Arkansas Razorbacks College Football Preview 2021: Keys To The Season
Arkansas Razorbacks Biggest Key: Offense
The offense has GOT to convert on third downs. Arkansas might be close to the bottom of the SEC again in time of possession, but as long as it’s better than 34% on third downs, the O should be a whole lot better.
It’s one thing to have a fact-paced offense that likes to keep defenses on their heels, and it’s another to not be able to move the chains and come through on key drives.
The Hogs had their moments, and the offense was steadily able to put up points, but they were brutal on third downs, bottoming out with an 0-for-10 day in the 27-24 loss to LSU.
But this is nothing new. The last three Hog teams have failed to finish the year higher than 34% on third downs and haven’t hit 40% in four of the last five seasons.
Part of the problem was the inability to do enough in pass protection. And on the other side …
Arkansas Razorbacks Biggest Key: Defense
Generate more pressure and plays behind the line. The defense has active linebackers who know how to come up with tackles for loss, but the team only averaged five tackles for loss per game. Sacks were a bigger problem with just 14 on the year and just three over the last four games.
The offensive side couldn’t convert on third downs, and the defensive side couldn’t generate sacks to generate key stops.
It’s been a long, long time since Arkansas came up with a killer pass rush, but just a little more pressures would take the heat off of everything else the D does – and would do wonders for the disastrous time of possession issue.
Arkansas Razorbacks Key Player To A Successful Season
QB KJ Jefferson, Soph.
The parts around the quarterback have to be stronger – a top running back would be nice, the O line has to be better in pass protection, and more targets have to emerge to help Treylon Burks – but even if that all works, the Hogs need the main man under center to be great.
Feleipe Franks suffered from being in the same conference as Mac Jones, Kyle Trask and Kellen Mond, but he had a nice season. He was the SEC veteran who got the new era of Arkansas football rolling, but Jefferson has to be the star who grows into the gig over the next few years.
He’s got the size, the arm, and the mobility, but he has to be more accurate and he has to take command of the attack right away and make it his.
Arkansas Razorbacks Key Game To The 2021 Season
Texas A&M (in Arlington), Sept. 25
Arkansas has a brutal schedule. As good as A&M is, it’s going to be a must-win with what’s coming.
A&M will be top ten-good, but it doesn’t get a whole lot easier with trips to Georgia and Ole Miss – this year’s Rebel team is nasty – right after. With the back-to-back November games against LSU and Alabama sill looming, there’s going to be a big issue if the Hogs can’t get out of AT&T with a win.
They’ve had their moments in a few good games over the years against Texas A&M, but they’ve lost nine in a row after winning the the previous three.
2020 Arkansas Razorbacks Fun Stats
– Sacks: Opponents 34 for 186 yards- Arkansas 14 for 103 yards
– Time of Possession: Opponents 34:43 – Arkansas 25:17
– 3rd Down Conversions: Opponents 74-of-158 (47%) – Arkansas 46-of-136 (34%)