2017 Prespring Rankings: No. 29 Arkansas Razorbacks
The 2017 prespring college football rankings, taking the first look at the Arkansas Razorbacks
No. 29: Arkansas Razorbacks
Arkansas Razorbacks Prespring Status
Bret Bielema is way overdue to come up with a big season to show that there’s hope to someday, maybe, possibly, hopefully come up with a run for an SEC West title. Last year’s team crashed and burned over the second half of the season, going 2-4 with losses to Missouri and Virginia Tech to close things out. This year’s team needs to at least be a player, or the Bielema Hot Seat headlines will dominate the season.
The defense has to be far stronger, especially against the run, and it needs to come up with a third down stop at some point. The offense lost its running game identity and relied on the passing attack way too often. If this is all going to work like it’s supposed to under Bielema, there shouldn’t be so many shootouts.
The offense should be able to work more around that ground game with eight starters back, while the defense has a few problems with five starters gone. Throw in the loss of both kickers, and there are concerns, especially on …
Arkansas Razorbacks Biggest Issue
The defensive front. The receiving corps has to undergo an overhaul, but it’s the D line that Bielema and company need to deal with this spring, losing just about everyone. This wasn’t a great pass rushing line before, and it’s not going to get much stronger without Jeremiah Ledbetter and Deatrich Wise Jr. on the outside. 14.5 of the 25 sacks have to be replaced, while a bulk of the tackles for loss are gone.
Arkansas Razorbacks Biggest Positive
The ground attack should be far better. Rawleigh Williams III came up with 1,360 yards and 12 scores, while Devwah Whaley ripped off 602 yards and three scores – both averaged well over five yards per carry. Dan Skipper is done at left tackle, but the other four starters are back on the offensive front.
Really, Why Are The Arkansas Razorbacks Ranked Here?
The receiving corps is a concern with five of the top six targets gone, but QB Austin Allen is back after a big season, and again, the ground game should be more effective. With an improved defense, and the O likely to fit Bielema’s style a bit better, the Hogs should be in for a much better season.