Arkansas Football: Razorbacks Are Still a Work in Progress

Russell HarrisContributor IISeptember 10, 2011

AUBURN - OCTOBER 16:  Wide receiver Greg Childs #85 of the Arkansas Razorbacks makes a reception and runs for a touchdown in the fourth quarter during the game against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on October 16, 2010 in Auburn, Alabama.  The Tigers beat the Razorbacks 65-43.  (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)
Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images

It says a lot about the expectations of the Arkansas program these days that one can be critical about a 52-3 win over New Mexico.

Not many years ago a game like this would have been praised, but now there is much more at stake for the Razorbacks.

Now it's about improving and being prepared to make a run at the SEC championship and possibly even the National Championship. Having said that, here are some observations on the New Mexico game.

Joe Adams is very, very fast

Joe Adams is the most explosive player on the field. He had 6 receptions for 80 yards on Saturday, and shows a stubborn penchant to never go down upon first contact. His reputation as a punt returner also caused New Mexico to kick the majority of their punts out of bounds in order to keep him from having a chance to add on to the two returns he had for touchdowns a weekend ago.

It also seems that Arkansas is going to run Adams out of the backfield some this year in an attempt to get the running game clicking.

Where is Greg Childs?

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 04:  Joe Adams #3 of the Arkansas Razorbacks reacts with teammates Wade Grayson #71 and D.J. Williams #45 after Adams' catches a 17-yard touchdown pass in the endzone against Travis Howard #18 of the Ohio State Buckeyes in the fi
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Is Greg Childs alright?  That is a question that all Arkansas fans must be asking themselves. 

He had zero catches Saturday night and several drops. Arkansas is fine at wide receiver with Adams, Jarius Wright, and Cobi Hamilton, but the concern has to be for Childs and his future. If not for his injury last year he'd probably be playing in the NFL this weekend.  Now he looks like the fourth option at best for the Razorbacks. One only hopes that this is a process for him and he can regain his form.


Jericho Nelson is going to hurt somebody!

If there is a violent collision on the field you can bet Jericho Nelson was there.  In spite of being an undersized linebacker Nelson is always bringing the wood. 


The Offensive Line is coming along

The Lobos had two sacks on Tyler Wilson, but overall the Arkansas offensive line protected the quarterbacks better this week than last. Then again, it was New Mexico.

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 04:  Chimdi Chekwa #5 of the Ohio State Buckeyes is unable to come up with an interception as he goes up for the ball against Cobi Hamilton #11 of the Arkansas Razorbacks in the second quarter during the Allstate Sugar Bowl at th
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

The were also able to get the running game going for 274 yards for an average of 6.5 yards per carry. 


Tyler Wilson needs to make better decisions

Wilson completed 20 of 29 passes for 268 yards, one touchdown, and one interception and ran for another score, but some of his decisions are downright scary.

He forced several passes on the night and was lucky to have just one interception and will somebody for the love of God teach him to slide instead of taking hard hits. Apparently he was shaken up tonight, but it doesn't appear to be too serious. 


The Defense was solid

New Mexico obviously came into the game trying to avoid sacks and neutralize the Arkansas defense with its quick passing game. They succeeded to some degree, but still only managed 297 yards and three points. Several times during the game, there seemed to be room for New Mexico to run and the Hog's D quickly closed the gap.



Tyler Wilson was reportedly banged up in the first half, but looked to be alright on the sideline during the second half. 

The bigger concern for the Hogs is Jake Bequette. The preseason All-SEC defensive end left the game in the first half with what appeared to be a twisted ankle or knee, and was in street clothes for the second half. Defensive end is one position where the Hogs are rather thin, can ill afford to lose an important contributor so early in the season.


Overall, one has to come away impressed with the talent and speed that the Razorbacks have on the field.  Never in recent memory have the Hogs had so much talent on the field at one time. It is impressive when you consider that the biggest stars of the offense last year were Ryan Mallett, D.J. Williams, Greg Childs, and Knile Davis and although none of those guys contributed on Saturday night, Arkansas gained 632 yards and had 52 points. Next week, Arkansas will play Troy in Fayetteville and after that its on to Tuscaloosa.