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SEC Headlines – 4/30/12

1.  A few weeks ago we wrote that we hoped a new playoff system might actually help restore some glory to the old bowl system and New Year’s Day.  This writer — one of the best in the South — believes that’s exactly what will happen.

2.  Phillip Sims decision to transfer from Alabama will leave the Tide in a quarterback quandry.  (Looks like he’s off to Virginia, by the way.)

3.  From elementary school to high school to Arkansas and now on to the Minnesota Vikings, Greg Childs and Jarius Wright are joined at the hip.  (What were the odds against the two wideouts being picked #118 and #134 in the fourth round by the same franchise?  Cool story.)

4.  O-lineman Blaine Causell is making the most of his chances at Mississippi State. 

5.  Texas A&M’s defense is going to have to improve to survive in the SEC.

6.  One expert has two Kentucky players and then Bradley Beal from Florida as the top three prospects for this summer’s NBA draft.

7.  What’s next for seven Georgia footballers drafted last week?

8.  Tennessee’s lack of talent was on full display during the NFL draft.

9.  No shock here, Missouri’s recruiting in the Kansas City area hasn’t been hurt by the school’s move to the SEC.  (Hey, Jayhawks, you might want to re-think that whole “We won’t play you” thing, lest you start losing more prospects to Mizzou.)

10.  Here’s one man’s take on all 42 SEC players selected in last week’s NFL draft… no really, all 42 in one place.

11.  And AthlonSports.com looks at 10 teams that could end the SEC’s six-year BCS title streak.

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Arkansas Need To Shake The Injury Bug And Fast

TJ Carpenter

Arkansas caught the injury bug before the season even started, and it hasn’t gotten better as the season has progressed. The Razorbacks have already lost Knile Davis for the season, Tenarius Wright for the next four to six weeks and Jake Bequette likely until after the Texas A&M game this weekend. In addition, Arkansas has sustained minor injuries to Tyler Wilson, Jarius Wright, and Isaac Madison which have been recovered from (at least for the time being). Broderick Green, who was previously thought to be out for the season may end up coming back this season, but not immediately.

That is a lot of injuries, but it isn’t an excuse. Oh, how times have changed in Razorback country.

It should be noted, talent is more easily replaceable than experience and leadership. Chris Smith, who is a talented player can make up for some of the production lost with Tenarius Wright, but he wasn’t a team captain and four-year starter. Arkansas has had to account for the loss of two defensive team captains and one offensive team captain. Their absence has made a considerable difference.

Whether or not being at full strength against Alabama would have made a considerable difference is debatable. But there is no denying the Razorbacks need that leadership and experience on the field to meet expectations of a 10-win season.

Davis’ absence at running back is apparent, as Arkansas went from being a consistently productive offense on the ground to being completely incapable of moving the football on the ground. Against the Crimson Tide, the Razorbacks had a mere 17 yards on 19 carries.

This has led Petrino to state the team has no offensive identity and offensive coordinator Garrick McGee to question the team’s competitive spirit.

Something must change.

This is not insurmountable. Arkansas can have a great season if they adapt and revive the hunger and desire to prove they are an elite offense rather than just simply complacently accept the mantle.

Being a great football team comes from a number of factors Arkansas has a program has worked to build over the last three seasons. In order to ensure they do not disappoint however, they will have to add another to the list of requirements; adapt to the loss of key playmakers.

Arkansas is in a must win situation this weekend against Texas A&M. Arkansas still has considerable talent. In fact, they have more talent than the Aggies, but someone must step up in a leadership role in order to beat a team that executes exceptionally well.

We’ll see whether or not Arkansas can shake the injury bug the way some teams have in the past. Green Bay was able to win a Super Bowl after sustaining what seemed like an insurmountable amount of injuries. If Arkansas doesn’t their win total could plummet to as low as seven or eight. LSU has had to overcome the injury bug and the our-players-kicked-a-marine-in-the-face bug and have been dominant all season long. But the Tigers also have a great immune system, or as it’s called in college football: depth.

Arkansas will need answers from somewhere else. Otherwise it will be a disappointing season for the Razorbacks.

TJ Carpenter is host of The TJ Carpenter Show on The Hog Sports Radio Network from 1-4pm (listen live at www.hogsportsradio.com) TJ Carpenter contributes to www.mrsec.com www.arkansassports360.com and www.collegefootballnews.com

www.tjcarpentershow.com 

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Nightmare Off Dickson Street (For Them, Not Us)

Arkansas
Content provided by Razorback Expats.

Fans cheer for Arkansas before the start of an NCAA college football game against Vanderbilt, Saturday, Oct. 30, 2010, in Fayetteville, Ark. (AP Photo/Beth Hall)

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Beth Hall – AP

about 16 hours ago:

Fans cheer for Arkansas before the start of an NCAA college football game against Vanderbilt, Saturday, Oct. 30, 2010, in Fayetteville, Ark. (AP Photo/Beth Hall)

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Actually, I don’t know if you can say that being beaten 49-14 is as much of a nightmare for Vanderbilt as rather just another day at the SEC gridiron for them. However, you can say the game began with the look of an unfolding nightmare for the Hogs. Vandy scored on their first two possessions, and their first time play caller was making it look like he had been calling up ball plays all his life as the Hogs looked clueless about how to stop the Vanderbilt offense. Then for some reason Vandy changes quarterbacks for a series, an interception follows, the Hogs then score, and that mysterious force in college football known as momentum takes its bag of treats and sits down on the Hogs’ bench for the rest of the game. Here are some thoughts about Vandy 2010, which was a much better experience than Vandy 2005 “The Haunting.” 

*Have you ever pulled out a winter coat and found a ten or tweny dollar bill stuffed in a pocket? Wow, I had this all summer and didn’t know it! Found money! Must spend, must spend, haha. Well, that was sorta the feeling that I got when I discovered I do in fact have Fox Sports South and would be able to see the Hogs play their homecoming game from about five counties away here in Oklahoma.

*Didn’t care for the announcers leading off the broadcast by reminding us that we won’t be going to Atlanta. Thanks! I’ll be sure to invite Tim Couch over to dinner sometime and begin our conversation by telling him he won’t ever win a Super Bowl.

* Like I imagine a lot of you were, I was also watching the Georgia / Florida game on CBS when the Fox Sports broadcast from Fayetteville began. I guess I was pulling for Georgia because we beat them this year and that Urban Meyer is just about as pleasant as rat droppings. Alas, Florida wins in overtime and proves again that the CBS game at 2:30 is by some law of nature just about always going to be the most entertaining game of the day.

* Pre-game Thought: Never underestimate the Hogs’ ability to play down to the level of the competition.

 

* The lack of defense on the first two Vanderbilt offensive possessions and the special teams breakdown with the simple extra point sure seemed to say that my pre-game thought was going to be the reality of the night. I could see us having to mount a last minute Mallett led drive to get Hocker in range to kick a field goal to beat lowly Vanderbilt.

* In the past the Hogs have had the ability to make freshmen or off the bench quarterbacks look like Heisman contenders. They have an odd “gift” for this. I was wondering if this was carrying over to first time play callers as well. The announcers kept on and on about how Vandy’s new offensive play caller had never done this before. Were the first two series just beginner’s luck? Vandy didn’t go anywhere after that.

* Please keep reading, but this is probably my best observation on the night. Jarius Wright dressed up for Halloween. Yeah, he went as Joe Adams!  I am worried now about Childs, but I do love that we have so much depth at this position. Remember when it was pretty much just Marcus Monk?

* Rudell Crimm (a great name for a Halloween eve game) was deadly in the secondary with an interception that helped turn the momentum and a wonderful play on the ball that prevented a Vanderbilt touchdown reception.

* My love for Knile Davis grows by each hand-off. Did you see with what authority he ran his last touchdown in? D.J. Williams gave him a key block, but I think Davis would have ran straight through the defender.

* My sense that this was the homecoming opponent we were looking for came when Vanderbilt allowed a safety that morphed from two points to nine points after the Hogs scored a touchdown on the following possession.

* Negatives of the night: Childs getting hurt again, the lack of focus /stops by the defense to start the game, and worse of all was the continuing trend of our shooting ourselves in the foot with penalties. We had thirteen last night for 130 yards. That will get you beat most likely in Columbia or Starkville.

* I still pine to see Brandon Mitchell play some role in a game. I thought we might see him at the end of last night’s game, but it was Tyler Wilson time instead. I think Brandon could be a late season Dexter McCluster type of impact player, so I am hoping Bobby Petrino is going to unleash him here soon in some fashion. The guy is elusive.

* The audience looked pretty thin there in the 4th quarter. Seeing as we finally came upon a fourth quarter where we could relax and just enjoy the game, I don’t understand why people would leave. If I had been there in Fayetteville, I would have been enjoying every last second of it.

* USC, Michigan, Texas, Tennessee, Missouri, all have hurt the Hogs – all lost this weekend! A big Nelson Muntz “Ha! Ha!” to them.

* BIG PICTURE THOUGHTS: We find ourselves at 6-2 (Bowl eligible) and still in the Top 25 with two thirds of the season in the record books. But for two truly nightmarish fourth quarters against teams from Alabama, we could very well be where Auburn is now. As I remember Roseannaannadannah (Gilda Radner) from the old SNL skit saying, “It is always something.” Yeah, it seems that way with the Hogs. But 11-2, a January 1 bowl, and a top ten finish are all still out there waiting for a team that can avoid penalities, execute on offense, clamp down on defense, and not turn over the ball. Even if it was just against Vanderbilt, I am encouraged that of those things we did all but the first one last night. Here is hoping we do all of them next weekend. We’ll certainly need to do so. The slayer of Alabama is no Vanderbilt.

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