Things have not according to plan for the Arkansas Razorbacks this season. Fortunately, there is still time to turn the season around.
After defeating Jacksonville State in Week 1, the Razorbacks were ranked No. 8 in the country. However, they then lost to Louisiana-Monroe in one of the biggest upsets in years. Things got worse when they were humiliated by conference rival Alabama by a score of 52-0.
There are some issues with this team that will not be fixed right away. Still, it must work on these key factors in the upcoming game against Texas A&M to start getting on the right path towards a successful year.
The Razorbacks have lost the turnover battle in each of their three losses this season.
Alabama forced the offense into five turnovers and gave the team no chance at keeping the game close. Of course, that was with backup quarterback Brandon Allen against one of the best defenses in the nation.
Unfortunately, things were not much better with Tyler Wilson back under center. The quarterback threw two interceptions against Rutgers and both were in key situations. One was in the end zone with the team trailing by two touchdowns, and the other was late in the fourth quarter.
As a team, Arkansas needs to get better at holding onto the ball. The squad has shown how things can turn with one big play, and it needs to avoid getting into these negative situations.
Stop the Pass
Opposing quarterbacks have had it way too easy against this defense. The unit is currently 110th in the nation in points allowed per game, and it is mainly due to an inability to defend the pass.
Louisiana-Monroe quarterback Kolton Browing got the momentum started with a 412-yard performance against the team in Week 2. Things have obviously not improved as Gary Nova of Rutgers was able to toss five touchdown passes on 397 yards passing in the most recent loss.
Prior to that game, Nova had never thrown for more than two touchdowns in a game in his two-year career. This mark now represents a quarter of the sophomore's career touchdowns.
The key is defending the big play. Four different players on Rutgers were able to get receptions of 38 yards or more. The defense must play back on receivers and then wrap up tackles when it gets the chance.
Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel has not reached the level of past Aggie greats yet, but the freshman is very efficient and is getting better every week. He certainly has the ability to torch this defense if changes are not made.
Find a Playmaker
Every elite team needs a playmaker that can be trusted to make things happen when the team needs it most. Tyler Wilson was solid last season, but he was helped by senior receivers Joe Adams and Jarius Wright.
Someone needs to step up and replace these men as not only leaders, but guys who will raise spirits with momentum-changing plays.
Running back Knile Davis has struggled so far this season, only averaging 3.3 yards per carry. Receiver Cobi Hamilton has shown flashes of greatness, but he needs to prove that he can be consistent over the course of a season.
When the game is close in the fourth quarter, Arkansas must find someone to carry the team on his back to victory. Otherwise, the Hogs will be looking at yet another loss.
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