In our buildup to the big showdown in Fayetteville this weekend, I exchanged questions with the John and Stephen over at Arkansas Expats. They were kind enough to provide a short response regarding players they think should keep both coaching staffs up late at night (Ed. Note: It took every ounce of self restraint I have to not ask some snarky question about Bobby Petrino. I think I covered it well enough in my post yesterday). Much thanks and many cocktails to the guys over there for their time and great answer:
Hobnail Boot: Due to the fact that the Bulldogs and Razorbacks haven’t faced off that regularly since the SEC expanded in 1992, there is a high level of unfamiliarity with each team from the opposing fanbases and coaching staffs. In your opinion, which player should the Razorback fans and coaching staff be most concerned with and conversely, which player should the Bulldog fans and coaching staff be most concerned with?
Arkansas Expats: Considering how god awful Arkansas’ defense and special teams play were last year and how weak the Hogs’ season-opening opponent was, let me first say that there are several Georgia players that worry me. If I’m forced to pick just one though, I have to go with A.J. Green.
Last year, the Hogs ranked 10th in the SEC in passing defense, giving up 204.4 yards per game through the air (Arkansas ranked dead last in rushing defense and dead last in total defense. In other words, they were well-rounded.).
The Hogs appear to have improved the talent in their secondary, and in their only game so far in 2009, they held Missouri State to 123 passing yards. But then again … that was Missouri State. So who really knows how good or bad Arkansas’ defensive backs are?
If the Razorbacks are destined to once again struggle against the pass, then an electric talent like the poweful Green would appear poised to make Saturday night a miserable one for Arkansas – even with Joe Cox taking the snaps.
Like I noted earlier, Arkansas struggled mightily to defend the run last year, so big nights by Richard Samuel and Caleb King – who has just been labeled “very probable” for the game by Mark Richt as I type this – are by no means out of the question. But, Green is the one who will keep me up these next few nights.
As to your second question, I’m going with quarterback Ryan Mallett. His transfer to Arkansas from Michigan was accompanied by a considerable amount of hype – and he just may live up to it. By all accounts, he had a fantastic fall camp and completed 17 of 22 passes for 309 yards against Missouri State (I know, I know – it was Missouri State). Couple all of that with the fact that the Bulldogs yielded 313 yards through the air against the Gamecocks, and I think you guys should be worried about Mallett.
Other names you might be discussing come Saturday night: running back Michael Smith, wide receiver Jarius Wright and tight end D.J. Williams.
Thanks for the question exchange. It’s been a lot of fun! Good luck Saturday night and the rest of the season.
See my response to their question here. Thanks once again to the guys over at Arkansas Expats for their time and let’s GATA!