College Football: Will the Arkansas Defense Dramatically Improve This Year?

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College Football: Will the Arkansas Defense Dramatically Improve This Year?
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Over the past three years, the players in Bobby Petrino's explosive offense have rewritten the record books at the University of Arkansas. The fans have not had much time to go to the refrigerator for a snack when the Hogs have had the ball for fear of missing a spectacular play. The disappointing trend for Razorback fans has been the inconsistency of the defense during this offensive renaissance.  They rose from a 2009 defensive national ranking of 89 to a respectable ranking of 36 in 2010.  But once again gave a  poor showing in 2011, finishing 51st overall only after a dominant performance in the Cotton Bowl bolstered the numbers.

The 2011 Arkansas defense gave up 457 yards against Sun Belt Conference foe Troy, 628 yards against Texas A&M, 462 against perennial SEC also ran Vanderbilt, and a deflating 494 yards against LSU in the battle for the Golden Boot. Running back Christine Michael of Texas A&M had a career day with 230 yards on the ground against the Hogs while Troy quarterback Corey Robinson blistered the Razorback secondary with 373 yards through air.

Most Razorback fans repeatedly threw up their hands in disgust as they watched the LSU Tigers and Alabama Crimson Tide run over, through, and around the defense in lopsided losses. Can new Defensive Coordinator Paul Haynes bring the Hog nation a dominating defense that is needed to run the table in the SEC west?

Here are the key components that he will have to work with in 2012:

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