Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Hog Heaven: Alabama Invades Arkansas
On Saturday afternoon the No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide will travel to Arkansas to face the No. 10 ranked Razorbacks.
It goes without saying the game in Fayetteville will be the biggest game of the season for both teams to this point.
The Hogs have the home field advantage and the Hogs have star quarterback…Ryan Mallett.
In 2010, Mallett has thrown for over 1,000 yards including nine touchdowns. Mallett has a completion percentage of 70, going 70 for 100 on the young season.
How will Mallett fair against a young Alabama secondary?
Of the many storylines present for this particular contest, Mallet vs. the Tide defense is the most prominent.
In 2009, the Alabama Crimson Tide rolled the Razorbacks thanks in large part to the ineffectiveness of Ryan Mallett. The Hogs quarterback had his worse game of the season against the Alabama defense.
New year…new location…same Alabama victory?
Many ‘Bama fans think the change of scenery and the new Tide secondary won’t be enough to change the outcome for the Razorbacks. However, Hog fans are drooling at the idea of Ryan Mallett facing the inexperienced Alabama secondary.
Any coach and/or football mastermind will tell you that a great quarterback quickly becomes an average quarterback under pressure.
Before Ryan Mallett can have time in the pocket to test the young Alabama secondary, he must have time to throw.
If Mallett is disrupted, the receivers will be disrupted.
An effective passing game (and running game) must start at the point of attack, which is obviously the offensive line.
The goal of the Alabama defense will be to present Mallett with various defensive looks and blitz packages.
Nick Saban is a defensive genius, so the primary goal for Saturday will be to confuse the Arkansas quarterback.
Arkansas is a one-dimensional football team on offense. The Hogs only use the run to keep the defense honest, but success on the ground and the idea of establishing a long-term running attack is not part of the Arkansas agenda.
If Ryan Mallett has time in the pocket to throw the football, the Alabama secondary will most likely be exposed by a top rate quarterback and talented receivers.
Adams leads the team in receiving yards with 344, while Childs leads the Razorbacks in receptions with 19.
D.J. Williams is third on the team in receptions with 14 in total, but is arguably the most unsung member of the Arkansas offense. Williams is big and burly and plays the tight end position extremely well.
Williams is often the safety valve for Mallett when Adams and Childs are heavily covered.
Even with all the productivity, the key to success for the Arkansas offense and the Alabama defense will begin at the point of attack.
Mallett won’t be able to throw at will…if he’s sitting on his backside.
When the roles are reversed, can the Arkansas defense contain the Alabama offense? The eyes of a betting man would say no.
The Arkansas defense looks stronger than the “doormat” version of 2009, but for all the weapons the Razorbacks have to offer on offense…the Tide simply offers more.
Arkansas is one-dimensional and Alabama has more weapons than the military!
The reason Alabama is favored to win the game is simply based on production. For as much as Arkansas may well produce against the Tide secondary, many people can’t fathom a situation where Alabama loses the game.
Do the names Greg McElroy, Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson, Julio Jones, Darius Hanks, Marquis Maze (etc) hold any importance?
In 2009, all the talk leading up to the Alabama/Arkansas contest was Ryan Mallett.
When the day was done, it was Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy who looked superior and had the better performance.
The 2010 version of Alabama/Arkansas should be no different.
The Arkansas defense will simply not be able to meet the challenge and stop the Alabama offense on a consistent basis
If the hogs “load the box” to stop the run, Greg McElroy will have open receivers for a little game of “pitch and catch” for the entire afternoon.
Alabama has a well-balanced offensive attack that will exploit the Arkansas defense. McElroy will have the “better game” because the Arkansas defense will have to protect against the ‘Bama run threat.
Arkansas has an explosive offense, but Alabama has an explosive team.
All the “red shirts” and “towel waving” won’t help the Hogs come Saturday.
It will take more than a few solid offensive players to derail the entire Alabama football team.
Ryan Mallett is a great quarterback, but like so many great quarterbacks…he doesn’t play defense.
Arkansas is too limited…and Alabama is simply too good.
Posted by The Crimson Elephant at 3:08 PM