Editor’s Note: The score in the Alabama-Ole Miss game was incorrect in a previous version of this story and social media mentions. The Crimson Tide won the game, 63-48. We apologize for the error.
Too many people are worrying about a controversial decision by officials that apparently involved the lack of a quorum chasing a backwards pass, but Arkansas has other issues.
What it comes down to is on the bouncing ball, the Razorbacks’ Joe Foucha seemed to be the only player with more than a passing interest in grabbing it and apparently it takes more than that to prevent a whistle that stops things.
Regardless, that is done and over with. The loss to Auburn will remain in that column. Coaches might want to spend a period in practice that when somebody yells BALL! everybody on the field starts chasing the thing but that’s down the road.
Worry about some other things with the Hogs because there’s a couple of nagging issues coaches CAN do something about. They better … and quick.
Ole Miss comes rolling into Fayetteville this weekend with an offense that rang up over 600 yards of offense and 45 points on Alabama … and still got beat by double digits.
Defense these days appears to be more of a chance for the offensive players to catch their breath, get a drink of water and have a chat on the sidelines.
It was the main topic of conversation when Lane Kiffin and Nick Saban talked after the Crimson Tide’s win Saturday night. Both were joking about it … yes, Saban joking about it, although the players probably won’t get that.
Forget that whole side of the ball this week. If Barry Odom can figure out a way to keep the Rebels under 45 points it will be a good day.
Special teams has to be fixed NOW. A blocked punt, a dropped extra point snap and a dropped two-point conversion pass are all bad enough. The penalties on alignment issues are probably what is driving everybody crazy looking at the film Sunday.
That should be fixable.
Just as it has been all season, the Hogs’ problem is an inconsistent offense that seems to need a quarter and a half to get things sorted out to start rolling.
Here’s a look at some of the problems:
Receivers can’t get open
Trey Knox appears to be playing in a fog at times. Through the first three games he has just four catches and not many targets.
With Treylon Burks out Saturday it was a time for him to step up and Knox’s only mention was dropping a two-point conversion pass in the back of the end zone. Yes, it would have been a tough catch but it’s the type play you expect him to make.
De’Vion Warren and Mike Woods are the only receivers who have stepped up. Warren is making big-time plays and Woods is making THE play when it counts.
The others just appear to be out there getting exercise.
Revolving door at tight end continues
Nobody has a clue why Hudson Henry didn’t see the field against Auburn despite being dressed and on the field.
Blake Kern stepped in and made a couple of big plays but depth at that position continues to be a question mark in addition to the lack of production.
Anybody have a clue what Briles doing on goal-line?
Yet again, the Hogs got down near the goal-line and offensive coordinator Kendal Briles pulled the most experienced quarterback (and maybe best player on the roster this year) to put in a freshman.
Everybody in the stadium knew that K.J. Jefferson was going to keep it last week and Malik Hornsby was going to run it against Auburn.
Briles gave away three or four points to prove Hornsby couldn’t out-run the Tigers’ defenders to get into the end zone.
When you lose by two points in a game it’s another missed opportunity along with the extra point issues that led to an officials’ call deciding the game.
Franks settling shaky quarterback position for Hogs
The rotating door at quarterback seems to be over … at least until they get near the goal-line and decide to throw away points to experiment.
Feleipe Franks has shown a maturity at the position along with a mostly accurate and strong arm that has made even remembering the other quarterbacks on the roster fairly difficult.
He has improved every week and against Auburn he finished with a quarterback rating of 206.4 after 22-of-30 and four touchdowns in addition to running for 29 yards.
Most importantly, the Hogs’ offense did not have a single turnover against the Tigers.
Hogs have another chance at SEC win this week
Ole Miss opened as a 4-point favorite at most sports books Sunday … with an over-under of 107, which means nobody is expecting either team to stop the other one.
However, ESPN’s matchup predictor, based on the power index, gives the Hogs a 57.2% chance of winning the game.
Don’t ask me when the last time that happened with the Hogs in an SEC game.