Previewing the upcoming season with the help of SBNation.com. Doc Harper from Arkansas Expats helps us talk Razorback football.
Arkansas looks to improve on a 2011 campaign that saw just two losses, both to national title participants. They welcome SEC newcomer Texas A&M on September 29, although the two aren’t all that unfamiliar with each other. This season will mark the 69th meeting between the two former Southwestern Conference foes. Other key matchups include home bouts with both Alabama (Sept. 15) and LSU (Nov. 23).
2011 Record: 11-2
2011 Bowl: Cotton Bowl vs. Kansas State, 29-16
2012 Bowl Projections:
Orlando Bowl History
1999 Florida Citrus Bowl vs. Michigan, 31-45
2007 Capital One Bowl vs. Wisconsin, 14-17
Q&A with Doc Harper from
Describe the 2011 season in two words.
Will we see John L. Smith’s fingerprints on this team, or is he just expected to stay the course safely, like the coaching equivalent of the inflatable co-pilot from Airplane!?
He’s said he’s going to let the staff coach as much as possible while he’s more or less a figurehead of the program this year. Whether or not that’s possible isn’t really certain. There are certain final decisions that rest with him so we will see his influence in some areas. For instance, Knile Davis is still being held out of most contact during fall scrimmages up to this point. That’s Smith’s call. He’ll make strategic decisions in games as well. I believe he’ll ultimately leave most of the game-planning up to the staff but he will be a participant in it.
On paper, what looks like the toughest game this season?
The toughest game right now has to be Alabama. We haven’t beaten them since 2006, and since it comes early in the schedule, there’s a lot of pressure there because we don’t want to spend the next two months in the SEC West backseat and hope they lose somewhere along the way. But the game is in Fayetteville, and we have a lot of good players coming back, so we feel like we’ve got a great shot at winning that game.
About how many times per game will we wince over a hit that Unstoppable Zombie Quarterback Tyler Wilson takes?
Ha! I’d love to say zero but that’s seems to be his lot in life. We’re expecting our more experienced offensive line to be better than they were last season, so hopefully that will limit the amount of abuse he receives. But he’s not afraid to step up and take a hit to get a pass off, which is part of what makes him so attractive to NFL scouts, so I’m sure we’ll see it to some extent this season.
Best case/worst case scenario for the postseason.
The best case, if every break goes Arkansas’ way, no major injuries, no bad referee flags, Arkansas recovers every fumble, etc., is the Razorbacks win every game and win the championship. There are a lot of talented players on the team and a couple of legitimate Heisman candidates in Wilson and Davis, and they’ve made no secret of the fact that it’s their goal, so that is obviously the best case scenario. The biggest nightmare is losing to Alabama and having the season unravel quickly. After the Tide, Arkansas hosts Rutgers before back to back road games at Texas A&M and Auburn, so things could get ugly quickly if the wheels fall off.
Thanks to Doc Harper and Arkansas Expats for helping us out.