Alabama vs. Arkansas: Hogs Need to Get Back to Basics

James Brown@@chasingballgameSenior Analyst ISeptember 10, 2012

Sep 8, 2012; Little Rock, AR, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks running back Knile Davis (7) celebrates with offensive tackle Brey Cook (74) and teammates after rushing for a touchdown in the second quarter against the Louisiana Monroe Warhawks at War Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-US PRESSWIRE
Nelson Chenault-US PRESSWIRE

The Arkansas Razorbacks are in trouble.

After losing to Louisiana-Monroe and plummeting in the college football polls, the Razorbacks have to get ready to host one of the best teams in the country in the Alabama Crimson Tide.

A week ago, the Razorbacks were viewing this game as a statement game and a chance to be considered contenders for the national championship. Now they are hoping their season is not over already.

Tyler Wilson’s injury status is day-to-day and if the Razorbacks don’t have their best player on the field the chances of an upset diminish greatly.

The odds on this game have the Crimson Tide tagged as 17-point favorites, a number that may change if Wilson plays. Regardless of Wilson’s status the Razorbacks need to get back to basics and run the ball. 

In the stunning loss to the Warhawks the Razorbacks ran the ball just five times in the fourth quarter. Knile Davis is a workhorse in the backfield and along with Dennis Johnson the Hogs have enough depth to consistently run the ball.

Running the ball will open up passing lanes and help provide the quarterback with protection. The Hogs normally use the pass to set up the run, but against Alabama it may be best to use the run to set up the pass.

The Razorbacks need to establish the run, but that could be a daunting task for several reasons.

First, the Alabama Crimson Tide has an incredible defense. They flexed their muscles against the run on Saturday against Western Kentucky. They allowed 1.6 yards per carry and never allowed the Hilltoppers to come close to establishing any kind of ground game.

Secondly Knile Davis has not impressed in the first two outings.  Davis has looked slow to hit the holes and could not manage a 100-yard game against Jacksonville State and Louisiana-Monroe.

Finally, the Razorbacks are very thin at fullback. Freshman fullback Kody Walker will miss the rest of the season with a broken leg, becoming the second fullback to be lost for an extended period of time. Fullback Kiero Small was injured during practice and that will leave the Razorbacks looking for some help blocking the fierce Alabama Defense.

The Razorbacks have a big hill to climb to get ready for Alabama. Wilson is doubtful, the defense is in tatters and the play-calling is questionable. The best thing for the Razorbacks to do is get back to basics, although in the end that may not even matter.

James Brown is a B/R featured columnist and can be followed on Twitter. Feel free to contact James at He also is a contributor at Bookie Blitz, a sports picks website.