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Previewing South Carolina at Arkansas: Topics for Discussion on the Hogs' Offense

The Hogs have one of the best offenses in the conference. Can we stop them, or will we have to win a shootout? A few thoughts:

 

  • Photon Torpedo Tube sums up some of my own thoughts on the game. Arkansas has a great offense, but they don't match up very well against us. The Hogs throw the ball a lot, and we have one of the best pass defenses in the country. Moreover, Bobby Petrino's team is distinctly vulnerable to a good pass rush, as their line is average and Ryan Mallett is one of the most immobile quarterbacks around. Our pass rush has been on and off this year, but it's shown that it's capable of doing big things in the N. C. State, Ole Miss, and Alabama games. A lot will be riding on how well Devin Taylor plays in Cliff Mattthew's stead. If he, Clifton Geathers, and Eric Norwood spend a lot of time in Mallett's grill, expect for us to ring up some sacks and for Arkansas to finish the game well below their usual level of production. If we don't get pressure, Arkansas will probably move the ball.
  • Arkansas is only ninth in the SEC in rushing offense. However, Petrino is not afraid to use the power running game, as he did last year when he didn't have a good quarterback. In fact, I'm kind of surprised that the Hogs are that low in rushing yards, as Petrino-coached teams typically run the ball well. (Like Steve Spurrier, Petrino is known for his passing game but in reality wants to use a balanced offense to set up big play opportunities.) Considering that we defend the run poorly and that Arkansas tailback Michael Smith is probably going to be back in the lineup, don't be surprised if Arkansas tries to establish the run to keep us from teeing off on Mallett. Whether or not we can slow Smith down will be key.
  • We need to force some turnovers in this game. Our pass defense has played well all season, but they've failed to take advantage of numerous interception opportunities. With Arkansas likely to throw the ball quite a few times Saturday, we should have more chances. We need to make it happen this time.