Auburn Opponent Breakdown: Arkansas


Nov 2, 2013; Fayetteville, AR, USA; Auburn Tigers defensive lineman Angelo Blackson (98) reacts after a stop as Arkansas Razorbacks full back Kiero Small (36) looks on during the first half at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

August 30 is just around the corner. With that in mind, we offer the first Auburn opponent breakdown of the 2014 season.

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The Arkansas Razorbacks were not a very good football team last season. The Hogs started strong with three straight wins, but dropped their final non-conference game to Rutgers and never recovered. Arkansas went on to lose nine consecutive games, including all eight against SEC opponents. The worst stretch was a dreadful month of October in which the Razorbacks lost 30-10 to Florida, suffered a 52-7 drubbing at home at the hands of South Carolina, and finally a 52-0 embarrassment in Tuscaloosa.

However, the team improved as the calendar turned to November. The Razorbacks played Auburn tough before falling 35-17. They got just a little bit closer to Ole Miss before losing 34-24. Arkansas gave Mississippi State everything they could handle before the Bulldogs pulled it out in overtime 24-17, and then the LSU Tigers barely escaped Fayetteville with a 31-27 victory in a game the Razorbacks led in the fourth quarter.

Neither the offense nor defense performed spectacularly in 2013. The Arkansas running game was the team’s brightest spot with 208.7 rushing yards per game on average. The offense ranked dead last in the conference in passing, and eleventh in total offense. The defense ranked ninth statistically in total defense after allowing 413.4 yards per game, but gave up too many big plays all season.

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  • Looking ahead, the roster has improved. The team’s three top rushers return, as well as their starting quarterback. Three starters are back on the offensive line, and thanks to last year’s backups and a talented group of newcomers, the O-Line should have more depth in addition to being better overall.

    On defense, the team will benefit from the return of defensive end Trey Flowers, who would likely have been a mid-round draft pick. Darius Philon is one of the better defensive tackles in the league, and the linebackers are solid. The biggest question mark is the secondary, but two starters return and three seniors are expected to start.

    2013 Record: 3-9 (0-8)

    Head Coach: Bret Bielema (71-33 overall, 3-9 at Arkansas)

    Offensive Coordinator: Jim Chaney

    Defensive Coordinator: Robb Smith

    Key Departures: C Travis Swanson, DE Chris Smith, LT David Hurd, WR Javontee Herndon, FB Kiero Small, K Zach Hocker, FS Eric Bennett, LB Jarrett Lake

    Key Returners: RB Alex Collins, RB Jonathan Williams, DE Trey Flowers, TE Hunter Henry, LT Dan Skipper, RG Denver Kirkland, RT Brey Cook, QB Brandon Allen, S Alan Turner, DT Darius Philon, LB Braylon Mitchell, LB Brooks Ellis, CB Tevin Mitchell, P Sam Irwin-Hill

    Impact Newcomers: WR Cody Hollister, K Cole Hedlund, DT Bijhon Jackson, OL Frank Ragnow, WR Jojo Robinson, OL Sebastian Tretola, OL Cameron Johnson

    Offensive Style: Pro-Style

    Defensive Style: 4-3

    Returning Starters: 10

    Offensive Starters Returning: 6

    Defensive Starters Returning: 4

    2013 Stats (Returning Players Only):

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    Offensive Depth Chart – Projected Starters

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    Defensive Depth Chart – Projected Starters

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    2014 Schedule

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    Outlook: The Arkansas Razorbacks will be a better team in 2014 than they were last season. The transition from Bobby Petrino to John L. Smith and finally to Bret Bielema was about as rocky as any we’ve seen. But now, under Bielema, the program seems to be only solid ground and the team should make strides this season.

    However, because of a very difficult schedule, it will be a struggle for Arkansas to achieve a winning-season, or even a .500 record and a bowl game. Those things are possible, but 5-7 or 4-8 seems more likely.