Arkansas Razorbacks 2012 Spring Preview - Football Forum - NFL, CFL & College Football Forums
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Old 03-18-2012, 08:36 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Arkansas Arkansas Razorbacks 2012 Spring Preview

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2012 Schedule

Sept. 1 Jacksonville State
Sept. 8 UL Monroe
Sept. 15 Alabama
Sept. 22 Rutgers
Sept. 29 Texas A&M (Site TBD)
Oct. 6 at Auburn
Oct. 13 Kentucky
Oct. 27 Ole Miss
Nov. 3 Tulsa
Nov. 10 at South Carolina
Nov. 17 at Mississippi State
Nov. 24 LSU

Offensive Strength: Quarterback Tyler Wilson pondered a move to the NFL, but decided to return for his senior year at Arkansas. Wilson’s decision to come back to Fayetteville will keep the Razorbacks in the thick of the SEC and national title race. Running back is also a strength, as Knile Davis returns after missing all of last season with a leg injury and Dennis Johnson and Ronnie Wingo are back in the fold after combining for over 1,000 rushing yards last season.

Offensive Weakness: With Joe Adams, Jarius Wright and Greg Childs all out of eligibility, Arkansas will have a revamped group of receivers in 2012. There’s some nice talent returning, as Cobi Hamilton grabbed 34 passes for 542 yards and four scores last season, but there may be a transition period for Wilson and the passing attack.

Defensive Strength: Even though end Jake Bequette is gone, the Razorbacks should field a formidable defensive line. Tenarius Wright was limited to eight games due to injury, but will team with Chris Smith and Trey Flowers to form a solid trio at end. Byran Jones and DeQuinta Jones are back at tackle, giving Arkansas the necessary pieces to finish higher than 74th in rush defense next season.

Defensive Weakness: The Razorbacks aren’t in terrible shape on defense, but each level loses a key player from 2011. End Jake Bequette recorded 10 sacks and was the team’s best pass rusher. Joining Bequette as a key departure is linebacker Jerry Franklin (second-team All-SEC) and safety Tramain Thomas. How will the Razorbacks replace that leadership in 2012?

....More
http://www.athlonsports.com/college-...spring-preview

Well at least their road games are easy ones this year except for South Carolina. They need Wilson to step up if they want to win the SEC, they do play much better at home so they might knock off LSU or Alabama.
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Old 03-19-2012, 10:49 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Bama and LSU both at home, how convenient. Non-conference is so easy. Should be a great season but I'm still not thinking BCS title game.
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Old 03-23-2012, 09:15 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Bama and LSU both at home, how convenient. Non-conference is so easy. Should be a great season but I'm still not thinking BCS title game.
Convenient? Come on now.... Bama and LSU were both road games last season, so obviously convenience has nothing to do with it. I'd love for any other legitimate Top-10 team to have to play both Alabama and LSU, even at home. I think it was made fairly clear last season that NO TEAM would want to do that. What other team would have to beat two contemporary national superpowers, arguably the top two programs in college football right now, just to win their own division? Even the most biased SEC hater would realize the monumental task in that, and there are certainly very VERY few teams that could actually relate. I wouldn't exactly expect anyone here to jump on the Arkansas band wagon just yet, but they've got more than a plethora of talent returning and coming in on both sides of the ball. We're talking about an offense that is bringing back the SEC's top passer of 2011 and top rusher of 2010, along with a fleet of receivers led by one of the best in the nation as well as a much improved O-line. As I've so eloquently pointed out, the questions regarding this team will be at linebacker and defensive back, the only positions where the Razorbacks aren't two or three-deep at every spot. Regardless, I've been extremely impressed with Paul Haynes and there's absolutely no doubt that Paul Petrino is a great offensive coordinator. It really is like a perfect storm of circumstances that suggests this team could easily take it to the next level in 2012.

There definitely is no giant void at the receiver spot despite the loss of three NFL-caliber players. I really don't even see there being much transition in the passing game based on what I know about the other receivers, and by the way there are more receivers on scholarship at Arkansas than you have fingers on your hands. Although they do have this tremendous talent at the receiver spot, don't be surprised to see more two-TE sets and a much more potent run-game with arguably the deepest backfield in the conference coming back. It's still amusing to me that anyone would mention the OOC schedule in attempt to degrade Arkansas in some way. The Razorbacks play in the toughest division, BY FAR, in all of college football. There's absolutely no denying that unless you've been living under a rock for the last half decade. Arkansas doesn't have anything to prove by adding extremely tough OOC games given the fact that their conference schedule includes the #1, #2, and #9 ranked teams from the end of last season (not to mention the fact that Auburn, Miss State, and Texas A&M were all just outside of the Top-25 as well). Alabama and LSU have proved to be consistent national title contenders and therefore would be more inclined to schedule a Top-10 OOC match-up. Nobody should be criticizing Arkansas for their OOC games when their schedule, AS A WHOLE, is as tough as any team in the nation.

With that said, I can agree with most of that team breakdown. I really don't see any weaknesses on this offense, and there will be absolutely NO problem at receiver as long as Bobby Petrino is heading this program. Believe me, I can read talent at the receiver and defensive back positions as good as any NFL scout (that's one of my main areas of expertise). I've actually invested more time analyzing these players and incoming recruits than some of these sports writers. I already posted my own concise breakdown/preview on another thread, so I'm just going to copy & paste that **** on this one. It's just a matter of time before Arkansas really earns the respect they deserve on the national level.

________________________________________________

So here's my preview, or at least this is my post from the other thread addressing all of these things in question. For anyone that knows me, I was obviously trying to be very concise and managed to keep it down to just four paragraphs. However, I did go into some detail regarding the receiver position and the 'void' left with the departure of Joe Adams, Jarius Wright, and Greg Childs. Let me go ahead and make this clear.... THERE IS NO VOID... This was the same type of talk that occurred prior to the 2011 season, where sports analysts and fans alike speculated that Arkansas' passing attack would have to go through a transition with the loss of Ryan Mallett given the fact that Tyler Wilson would be a first-year starter. So what happened? Wilson led the Razorbacks to an 11-win season for just the THIRD time in school history while becoming only the SECOND quarterback at Arkansas to throw for over 3,000 yards. Yes, those three receivers were extremely talented and accounted for majority of the receiving production over the last three seasons. However, those players came in with Petrino's very first class before he had established Arkansas' offense as the top in the SEC. This on-the-field success has opened the door for a multitude of talented quarterbacks, receivers, and tight ends to be drawn to this program knowing that they can put up similar production. With that said, I've seen several young receivers on this team that have the potential to be SO MUCH BETTER than those three that left (which is a hell of a compliment).

To properly illustrate my point, let's take a look at how some of these receivers stacked up against each other as recruits according to Scout.com..... Obviously some guys are no longer with the team, and others just didn't develop -- so I'm only going to list the players that are relevant to this discussion.

National Rank | Position | National Rating | Name

2008
#8 ATH (4-star) Joe Adams
#39 WR (4-star) Jarius Wright
#72 WR (3-star) Greg Childs
#148 WR (3-star) Chris Gragg

2009
#108 WR (3-star) Cobi Hamilton

2010
#112 WR (3-star) Julian Horton
#113 WR (3-star) Maudrecus Humphrey

2011
#35 WR (4-star) Quinta Funderburk
#41 WR (4-star) Keante Minor
#91 WR (3-star) Marquel Wade
#47 TE (3-star) Demetrius Dean

2012
]#46 WR (4-star) Keon Hatcher
#69 WR (3-star) Eric Hawkins
#110 WR (3-star) MeKale McKay
#134 WR (3-star) D'Arthur Cowan
(JUCO) WR Demetrius Wilson

It's just interesting to see how the Arkansas coaching staff has been able to develop these players, especially as most of them weren't the most highly touted recruits coming in. Greg Childs is the perfect example given the way he was rated coming in since he was considered one of the top NFL-caliber receivers prior to his knee injury in 2010. Furthermore, Chris Gragg has developed from a underrated receiver to emerge last season as one of the top pass-catching tight ends in the SEC with 41 receptions for 518 yards (trailing NFL-bound TE Orson Charles by a mere 4 catches and 54 yards). Jarius Wright and Joe Adams both finished last season at #1 and #2 respectively for career receptions and production at Arkansas, and Adams' 4 punt return TDs set another school record as well. 'Smokin' Joe was obviously the highest rated recruit of the whole bunch, but there are several players who rated similarly to Wright at the same level. What I'm trying to say is that if the coaching staff can develop receivers who rank in the 100's nationally into NFL-caliber prospects, then you can fully expect every one of those 4-star recruits to become household names in the SEC before it's all said and done.

..... So back to my 'concise' preview...

Cobi Hamilton was actually projected as the top receiver prospect for the 2013 NFL Draft by CBS Sports. That could probably be disputed, but there's no doubt that he'd certainly belong in a Top-5 list. Hamilton has prototypical size, great speed/quickness, superior body control in the air, excellent route running ability, and a very high football IQ from his years of experience playing in a pro-style offense. It's interesting to read all of the articles regarding the wide receiver competition at Arkansas with the void left by the departure of Jarius Wright, Joe Adams, and Greg Childs. Losing out on Dorial Green-Beckham to Missouri was hardly a 'big blow' for the Razorbacks given the fact that their scholarship receivers number in double-digits. I'm very excited about some of the young talent as well as the new veterans in the group, most of whom have been overshadowed by the tremendous talent of the nation's top receiving quartet. Cobi Hamilton and TE Chris Gragg will lead the receiving corps as the two seasoned seniors along with juniors Julian Horton, Javontee Herndon, and Maudrecus Humphrey. Sophomore Marquel Wade garnered much attention as a true freshmen last season, most notably after being ejected from the Vanderbilt game for laying out the Commodores' return man (who had just barely lifted his pinky finger to signal fair catch). However, Wade is an incredibly gifted athlete who was rated the #4 prep school prospect in the nation by rivals prior to signing with the Razorbacks. He has even been compared to Joe Adams because of his size, speed, and elusiveness -- so it was only fitting that Wade's first touchdown was on special teams, an 85-yard kick return. Marquel was an asset on special teams last season, setting up many crucial blocks which contributed to Adams' record-setting FOUR punt return touchdowns.

There's also plenty of buzz surrounding the new crop of receivers, those from both the 2011 and 2012 recruiting classes. Last season saw the addition of Marquel Wade, and two more 4-star receivers in Keante Minor (6'2, 194lbs) and Quinta Funderburk (6'3, 206lbs). Davyon McKinney and Kane Whitehurst also came in with the 2011 recruiting class. TE Demetrius Dean (6'3, 245lbs) was also part of that class, but has actually just joined the team with the incoming class. Arkansas added even more depth with the 2012 Recruiting Class, led by 4-star WR Keon Hatcher (6'2, 195lbs). This class also includes several 4.40-range speedsters with good size in MeKale McKay (6'6, 195lbs), Eric Hawkins (6'1, 175lbs), D'Arthur Cowan (6'2, 175lbs), and JUCO standout Demetrius Wilson (6'3, 170lbs). If there's one thing that this team displays across the board, it's superior speed. Nowhere has this been more evident than on offense, and Arkansas could even legitimately be considered one of the fastest teams in the nation. Expectations are extremely high among the Razorback faithful, but for very good reason given the ensemble cast set to return next season. It's extremely difficult to imagine this team NOT being a frontrunner in competing for the SEC Championship.

This could very easily be the top returning offense in college football, although many people would more readily join the Southern Cal bandwagon. Arkansas is definitely returning one of the best special teams units in the nation with K Zach Hocker, P Dylan Breeding, and a host of return specialists including RB Dennis Johnson (who currently holds the school record for career kickoff yardage with 2,475 yards (24.87 avg) and 3 kick return TDs) -- which is very impressive considering that he missed nearly all of the 2010 season due to a severe bowel injury suffered in Week 2, ironically enough on a kick return. Regardless, Johnson plays with incredible heart and will definitely be a factor on special teams as well as running the football or catching passes out of the backfield. With everyone healthy, Arkansas' corps of running backs is as deep and dangerous as any team in the nation -- Knile Davis, Dennis Johnson, and Ronnie Wingo will all be utilized with JUCO FB Kiero Small expected to improve upon his breakout first season with the Razorbacks in 2010. Small could easily be considered the top lead-blocking fullback in the SEC. Arkansas' backfield will also see the addition of 4-star RB Jonathan Williams, rated in the Top-20 out of every other recruit at his position. As I've already pointed out so thoroughly, the Razorbacks have more talent at receiver and tight end than they know what to do with. Their offensive line will be MUCH improved, led by All-SEC OG Alvin Bailey, who is already being projected as the #1 offensive guard prospect for the 2014 NFL Draft (NFL Draft Scout: Alvin Bailey | Arkansas OG). Arkansas' offensive line just keeps getting bigger and better each season, which is apparent when you analyze the most recent recruits: 5-star OT Brey Cook (#6 OT in 2011 class), 4-star OT Andrew Peterson (#26 OT), 4-star OT Mitch Smothers (#29 OT), and 4-star OG Jeremy Ward (#23 OG in 2012 class).

The biggest question mark for Arkansas is obviously on defense given the loss play-makers like DE Jake Bequette, LB Jerry Franklin, LB/S Jerico Nelson, and S Tramain Thomas among others. However, new defensive coordinator Paul Haynes made a huge impression with the Razorbacks' defensive performance against #8 Kansas State in the Cotton Bowl. Although Haynes only had 42 days with the team in preparation, there was already a noticeable difference in the way his unit played. Haynes' philosophy is 'team first', and he preaches the fundamentals of tackling, which is evident if you've seen the Ohio State defenses that he's coached. His specialty is defensive backs, and he surely has plenty of talented young corners and safetys to develop. Haynes has stated that he is extremely confident in this defense considering that they are as strong up front as they've been in over a decade. Their defensive ends include senior Tenarius 'Tank' Wright, junior Chris Smith, sophomore Trey Flowers, and junior JUCO-transfer Austin Flynn (who is expected to have an immediate impact in his first season with the Razorbacks). Arkansas is also extremely deep at defensive tackle with the likes of junior Byran Jones, junior Robert Thomas, senior DeQuinta Jones, and senior Alfred Davis all leading a very stout defensive line. So the biggest question on defense will be surrounding the linebacker corps, although this unit saw the emergence of JUCO-transfer Alonzo Highsmith last season (son of former NFL running back, Walter Highsmith, as well as cousin of current NFL linebacker and former LSU Tiger, Ali Highsmith). Senior Matt Marshall and sophomore Braylon Mitchell will each likely fill the other linebacker positions. The secondary will be led by sophomore Tevin Mitchell, who earned a great deal of respect as a top cover-corner in 2011 in his true freshman season. Darius Winston and Kelvin Fisher will likely fill the two and three spots at CB, while senior Ross Rasner and junior Eric Bennett have already locked up their starting positions at safety.
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Old 03-23-2012, 09:33 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I think the SEC is more up for grabs this year than in recent years. Their could be 8 or 9 top 25 caliber teams, although there is no way that many will be ranked in the end because some will have to lose half or more their games. I think the following will all have a chance to actually win the SEC next year, in order of most likely.

1. Alabama
2. Arkansas
3. LSU
4. Georgia
5. South Carolina
6. Missouri
7. Florida
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Old 03-23-2012, 10:26 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Homer post up there ^^^^^^^

Haha. Arkansas is still overrated.
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Old 03-24-2012, 10:38 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Yeah, I think Mr. Clean is getting a little too excited about his team this year. I know how it is though, when you got talent you expect them to come through. I kinda feel the same way about Mizzou this year. We are pretty loaded, but there are so many other talented teams, the top is a hard place to get to. I think College Football is dominated by its superpowers more than any other sport. There is a barrier at the top that's hard to crack even with tons of talent.
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Old 03-24-2012, 01:55 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Its not about talent, its about money.
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Old 03-27-2012, 09:00 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Arkansas

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Originally Posted by Major Seahawk View Post
Homer post up there ^^^^^^^

Haha. Arkansas is still overrated.
... Really? Back to this **** again? Do you just enjoy being utterly clueless or is it some kind of rare medical condition? I wasn't even going to gratify that bull**** with a response, but I guess it wouldn't hurt. Let me keep this simple for you...

1.Why again is that a 'homer post up there'? The grand majority of that post was made up of FACTUAL information (i.e. names, stats, etc.), and I didn't even definitively predict ANYTHING at all. So before you go talking out of your ***, it might bode well for you to actually know what you're saying. Calling someone a 'homer' implies that there is some sort of blind bias about a specific team when there is objective evidence contrary to their beliefs. There's absolutely nothing that I've posted in this thread to suggest that I'm out of touch with reality in any way, although I can't exactly say the same for you... I try to be as objective as possible with every post. It'd be one thing if I said with certainty that Arkansas was GOING to win a national title next season, but that's just not the case. Another example would be last season, when you made the ridiculous claim that Boise State was the very best team in the country... However, I will say that the Razorbacks have a great shot to win the SEC, and by default would likely be playing for that crystal ball if that is the case. It'd be another thing if my opinions were so unrealistic that NOBODY else shared my feelings, but a rather large population of college football analysts/writers have acknowledged the tremendous talent returning for Arkansas -- enough talent for this team to be considered a top contender in 2012.

2. Overrated compared to what? You're a fan of Boise State, which is the epitome of overrated to everyone with even the slightest bit of common sense... Arkansas plays in the toughest division in all of college football and has still managed to consistently improve each season under Coach Petrino. The Razorbacks are 21-5 over the past two seasons with losses only coming against #1 Alabama, at #7 Auburn (2011 BCS Championship winner), #6 Ohio State, at #2 Alabama (2012 BCS Championship winner), and at #1 LSU (2011 SEC Champs)-- in chronological order. That's two BCS Champions, two more #1 teams, and a one-loss Ohio State team that spent most of the 2010 season ranked at #2 and #1. So clearly they were only beaten by the best. In that same period of time, Arkansas knocked off several top-ranked opponents: at #18 South Carolina (2010 SEC East Champs), at #22 Miss State, #6 LSU, at #14 Texas A&M, #15 Auburn, #10 South Carolina, and #8 Kansas State. There's no question that this team and its players have proved where they stand among the best in the nation. It typically takes three to four years for a new head coach to implement his system and develop the first recruiting class, and the 2011 season marked Coach Petrino's fourth season at Arkansas. Bobby Petrino has established Arkansas as the top offense in the SEC consistently with the program's first Top-5 finish since 1977 last season, thus earning the team their respect as a legitimate contender on the national level. So please do enlighten me as to WHY Arkansas is overrated, because otherwise you're just making mindless comments that aren't backed up by ANYTHING whatsoever -- which is apparently just your style... I realize that you're most likely bitter from all of our previous discussions regarding those precious Broncos of BS-U, and surely that's why you would make such an ignorant statement. However, the Razorbacks are definitely not overrated by any means, and they will certainly be aiming for an SEC Championship next season.

3. To further illustrate my point, I'd love to provide you with some reading material by other various college football analysts/writers who seem to share my feelings about Arkansas. Perhaps you are just too bitter and confused to learn the truth, or maybe it's just a painful process of acceptance... Regardless, I'm obviously not alone in recognizing that the Razorbacks are on the cusp of a SEC Championship run. Any attempt to deny this is completely futile and pointless.

_________________________________________________


Odds to Win 2012-13 BCS National Championship

You can even look at the odds released for certain teams to win the 2013 BCS Championship, and Arkansas is 8th best overall at 20/1. It's certainly difficult for any SEC team to accomplish this feat, especially in the West division with Alabama and LSU annually. Despite this challenge, there are only SEVEN teams with better odds of winning a national title next season (LSU 19/4, USC 5/1, Alabama 11/2, Oklahoma 10/1, Florida State 12/1, Oregon 12/1, and Georgia 14/1). Some of the other teams include Michigan 22/1, Clemson 25/1, Florida 30/1, South Carolina 30/1, Wisconsin 40/1, Boise State 50/1, TCU 50/1, Mich State 75/1, Oklahoma State 75/1, and all the way down to Oregon State 200/1. By the way, Vegas really doesn't mess around when it comes to odds-making and earning a profit. So it's very interesting to see Arkansas with such great odds despite playing in the SEC West, and these are odds to WIN the BCS Championship next season.

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ESPN | Why Arkansas Razorbacks, Oregon Ducks Are Legitimate Contenders in 2012

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The Top 10 Title Contenders and Title Pretenders for the 2012 Season

The above article is also another good one. Arkansas is actually listed ahead of USC as the top contender in 2012, and surely you will find it interesting who they've got listed as the top pretender. I couldn't have written it any better myself.

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Sporting News: NFL Scouts 'Disappointed' Razorbacks' Wilson Not Available in 2012

_________________________________________________


He's Back: Knile Davis Healthy Again

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UA: Legitimate Contender

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Head-To-Head: Knile Davis VS Marcus Lattimore

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SDS Top 25 Players For 2012: Cobi Hamilton

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Will the Special Teams Be Special Again for the 2012 Arkansas Razorbacks?


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Old 03-27-2012, 09:53 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Arkansas

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Yeah, I think Mr. Clean is getting a little too excited about his team this year. I know how it is though, when you got talent you expect them to come through. I kinda feel the same way about Mizzou this year. We are pretty loaded, but there are so many other talented teams, the top is a hard place to get to. I think College Football is dominated by its superpowers more than any other sport. There is a barrier at the top that's hard to crack even with tons of talent.

I can handle that. At least you actually know how to RESPECTFULLY disagree with someone, unlike some people who have no concept of respect. I could even understand someone being slightly disrespectful if my opinion wasn't held by ANYBODY else, but I've obviously pointed out how widespread it is. Arkansas is a legitimate top contender for the BCS Championship next season whether people would like to admit it or not. ESPN's Beano Cook already predicted an Arkansas/USC match-up for the next national title game. It's certain that nothing is set in stone and anything could happen as has been proven countless times, but it appears to be Arkansas' time to shine in 2012.

I'm definitely excited about the Razorbacks in 2012, and rightfully so. Coach Petrino has taken this program to heights it hasn't reached in all of my 26 years. It's a very exciting time to be an Arkansas fan while there are so many college football analysts predicting an SEC Championship for Tyler Wilson and company. Arkansas has been SOOOOOOOOOOO close over the last two seasons to taking it to the next level, and all of the pieces are in place for 2012. This returning offense is arguably the best in the nation, and the only other team that is comparable would have to be USC. The Trojans and Razorbacks will have the top two quarterbacks in college football next season along with a plethora of talent surrounding them. Arkansas' backfield is LOADED with the likes of Knile Davis, Dennis Johnson, Ronnie Wingo, and the new blood. Their offensive line is bigger, deeper, and more talented than ever before -- which is no surprise when you take a look at how highly rated these guys were as recruits. The coaching staff has brought in a fleet of receivers over the years, so many that there will be a relatively seamless transition next season after the loss of three veterans to the NFL (two of which now hold the top spots for all-time career receptions and yards receiving as the best receivers to ever don a Razorback jersey). The defense has made huge strides to improve, and expectations are extremely high with such a talented assistant as Paul Haynes at the helm. The defensive line is stacked as well, and will certainly be on par with Alabama and LSU next season if not even better. Of course I'm going to be passionate about my team, but I am extremely objective in all of my posts. I try to analyze the team like an outside looking in, and still the amount of talent is a bit overwhelming. It doesn't take much research into these players and this team to realize their true potential going forward through the next two seasons. I don't necessarily expect everyone to agree with me, but Arkansas won't win any less than 10 games in 2012.
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Old 03-27-2012, 10:06 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I would love to give an in depth analysis of all of Mizzou's units and top players, seriously. I just don't think anyone really cares that much to read it, except Mr. Clean who appears to be overly literate. The long posts set him up for scrutiny. It may be objective but people respond better to a little bit of humility. I learned that the hard way on forums such as this. When I really built up the Tigers, the feedback was negative. When I said I was unsure, the people told me how much talent we have.
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