on going return of Knile Davis, it'll be interesting to see how he's coming along after his first game in a year and a half. He racked up 70 yards on 18 carries for a score last week, hopefully he'll be back to form this weekend he needs to be the center of the offensive game plan this week and carry the ball at least 20 times. He must be ready next week. Cobi Hamilton is expected to play after sustaining an injury in the first quarter last week. Look for a breakout game for him, the senior always shines in Little Rock, 3 of his 5 100 yard games were played in War Memorial Stadium.
It's looking like a great season offensively so far, the defense will catch up but they need to do so fast. Tomorrow will be a good indicator of where we stand on either side going into perhaps the most important game this season. Either way, you never know until kickoff, and that goes for this week and each game going forward this year. At least we can FINALLY stop fretting about an opener against Jacksonville State. Lets sellout War Memorial Saturday, Hog fans, and I'll see you on the golf course.