Hogs have time to improve running game
Probably not much at all. Had Arkansas wanted to pound Missouri State into submission, the Razorbacks probably could have accomplished at some point in the ballgame. But as Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino explained Monday, that’s not really his goal.
Petrino wants to score every time his offense has the ball, and to that end, he wants an offense that that is effective enough at rushing and passing to take what the defense gives.
Arkansas scored in spades against Missouri State, and while neither Petrino nor offensive coordinator Garrick McGee, who said he scolded his running backs after the game for waiting for something to happen instead of making something happen, were thrilled with the rushing effort, there is time for it to develop. And developing the rushing game can be done more effectively in practice than in a game like that one.
But the big question really on the mind of concerned Hog fans is whether or not the rushing game come together in time for Alabama?
It didn't last year with a more experienced offensive line, but supposedly the Hogs' defense is better this year, which should help give the offense a shorter field and possibly the cushion of some defensive scores.
What Petrino truly wants is balance in his offense. That doesn't necessarily mean equality in rushing and passing statistics on a game by game basis. It means that when the defense rushes three men and drops eight, the Hogs can run effectively enough to not allow them to do that for very long.
It also means when a team puts eight men around the line of scrimmage, the Hogs can pass effectively enough to take advantage of the mismatch.
Right now, it does not appear the No. 14 Hogs could mount a balanced attack against an upper echelon SEC squad. But, they have the better part of three weeks to get there. No. 3 Alabama doesn’t dot the schedule until Sept. 24.
This may be a team that has to pass to set up the run. If that's the case, is Tyler Wilson's arm strong enough to pass into the zones he'll see against SEC athletes without throwing a lot of interceptions?
Will his green offensive line give him enough time to work through his progression?
All of that remains to be seen.
But again, the Hogs have time to make improvements, and one thing Petrino’s teams have done game after game since he took over Arkansas’ program is improve.
It will be interesting to see how much the Razorbacks improve this week against New Mexico from last. It’ll also be interesting to see if the Lobos are good enough to point out any other chinks in the Hogs’ armor.