No one really knew what to expect from Arkansas’ season-opener against UL-Lafayette on Saturday. The Razorbacks had been bitten by the injury bug in fall camp. The roster was built for a passing attack, not Bret Bielema’s smashmouth style. The head coach and offensive coordinator Jim Chaney had two very different philosophies (despite what they’ve said) when it comes to run/pass ratio. And to top it all off, the Ragin’ Cajuns were a pretty good football team last season.
An impressive 34-14 victory later — complete with a 522 to 274 Hog advantage in total offense — and suddenly Arkansas’ prospects in the SEC West don’t appear to be so poor. Enter Bielema to throw a little cold water on the Razorbacks’ victory parade:
“What I guarded (the team) against is all of the sudden everybody thinks you’re not the bottom of the cellar anymore and all that jazz. But I think one of the things we have to do as coaches is constantly remind our guys that you’re only as good as your last play.
I do think that was a good team that we beat, but on the same account, we’ve got an SEC schedule waiting on us…
I think we’re a work in progress. The #1 thing I loved about Saturday night is sitting back and reflecting on the game is just to know what we had been preaching and talking about and beating into them definitely came out.”
The Razorbacks will now face Samford, Southern Miss and Rutgers before opening SEC play against — try this on for size — Texas A&M, Florida, South Carolina and Alabama on consecutive Saturdays.
Week One was a better-than-expected debut, but Bielema is right — UL-Lafayette isn’t in the same league with the teams on that murderer’s row.