The Arkansas Razorbacks are preparing for one of the toughest schedules in college football.
After a season opener warm-up against Missouri State, following a early bye week, the Hogs play host the Georgia Bulldogs in week three, then travel to Tuscaloosa to take on the Crimson Tide for a tone setting and very important road game.
After two intense SEC battles, the Hogs then travel to Dallas to take on the Aggies of Texas A&M, taking center stage in the new, state of the art, Cowboys Stadium. According to the Stadium web site, animals are not allowed on the premises, but on that day, the wild hogs intend to rule.
The month of October includes a trio of high-octane matchups against the Auburn Tigers, Florida Gators and Ole Miss Rebels, in that order.
Following the toughest three weeks in D-I college football, they open the month of November to take on the Eagles of Eastern Michigan. The season of testing reconvenes with Spurrier's South Carolina Gamecocks, followed by action against Troy University, Mississippi State to eventually reach the season finale against the mighty LSU Tigers.
Bobby Petrino is a tough competitor, and is well known as an even tougher disciplinarian. He intends to have the Razorback prepared to deliver a high octane offense to the field of competition every weekend.
Ryan Mallett has been working hard in the off season to master the playbook and fine tune his skills in order to lead this team on the gridiron. At 6'7" and a stout 238 lbs., he is a formidable physical specimen to behold. His stats in the second scrimmage of summer ball included 30-of-50 for 379 yards, three touchdowns and one interception (all ones vs. twos).
The running back corp is better that last years stable. Petrino has been blessed with the return of Broderick Green to his Arkansan homeland after a two year stint with the USC Trojans.
The NCAA ruled in favor of allowing Mr. Green to continue D-I play without interruption. He is joined by first year recruit Ronnie Wingo. Together, these beasts in the backfield will support the rushing attack of Michael Smith, and vie for playing time against returning lettermen Dennis Johnson, Brandon Barnett and D'Anthony Curtis.
The talented receiver corp is anchored by a two tight end formation headed by DJ Williams and Ben Clevland. The WR position is extremely talented, experienced and deep. Joe Adams, Lucas Miller, Greg Childs, London Crawford, Jarius Wright and Reggie Fish are loaded with speed and agility. In the first two scrimmages of the summer, the passing game has gained over 1,300 yards.
In some respects, the summertime success of the Razorback offense is directly linked to suspect defense that will take the field. Last year, the Hogs defense allowed more than 170 yards per game rushing and 200 plus yards per game passing. In 2008, opponents scored an average of 31 points per game.
The defense will be more experienced because of the number of returning starters, but will they have to gel early in the season against formidable SEC opponents. They are prepared to compete with upper echelon foes in the East and West divisions of the mighty SEC; only time will tell if they can force the opposition to punt.
There is little to add by discussing individual defensive players. Bottom line for the 2009 Arkansas Razorbacks is that the offense will score and score plenty. If the defense can make a few stops each quarter and let the offense pile on points, they will definitely have a chance to compete.
Opponents not prepared to have a big day on offense will loose the battle. This team will be similar to Petrino's early Louisville Cardinal squads living by the mantra, "score and score often." Wins will come by keeping the offense on the field and giving the defense time to breath and recover.