Behind Enemy Lines: The Arkansas Traveler's Connor Lane dissects the RazorbacksBy Matthew Speakman | 10/11/2017 8:42pm
Alabama has dominated Arkansas ever since Nick Saban arrived at the Capstone. Last season, the Crimson Tide took down the Razorbacks 49-31 in a game that featured five Arkansas turnovers, which resulted in two defensive touchdowns from Alabama. Arkansas has not defeated Alabama since 2006, when the Razorbacks won 24-23 in overtime. This season, Arkansas enters the game 2-4 on the year. To get more perspective on the Razorbacks, we talked to Connor Lane of the Arkansas Traveler, the Razorbacks' student-led newspaper. Here is what he had to say:
Austin Allen is questionable for this game, what kind of an impact does he have on this team, and how much would it hurt to not have him? What does Cole Kelley bring to the table if Allen can't play?
I don't really think he has the effect on the team that he did last year. He has underperformed in nearly every statistic thus far, and I highly doubt that will change against Alabama. Cole Kelley brings a fire and strength that I don't think Allen can match. He's a 6'7 behemoth that can move the chains with his arm or his legs. I'm not sure how often that will happen against that dominant Tide defense, but it's an interesting to think about going forward.
What are the feelings surrounding Bret Bielema so far this season?
The feelings are pretty much entirely negative from where I sit. The fact that the biggest question the fans have for the season is asking how big his buyout is isn't a very good sign. He was hired as a recruiter and a winner, and fans haven't seen much of either since Petrino was removed.
How does Arkansas use their trio of running backs effectively? Which one out of the three has stood out the most to you?
The trio of running backs is one of the bright spots on the team. They are each exciting in their own way. David Williams is a major goal-line threat. Devwah Whaley is a bull of a runner. He has speed to break away, but he is also big enough to break through tackles. But, Chase Hayden is the most exciting of the three to me. He's very quick, he's smart with the ball, and he has so many moves to evade defenders. It's very exciting to watch. Unfortunately, the leading rusher on the Razorbacks (Hayden) doesn't get the carries necessary to really break out. Through five games, he only has 50 carries.
What do you think is the key to slowing down Alabama's offense?
Whatever the key is, I don't think the Razorbacks have it. The Hogs let a Sun-Belt team score 24 points on them. They average over 31 points allowed per game. A&M scored a season-high 50 points on the porous Razorback defense. I don't see any reason that the doors to the end zone would be shut any more tightly than they have been thus far.
What do you think Arkansas has to do to keep Alabama's defense on its heels?
It really depends on who touches the ball. Bielema's offense has so many ever-changing facets that it's hard to predict. One game the offense can't score more than seven points against TCU, the next it puts up 43 on Texas A&M. If Allen or Kelley can go out there and start moving the ball quickly and efficiently early, it could be make a big impact. That is if the offensive line can hold the Alabama D-line for longer than a few seconds.
Finally, give us a score prediction and why you chose that.
My score prediction is 35-3 Alabama. The Hogs have no home-field advantage, no consistent offense, no consistent defense, and an offensive line that has seen much better days. But, as I always say, you never know with this team – it could be closer, or it could be even further.