January 18, 2019

What…Me Worried?

Obviously the Razorbacks were looking past Troy on Saturday and already had their mind on this week’s game against Alabama.

[singlepic id=257 w=240 h=180 float=right]The defense played ‘vanilla’ with soft coverages and only pulled out the real stuff for a few plays along the way.  Coach Petrino was only showing the offense he wanted Alabama to see, not the one they are going to see next week.

The Razorbacks are a much better team than they showed against Troy.


While certain parts of those first two paragraphs were true during the Troy game, I saw some other things during the game that I also think are true.

The offensive line is not ready for primetime against Alabama.  My worry from the beginning of the season has now progressed into downright fear.  It’s clear to me that the quick, short pass, possession-type of passing game that the Hogs are having success with is a cover-up for the fact that we can’t protect well enough to have consistent success with the mid-range and longer passing game.

With two weeks to prepare, the Troy coaching staff did their homework and the homework for every SEC team we will face down the road.  From the safety blitz — counting on Coach Petrino’s habit of going long after a turnover — to the well-disguised corner blitzes that plagued the Hogs all game long, Troy managed to vex the offense on many occasions.  Which clearly led to…

Tyler Wilson struggled more than I expected.  He is missing things in his pre-snap reads and struggling with his progressions.  One is leading to protection problems and the other is due to protection problems.  His pulling the ball down and running with it so much is a sign that he’s feeling lost out there.

The ‘pick six’ was a great example of Wilson simply missing the proper read of the coverage.

[singlepic id=243 w=180 h=240 float=right]As Sunshine said in his post earlier today, Ronnie Wingo is beginning to ‘get it.’  He is hitting holes quicker and seems more intense.  Longer term, however, I expect to see more Kody Walker in the second half of games in situations where the Hogs need to run clock.

I saw things in the punting game that troubled me.  If not fixed, I expect that we will have a punt blocked or a fake punt used against us at some key point in the future.

While some see the second half as a ‘let down,’ I saw it more as a bad practice session.  The first offensive possession went pretty well, but the later possessions seemed more focused on working on the running game and showing a few wrinkles to keep future opponents off guard.

The defense definitely went into more of a ‘soft’ mode.  I think the coaches pulled back and then the players pulled back a bit more than the coaches planned.

Troy exposed some things that, stated in the positive, will hopefully make Alabama overconfident.  Stated in the negative, these things will have Alabama chomping at the bit.

So yes, I remain worried.  Better defense and special teams play will be hard-pressed to make up for the fact that the offense is not as good at this point as the offense was last year.

The Alabama game may not be very pretty to watch for Hog fans.


  1. HogBlogger, you hit on one of the things that really surprised me Saturday and that was our inability to protect the passer at times. We currently rank 77th nationally in sacks allowed (2.33 per game). Of all of the things, that is the most worrisome going into Tuscaloosa given the kind of pressure Bama can bring.

    I’m looking for a lot of the screen game and blitz control in this week’s offensive tool box. Could be a big day for Chris Gragg?

  2. The 13 point line on this week’s game shocked me. Perhaps, we should be worried, but that will not help anything. CBP will have us ready to play and we will be well prepared and we have the best athletes we have ever had. I am taking the points with confidence!

  3. Arkansas had a better year last year than Bama. Arkansas had Bama down 21-7 in the third last year before two interceptions. This is going to be a great game. Don’t count Arkansas out just yet.

  4. I’m right there with you. My Pre-SEC outlook is along the same lines of what you said here:

    I think we’ll be okay, but there are areas of concern — especially with SEC play starting now.

  5. Wish you were our coach hogbugger. The guys we have must be new at this game not to see all that. Don’t give up your day job.

    • Dave – I would have a day job, but it is more fun getting accused of drinking too much Kool-Aid and being an apologist for how great the coach is one week and the next getting it in the other direction from someone like you.

  6. Seriously? I understand that all of the posts can’t be rah-rah, but some of your comments are blaringly wrong in my opinion.

    Your premise about the offensive inadequacies resulted in 38 points, a career day for Wingo, and 450 yards of offense. Issues with the punting game? Breeding averaged of 40 yds a kick with a long over 50 yards. You may be right in that our offensive line needs improvement, but it seems Petrino and McGee can play call around that.

    Wilson struggling? The kid threw for over 300 yards, 2 TDs and a 64% completion percentage. If he’s struggling, I’m dating Sophia Vergara (please let Wilson be struggling). Talk about high expectations.

    After Penn State struggled against Temple, one could assume Bama has played the same schedule we have….and Missouri State could potentially be better than North Texas. The excellent stat comparison by Hogdatabase shows that we’re even with them, if not slightly ahead based on a more detailed breakdown.

    I like our chances in this game. Petrino gave Saban something very difficult to figure out – the no-huddle offense. That nullifies a lot of defensive advantages, particularly if they are quick strike plays, or you send the WRs long to tire out corners – it’s easier to rotate in WRs than DBs particluarly if you stay close to your side of the field. Genius move by Petrino.

  7. Context is Key says:

    The only thing that worries me is that people are worrying. Hopefully our team keeps themselves in a bubble this week and only listens to the coaches. The fact is that Bama is worse this year than last year. They lost a great portion of their talent and Trent Richardson is not who beat us last year. Mark Ingram, Ryan Mallett, and poor tackling can take the blame for that.

    Why does Bama get a free pass to being the greatest team in football every year before they take a snap regardless of their true makeup? They were supposed to be the best team in football last year. Guess what. They were a 3 loss team that would’ve have 4 losses if our program didn’t have such a crippling Chicken Little syndrome. In addition to how slightly above average they were last year, this year’s team is worse with all of their losses in talent.

    How did their suspect defense from a year ago magically morph into this impenetrable fortress? By holding Penn State to 11 points?

    Temple held them to 14, so are they an impenetrable fortress as well?

    This article is hogwash.

  8. Ask the same question about our defense, context. Why are we “so much better” than last year? Because we have experience and talent returning. All bama lost on d last year was dareus. That’s huge

    • Context is Key says:

      I’m not saying that our defense isn’t suspect in the pass game. However, we’ve allowed exactly zero rushing touchdowns on the year. Poor run defense was our weakness last year. We’ve allowed a total of 10-17 points this year with our first unit in the game. We’re definitely better than last year.

  9. it will depend on one thing…which team executes and which team does not…..