After living through what has been the most bizarre ten days in Arkansas Football history, the Razorbacks look to turn the page Saturday during their annual Red-White game. The 2:00 kickoff will be televised on Cox Sports Television (CST).
While we know there is still a big announcement due from Jeff Long regarding (most likely) the hiring of an interim coach for the 2012 season, we yearn to shift the discussion back to the field — if only for a few days.
Here’s a few things the RBN crew is going to be focusing on during Saturday’s scrimmage:
Can juco transfer defensive end Austin Flynn (6-5, 260) be that explosive player off the edge in replacing Jake Bequette? In the early going, all signs point to ‘Yes.’ Flynn, who showed to be one of the strongest Razorbacks in the offseason weight room, will be an impact player for this defense. His emergence allowed the coaches to move Tenarius “Tank” Wright to middle linebacker — a move that looks like it is going to stick as spring camp comes to a close.
Speaking of Wright, how will Tank look manning the middle of the Razorback defense? There are a couple of reasons this move might well work: First, Wright is one of the leaders, both vocally and with his play — a nice attribute to have in your middle linebacker. Plus, at 6-2, 252, he has the size the Hogs have been looking for at this spot to finally make the run defense potent. Finally, it lets Alonzo Highsmith play the weakside — his best spot. Let’s see how Wright looks and moves Saturday, especially in pass coverage before we check this one off the list.
Who looks like the backup at quarterback — redshirt freshman Brandon Allen (6-3, 212) or junior Brandon Mitchell (6-4, 230)? As usual, the offense — especially the quarterbacks — will tend to have an advantage in these games since they can’t be hit. That wasn’t the case last year for Mitchell, who suffered through a dismal spring game. Mitchell was listed third going into spring after opting to play basketball in lieu of participating in the offseason workouts. Given his success on Mike Anderson’s first squad, if he’s third after spring practice, does he go back to the hardwood permanently?
We think Ross Rasner and Eric Bennett can be good safeties, but who’s in that four-man rotation at cornerback? Darius Winston and Tevin Mitchell played a lot of downs last year with varied success. Two redshirt freshmen — converted wide receiver Davyon McKinney (6-3, 190) as well as Kelvin Fisher, Jr. (5-11, 190) — seem to have a leg up right now. None are going to look good against Tyler Wilson, but we might get a good indication on where this group is, and how far they need to come before the fall.
How’s the overall energy level going to feel Saturday? We expect the fans to be somewhat subdued with everything that has happened this month. But what about the players? We get the feeling that senior leaders Tyler Wilson and Tenarius Wright have done a good job in trying to keep the team together during the last few weeks. With a leadership void now at the top, what kind of dynamic will fill it? We probably won’t answer that question Saturday, but might get some insight on where we are.
RazorFest activities start at 10 a.m., and the weather forecast (sunny and 64 degrees) looks great. Should make for a fun time, and maybe we’ll answer a few questions along the way.