Auburn Football: 5 Keys to the Arkansas Game
The Arkansas Razorbacks limp into Saturday’s contest against Auburn after a drubbing a week ago in College Station. Both Auburn and Arkansas are in need of big wins, but there are five keys that will put Auburn in the victor’s corner at game's end.
The Tigers have shown a lot of growth on the defensive side of the ball in the past few weeks. Auburn has a great pass rush, and the Tigers should make some plays in the secondary.
Tyler Wilson has been very bad against a steady rush in recent games, and he has thrown an interception in every contest with the exception of the season opener.
The Arkansas defense is among the worst in the country, and the offense is having a number of problems finding consistency. It doesn’t appear that the Razorbacks will right the ship this week. Here are the five ways Auburn gets back on track and keeps Arkansas reeling.
Pressure Tyler Wilson
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The most important key to this game will be the pressure that Auburn can or can’t get on Tyler Wilson. Wilson has not been very consistent to start the season, throwing five interceptions in as many games.
He fell to a concussion injury in Week 2, causing more issues for Wilson in the pocket. Since the injury, it is apparent that he has been timid when taking hits. Wilson will consistently look away from his throws and has looked lost against mixed defensive coverage.
Corey Lemonier and Dee Ford will need to have their biggest games of the season this Saturday. If the Tigers do not get consistent pressure on Wilson, the Razorbacks will be able to find yards on offense and keep this game extremely tight through four quarters.
Focus on Rushing Attack
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The Tigers have run three running backs this season on a consistent basis. All three backs are averaging over five yards per carry.
In the Tigers' last matchup against LSU, Tre Mason averaged six yards per carry, but only got the ball nine times in the game. There has to be a dedication to the running game if Auburn wants to win this contest.
That dedication will accomplish two major goals for the Tigers.
If Auburn can get a lot of yardage on the ground, they will be able to settle Kiehl Frazier. The Tigers need to get their young quarterback comfortable early and a strong rushing attack will get him there.
Secondly, the Tigers rushing attack will help with clock control. The less opportunity that the Tigers give the Arkansas offense in this game, the better for Auburn. After all, Tyler Wilson and Cobi Hamilton can make a defense look silly.
Limit Frazier’s Passing Options
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One scenario that could lighten the load for the young Kiehl Frazier would be to limit his downfield options. At this point, Frazier looks confused by coverage and receiver routes consistently.
The best throws that have come from Frazier this season have been the quick release throws or designed fly routes on play-action. The more time and options that Frazier gets in the passing game, the more things appears to break down for the Tigers quarterback.
The Auburn staff should limit the amount of throws that they ask of Frazier this week, but they should also limit the reads they ask him to make.
Keeping Frazier’s options low will keep the efficiency high and the mistakes to a minimum.
Shanna Lockwood-US PRESSWIRE
Auburn has given away turnovers at key times throughout the 2012 season. It has to stop in this game.
The Tigers are facing an interception-prone offense and a rushing attack that has a star running back with multiple fumbles. Auburn has to use that to its advantage to get the win this Saturday.
Arkansas is the No. 120 team in the country in turnover margin. Auburn is No. 116.
If Kiehl Frazier can keep the ball out of the hands of opposing defenders, the Tigers could have a very big win sitting right around the corner.
Make Big Plays Early
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Arkansas was in the game last Saturday against the Aggies until two consecutive big plays handed Texas A&M the game. Auburn needs to make at least one big play early, tipping the game in the Tigers' favor.
This is the same Razorbacks team that was ranked No. 8 in the country. They don’t appear to be coached well, but they have talent. If Auburn keeps the Razorbacks in the game, they will have a chance to win it.
If Auburn can find consistent pressure early, there should be an interception in the Tigers future. Landing a big pick early should down the Arkansas offense and give Auburn its first SEC win.