First thoughts about Georgia-Arkansas

  • Barnhart refers to Saturday night’s game in Fayetteville as a “classic ‘trap’ game”, which I don’t get (what, the Dawgs are looking ahead to Arizona State?), but also mentions the fatigue factor, which I buy a little more.  Certainly Arkansas, which has only played one game against a cupcake opponent, will be far more rested than the Dawgs.
  • I’m not being snarky in asking this, but based on last year’s stats, why is everyone so sold on the Hogs this season?  They were the worst team in the conference defensively, where they return something like nine of eleven starters.   They were also less than stellar on special teams, which is an area that Steele notes has never been something that Petrino-coached teams have excelled at.  I will say that I’m looking forward to seeing John L. Smith patrolling the sidelines coaching the Arky special teams.  Here’s hoping that Brandon/Branden give him a chance to go a little crazy.
  • Ryan Mallett is big.  He’s got a cannon for an arm.  He’s also lacking in mobility, so maybe that pass rush we saw emerging somewhat against South Carolina will have more to show for itself.  Mallett wasn’t exactly the most accurate passer in his stint at Michigan, but acquitted himself quite well in that department in Arky’s opener against Missouri State, when he went 17 of 22.
  • Arkansas doesn’t have a Dez Bryant – not too many schools do – but overall this looks to be the best group of receivers Georgia’s seen to date.  And given what we saw last Saturday, DJ Williams, the tight end, scares the hell out of me.  He’s not the tallest TE in the world, but he’s a good combination of size and speed at the position.
  • My mantra about Georgia’s line play looks key for this game.  The Arkansas defensive line seems somewhat undersized to me.  It’s time for Georgia’s o-line to step it up and dominate a little.  If Richard Samuel goes for 100+ yards, something I think he’s capable of, I love Georgia’s chances.  And on the other side, Arky was 118th in the country last year in sacks allowed.  That was with Casey Dick, a far more mobile QB than Mallett.

16 Comments

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16 responses to “First thoughts about Georgia-Arkansas

  1. Tony Barnhart

    Just like TROY DID, Arkansas will ROLL YARDS

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  2. Will Q

    If it wasn’t for play-calling, Samuel would already have 2 100+ yard games under his belt. He’s averaging 4.3 ypc, which isn’t spectacular, but I get the feeling that he could really break loose if he was allowed to get in a rhythm. I love what we’re doing in the red zone this season, but give Richard 25 snaps in a game and let’s see what happens.

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  3. BlunderingAmerican

    UF’s defense wasn’t that good in 2007, but they returned most of the same players and they turned out to be a pretty good unit in 2008. I’m not suggesting Arkansas will be a great defensive team, but we already played a mediocre defensive team on the road that shut us down, so I think there is reason to be concerned. If we aren’t sharp on offense and continue to turn the ball over, we better see a more aggressive defense because Petrino will dink and dunk all night and those guys will be worn down in the second half. If we keep leaving inferior teams in the game, it will bite us.

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    • Your Florida analogy is a bit of a stretch, IMO.

      2007 Florida: 41st in total defense; 46th in scoring defense
      2008 Arkansas: 71st in total defense; 93rd in scoring defense

      My point wasn’t about how sharp Georgia plays, but rather why Arky is getting as much hype as it is, based on what I think are some rather significant shortcomings.

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      • BlunderingAmerican

        And in 2008, Florida was 9th in total defense, 4th in scoring. I don’t expect UF to leap to the top 10, which is why I qualified the statement — Arkansas just isn’t as talented as UF. But it’s also highly unlikely that the same starters are going to end up 71st and 93rd this year; a jump of 20 or 30 spots would put them squarely in the middle of the pack, probably somewhere close to where the OSU defense ends up. Arkansas may have some shortcomings, but I wouldn’t assume that the situation is a static one where the returning players don’t improve. The fact that 9 of the 11 are coming back is reason to believe that they’ll be better, not reason to belive that they’ll be exactly the same.

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        • BlunderingAmerican

          By the way, I meant that I don’t expect Arkansas to leap to the Top 10 this year. UF is already there. But a leap to the middle of the pack would not be a big surprise.

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        • Why is it a given that they’ll jump 20 or 30 spots?

          BTW, I believe they’ve already lost one of their starters in the defensive backfield to a season-ending injury.

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          • BlunderingAmerican

            It’s not a given. They could be exactly the same, or they could be worse. But it’s also possible, as it was with the UF squad, that they were just a young team who have to grow together as a unit. In college in particular, the same group of guys can look markedly better in Year 2 than in Year 1.

            I think you’re right about the CB who got hurt; I believe he was one of the better players they had. That’s a fair point.

            We’ll see how things play out. I’m concerned, though, that if our offense is flat, their improved D will be good enough (not great) to slow us down, and that our defense may have trouble doing the same against Petrino.

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  4. Derek

    The “trap” in this game, although not stated by Barnhart is the fact that Arky has had 2 more weeks of prep for this game than we have had. They have been planning and scheming for this game all pre-season while we have had other issues to deal with. Very similar set up to the Bama game last year, when Bama blew out Clemson in the opener, and had a couple of easy games and, I think a week off as well, prior to our game while we were in extreme heat at both USC and ASU in consecutive weeks.

    Whether his team was focused on UGA the whole time or not, I’m fairly confident that Saban and his staff were. I think the same is probably true with Petrino. Luckily for us I think Bama has a few more players than Arky, but this game could look ugly early. This is a real test for this team and our coaches to see if they have the focus and character to be a real good team or if they will be mediocre. I see this game as a bell weather game. If we win we’ve got a real shot of heading to Jax with one loss, lose it and we may be .500 and scrapping just to be bowl eligible.

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    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      I absolutely agree with the above. For the uninitiated a “trap game” is a game where the other team is not as good but has got an advantage of some type which is likely to cause them to win–even with inferior talent. Winning games in the SEC is hard enough without an idiot of an AD constantly putting the Dawgs behind the 8-Ball. This will be the 2nd trap game UGA has played in 3 weeks. The first (Okie State)was a set-up with homer refs. This one has the other team rested (the week prior idle) playing at their place while the Dawgs have played 2 extremely difficult games back to back and have to travel. No matter how good a team is you cannot keep winning when you have the Athletic Director undermining your team with stupid scheduling. Get rid of Damon Evans before he ruins the program. Give Richt the AD job, too. He’s earned it.

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  5. Justanarkywonderingwhatyouhad2say

    An interesting read. A lot of focus on “Arky” defense. I think (hope) you will see it has improved some. Arkansas had a very good defensive back field recruiting class and yes we did lose Issac Madison to a season ending injury.
    One thing that you have overlooked is what looks to be a very improved offense. For the first time I can remember we have two decent QBs. We have more quality receivers than ever and our backfield looks pretty deep. All of these are unproven thus far but hopes are high.
    If you are interested in the “Arky” perspective predictions for this weekend are mixed.
    Personally if our QBs have any time we could pile up a lot of passing yardage. Watching Georgia v USC there was a lot of open space in the middle on the first few Gamecock drives.
    Should be a fun game to watch. Best of luck this season — not so much this weekend though.

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    • Sorry – I thought I made it clear your offense looks like it’ll be decent.

      I’m curious about one thing you mention – do you expect Petrino to play two quarterbacks in the game? How’s Wilson doing under center now?

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      • Justanarkywonderingwhatyouhad2say

        All depends on the score and situation. He could come in for a different look. He is more mobile than Mallet.
        Wilson played in the first game and was very respectable. He played with the 2s so not quite as productive.
        Under center is not quite there but much better.

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  6. Mr.Murder

    “That was with Casey Dick, a far more mobile QB than Mallett.”

    Assuming facts not in evidence, mainly that said player was a quarterback, in the sense of being competitive.

    Arkansas had a late win last year where the clock was managed in a comeback. The team stayed with his system and threw the shallow. The chains kept moving to stop the clock. Players had a sense of “we get it” and they won the game.

    It will carry over. Continue blah-viation of dawg nation….
    PS- OSU’s refs sucked and they got exposed anyways. Georgia is better than their record(trap) so long as the QB finds ways to not lose the football before he gets hit.

    Maybe Casey Dick has a younger bro ready to QB there?

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    • Justanarkywonderingwhatyouhad2say

      You must be talking about his younger brother Nathan that helped beat LSU last year. Nathan has gone on to U of Central Arakansas.
      Looks like a shot at U of A’s QB’s. Go take a look at the NCAA QB ratings. Who is that at the top for now at least. Where is our backup? Oh, there he is at #33 and he is a more mobile.
      I’m sure both QB’s in the will fall a little in the ratings against Georgia’s fast defense. I think that at the end of the year you will see that Arkansas’ offense will be above Georgia’s in most every category. This is based on the facts in evidence so far. One that Arkansas was 3rd in the SEC in the total offense last year and 4th in scoring offense. Two that the offense had a much better opening game this year than they did last year.
      Again, good luck tomorrow, but not too much.

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