Arkansas Football: 2008 Razorbacks Preview

Michael BoldingCorrespondent IJanuary 28, 2008

The new football season brings with it many questions for the Razorback community.  We are all anxious to see how coach Bobby Petrino fares in his first season as Head Hog. 

Here are some questions Petrino will have to answer...

1. Who will start at quarterback?  

Since Matt Jones left for the NFL, we have not had much success at this position.  Luckily Petrino is known for producing good quarterbacks, especially Brian Brohm.

Don't get me wrong, Casey Dick is a fine young man and is holding his own up in the Ozarks, but right now he isn’t the man for the job.  Petrino does have many options to work with, like Jim Youngblood, Nathan Dick,  and a few other quarterbacks who, like Casey, have shown potential in their early careers.

My favorite is Jim Youngblood because he is a tall quarterback who can run.  He’s a little like Matt Jones, just a little slower.  I watched a film of this kid and he was simply amazing running the option and throwing on the run.  With much of our offensive line leaving, he might have to throw on the run a lot.

2. How will we make up for the loss of D-Mac and Felix Jones?  

It is very clear that D-Mac and Felix Jones were the best tandem in Arkansas history, maybe even in SEC history.  How can we replace such a potent running game?

Well the answer is we can't.  They were so special and rare, it will be impossible to get the running game to that level again.  But we can get close.

Michael Smith is a small shifty runner who can turn the corner with elusive speed.  And with Jones and McFadden playing in the Pros next season, he will get more carries and gain more experience, all leading to the possibility of dramatic improvement.  

We have Michael smith a junior next year returning along with other backs like Barnett Brandon, and Torian Wilkins

3. How can we improve that defense?

All last season one of the big areas of concern was defense, especially the D-line.  With Weston Dacus and Materal Richardson leaving, what do Coach Petrino and his staff have to work with?

Last season, the only game in which our defense really achieved was against LSU, where we played smash mouth football for seven quarters and won.

I think we let up 50-something against them, but the defense played very well and showed that they have a lot of potential for improvement.  With the young D-line maturing before our very eyes, it will be interesting to see how well they perform next year with a new head coach and no Herring.

Tip to the new defensive coordinator: teach them how to tackle. Against FIU last year (the only game I watched in person), I saw so many missed tackles.  The defense let go of the FIU QB so much it looked as though he must have been covered in butter.



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