Arkansas Razorbacks Ready to Make the Next Step
While more and more college football teams make the transition on offensive to the up-tempo spread formations, Arkansas Razorbacks head coach Bret Bielema is a throwback to the traditionalist style of play with tight ends that block, fullbacks and passers who drop back in the pocket after lining up under center.
For the Arkansas Razorbacks there are no smoke and mirrors on the field.
The style of play by the Razorbacks is well known and coach Bielema likes it that way.
The big challenge facing Bielema upon his arrival before the start of the 2013 season was changing a program that played an up-tempo spread offense into a contender for the SEC championship through the use of a style that is tried and true that is more and more rare each season.
Following a debut season of 3-9, Bielema and his Hogs started to turn the corner. They won three of their final four games over two teams in the SEC West Ole Miss and LSU and a former rival in the Southwest Conference Texas in 2014.
Bielema says that until he wins a championship he will not be satisfied. He called that his ultimate goal. There are believers who feel Arkansas has a chance to pull it off this season. Three media members picked the Hogs to win the SEC, while six said they would win the SEC West.
Those are ambitious choices since Arkansas was 7-6 last season and finished dead last in 2014 in the SEC West. However, the images that remain of their 17-0 win over LSU and 30-0 over Ole Miss have made the Razorbacks an intriguing team entering 2015.
Bielema says the offensive and defensive linemen are given optimal treatment. On flights, they are in first class and have been said to be treated like quarterbacks are treated on other teams.
The cover photo for the media guide in 2015 for the Razorbacks features the starting offensive linemen.
Robb Smith the defensive coordinator explained it simply by saying, “It is who we are.”
Another reason many feel the Razorbacks will contend this season is that their 7-6 record last season could have been 10-3. The Hogs lost a tough overtime game against Texas A&M, a one-point game to Alabama and a loss of seven to Mississippi State who at the time was No. 1.
This season a veteran offensive line will help the offense as two 1,000 yards rushers from last season return.
While a number of top players were lost on defense due to the NFL draft or graduation, six starters are returning from a defense unit that was dominant to finish the season.
The Hogs are hoping they can pound the ball into the line over and over again and win a championship for Bielema.