October 20, 2014

Texas A&M Preview: Paybacks Are Hell

After another kick in the gut last Saturday night in Fayetteville, the Hogs take to the road for the first time this season as they visit the Texas A&M Aggies (2-1,0-1).  The 11:21 kickoff will be televised by the SEC Network.

While some would say the Hogs played better last Saturday against Rutgers, the outcome was still the same — a 35-26 loss at home to a team we were favored to beat.  We won’t have to worry about being favored for a while.

As the game went along, Tyler Wilson and the offense seemed to find a rhythm, at least in the passing game.  Cobi Hamilton’s record setting 303 receiving yards and 3 TDs were proof of that.  The problem continues to be on defense, where the Hogs made average quarterback Gary Nova (25-35, 397 PaYds, 5 TDs) look like a Heisman contender.

The five-man front that the Hog defense employed did a nice job of holding the Rutgers rushing totals down (128 yards), but did little to help the cornerbacks who were left to fend for themselves.  The Hogs now stand ranked 111th (312.3 YPG) nationally in pass defense.

And for the second straight game, Paul Haynes’ defense has recorded NO SACKS and NO TURNOVERS.  (We’re not counting Nova’s intentional grounding as a sack.)  As a result, after four weeks, Arkansas finds themselves dead last in the nation (120th) in turnover margin, at minus 2.5 per game.

The Aggies, however, are on the upswing and have rebounded nicely after a tough 20-17 loss at home to Florida.  Since that loss in front of the College Game Day crew, aTm has outscored SMU and South Carolina St. by a whopping 118-17 margin.

Texas A&M is led by first year coach Kevin Sumlin (37-18, 5th year overall).  Sumlin is an offensive-minded coach who has brought with him from Houston a wildly successful spread attack.  Former Texas Tech quarterback Kliff Kingsbury is his offensive coordinator, and they know what they’re doing on that side of the ball.

The ‘ring leader’ of this year’s Aggie aerial circus is redshirt freshman Johnny Manziel (6-1, 200).  Manziel is very athletic, and will not hesitate to pull it down and take off.  Through three games, he has run for 262 yards, passed for 641, and accounted for 12 TDs.

Familiar faces — running back Christine Michael (899 RuYds, 8 TDs in 2011), and wide receivers Ryan Swope and Uzoma Nwachukwu — are all back.  Wide receivers Mike Evans (redshirt freshman, 6-5, 209) and Thomas Johnson (freshman, 5-11, 180) are future stars emerging in 2012.

The Aggies only return six starters this year on defense, with the bell cow being senior middle linebacker Jonathan Stewart (6-4, 244).  Junior defensive end Damontre Moore (8 TFL, 6 Sacks) is quick off the edge and leads the nation in sacks per game (2.0).

More than all of that, though, the Aggies are looking for a lot of payback after the Razorbacks have had a lot of fun at their expense the last three seasons in Dallas.  Plus, getting that important first SEC win against an old foe…that would be pretty sweet for the farmers.

So how do the Hogs win?  Maybe our coaches should take a page from former Texas A&M coach Bear Bryant’s famous “Here’s Why You Can Win” speech.  One of our favorites…

In the meantime, if you’re going to College Station, try not to get ‘gigged’…we hear it’s not a fun experience.  Texas A&M is favored by 14.

  • OwassoHog

    It’s going to be a long game for the Hogs!

    • Jim Doggg

      I’m sure your speaking from frustration and anger and not from the heart. Don’t give up on the kids they need your support and some will provide some thrills and exitement (eg: Tyler and Cobi). If you don’t want to suffer the agony of watching the Hogs lose (and badly) give your ticket to some kid who couldn’t ordinarily afford to go. I understand your pain watching the Hogs disentegrate, but now is not the time to go wobbly or be a “sunshine soldier”. From your previous posts I assume that your just venting. I will be back in Arkansas for the Ole Miss game, and hope they can perform up to their level of talent or at least I can party before the game. We Razorback fans are made of sterner stuff (as long as we can party).

      • GolfHog

        No, I haven’t given up on the kids. In fact, the kids are the ones who deserve better. The kids were left hanging out to dry just like the fans. If you want to go to the golf course and party before spending a half inside the stadium, I say, HAVE FUN!
        I will find someone to give those tickets to. And, I’ll be watching on TV. But, Jeff Long will not get anymore of my money. You can only lie to me so many times. Ask anyone who knows me. They’ll tell you the same.

        • sam1027j

          I agree. Jeff Long has botched this whole thing from start to finish (well, it might have well been finished–I doubt that we’ll win more than a game or two). There’s a theory in law about making “the punishment fit the crime.” Long managed to punish the kids, the U and the whole state instead of fashioning a remedy that would punish Petrino severely but leave a chance for everyone else to have a season.
          FIRE JEFF LONG

          • GolfHog

            Jeff has a been a good salesman, a good bureaucrat and accountant. He has not been up to the difficult issues that he has faced. His defense of Pelphry, understandable to a degree, his hiring of Grandpa, his selections before Petrino landed in his lap, indicate that, by himself, he may not be up to the big decisions. The one he faced with Petrino was world class. It was a very difficult and dangerous situation. Unfortunately he failed.
            If he has a home run hire ready to plug in, fine. But, someone in power needs to check on his progress. The next coach needs to be hired by someone who he feels is his boss. If Jeff has to go, he should go before the hire. If he can pull this off we will be set in all major sports. But, another sales job with poor results will set us back for years and destroy all of the progress that we have made. I don’t think there is any question.

          • Roadhog

            GolfHog, I think Long is growing in his job. This has been no easy patch for him, replacing Nutt and Pelphrey, soon to replace Smith and the whole FB staff. To me he seems more mature than he was a couple of years ago. I’m sure he gets a lot of input from the administration and others into his hiring decisions. He does not work in a vacuum. He has been forced to learn about Arkansas, the people and the university, and I think he’ll do better in the future.

          • GolfHog

            His job is not just sales and promotions. We are so close to putting a real, successful SEC program together that the fans can be proud of and support. Given the bucks available there is really no excuse for not succeeding at some level. The Pelphry hire was a joke at this level and then to almost lose out on Mike to support a guy who was clearly in over his head was foolish. Now the John L. hire is little more than phoning it in, accepting a very difficult season. That’s a tough decision but if you make it you don’t go around selling tickets for a national title run and move LSU to Fayetteville, and create Heisman buzz. YOu find the politically correct way to read the fans and the players in on the facts. This is not a con job. He should have learned from Nutt and Pelphry that the fans are part of the program too. You can polish up the facts but lieing will only cause everyone trouble.

          • Jim Doggg

            I’m really getting tired of “let’s lynch Long”. Long’s hire of Smith was done to keep the staff together. At the time it was applauded by many. This mistake was done because of a misconception and that was that any group of coaches could work with this team and do well (I admit I bought into it, since it would have been very difficult to recruit a coach at that juncture – boy was I wrong). Those that have been disparaging Petrino are barking up an isolated tree. This experiment of allowing assistant coaches to run things without a headman is not going to be lost on ADs everywhere. It was believed by many that the Arkansas coaches were in great part responsible for BPs success. The results indicate otherwise. BP’s behavior caused this mess, not his coaching. Firing Long at this point will accomplish nothing. It would definately make it more difficult to recruit another AD. Long is a victim of a theory that a bus driver could replace a head coach. Something alot of people bought into. For all those ranting against Petrino, this season shows how important he was. A fact not lost on ADs everywhere who think head coaches are easy to replace. Not sure how to fix this. Now I wonder what decent coach would want to come into this mess (unless of course for money).

  • GolfHog

    I think the line at Alabama was 20. I said 35 and wasn’t even close. This could be an old fashion 100 if Sumlin was so inclined, certainly 35 by half time would not surprise me. I am surprised that they can get bets with that line. Who takes the 14 points? It’s not like we’re a sleeping giant. Even if we were to wake up we’d need a coaching staff.
    Even accounting for Cobi’s 300 yards I do take exception to your account of our new found rhythm. 25 points by this offense against a Big East team is hardly finding your rhythm. Cobi’s speed got loose on some crossing routes, that’s about all that happened. I’d still like to know where PPetrino put his play book. How about some draws and screens. Our line is designed to run screens.
    After reveiwing the tape, I did see more zone defense than I had remembered. Haynes really needs to make that his bread and butter.
    I continue to be astounded at the lack of coaching on this team. The big excuse is supposed to be the talent but, coaches have had to develop schemes to cover weak talent before. You can’t put a walkon and a freshman in man coverage all the time. It’s the same with the offensive line. They aren’t going to get better like they have in years past. It’s past time to develop a game plan that matches the talent on hand.
    Long took a pass on this season. It’s a shame to me that no one was willing approach the subject before now. I know that there is big money at stake these days. So big that they may be in trouble if they don’t make a good hire. But, Arkansas fans have been through the knot hole too much in the last few years. I know it will be a while before I buy a ticket again. I’d like a refund on the ones I’ve got.

  • http://www.facebook.com/michael.stansbury Michael Stansbury

    “I am so apathetic and zombie like right now.” Every Hog fan

  • Bleed razorbackred

    Has anyone laid out the potential legal issues arising from BP hiring his mistress? I would assume that the UofA would be exposed to plenty of lawsuits from individuals who where passed over for the job that Dorell got. Just wondering if Jeff Long was backed into a corner of that issue.