17 September 2008
The real football season is finally here. No more games against directional universities or overrated media hyped teams. Nope. It is time for big boy football. SEC football.
The Tide travels to nowhereville (or Fayetteville, AR, as the locals call it) to square off with the Arkansas Razorbacks. Arkansas is 2-0 on the season after having their game with Texas postponed. Their two victories have come at the expense of Western Illinois 28-24 and Louisiana-Monroe 28-27.
This is year one of the Bobby Petrino era in Fayetteville after the administration at Arkansas grew tired of playing in the Cotton Bowl every year and decided that Houston Nutt had to go.
Petrino is a very good coach, but all Nutt did was win 8 or 9 games a year and usually beat someone they weren’t supposed to.
Anyway, enough of the Houston Nutt love fest – on with the breakdown:
Casey Dick is back for his senior campaign and has been handed the keys to Petrino’s sports car of an offense. In previous years, all Dick was asked to do was give the ball to Darren McFadden and Felix Jones and get out of their way. This year, Dick has already thrown the ball 75 times with 47 completions for a 62.7 completion percentage through two games.
Good news for the Razorbacks – junior Michael Smith rushed for 157 yards last week. The bad news is that while those are impressive one game totals, the rest of the team has totaled 51 yards rushing combined in two games.
For the record, Michael Smith was suspended for their opener for misuse of text books. I am sure you heard about this because of all the media coverage it got…oh wait, he doesn’t play for Alabama.
Sophomore tight end DJ Williams leads the Hawg attack with 169 yards receiving on 10 catches. Freshman wide receiver Joe Adams follows with 121 yards on 10 catches. Scary stat for the day: 10 receivers have recorded at least one catch for Arkansas but only one averages less than 10 yards per catch.
Longtime Hawg defensive coordinator Reggie Herring has moved on to coach linebackers for the Dallas Cowboys and in his place is someone named Willy Robinson (anyone who says they knew that is a liar).
Robinson employs a 4-3 defense that is lead by red shirt freshman Jerry Franklin and his 19 tackles. Four players are tied for second on the team with 12 tackles a piece.
Senior corner Jamar Love leads the secondary with four pass break-ups. In the good news for John Parker Wilson Department, the Razorbacks have yet to record an interception this season (or a fumble for that matter).
While it is impressive that Arkansas has come from behind in the 4th quarter to win its first two games, they were against Western Illinois and Louisiana Monroe.
Look for Coach Saban to keep the ball on the ground and try to control the clock to keep air Petrino off the field. I would also imagine that Saban has mentioned once or twice this week that Arkansas cam back from 21 points down, twice, to force overtime a year ago.
But it's always exciting when these two teams match up. Hopefully Alabama can keep this one from getting too hairy.