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Playin’ Nice: Arkansas Fight

We talk about the Razorbacks with Eric Harris of Arkansas Fight.

Arkansas Fight

1. The Razorbacks have dropped to 2-7 on the year, and bowl eligibility is now off the table. What’s the mood in Fayetteville now as LSU comes to town?

Right now it’s all about what 2019 will look like. Most people expected a rebuild but didn’t think it would be this ugly. Fans are finding optimism in what’s turning out to be a pretty solid recruiting class and trying to cling on to whatever positives they can take from games.

2. It doesn’t look like this team is particularly good on offense or defense — is there one side of the ball that bears more weight in this year’s struggles, or is it just a case of rebuilding with a first-year head coach?

The defense has been hot and cold all year. They got a shutout against a weak Tulsa team and did well against A&M, but there have also been games where they just haven’t shown up, most notably the recent Vandy game. That side of the ball has some quality difference makers in guys like Dre Greenlaw, De’Jon Harris, and Armon Watts. The offense has been a mess pretty much all year, and that’s largely been due to the big change of system. The quarterbacks haven’t been able to do what coaches need from them, and it’s been a year long struggle trying to find plays and concepts that work.

3. Should we expect to see Ty Storey get the start at quarterback?

Yep. Morris really botched the QB situation in the first few games of the year with an inability to settle on Ty Storey or Cole Kelley (hell, even Jerry Jones’ grandson threw a pick six this year). Eventually he’s settled on Storey as the main guy save for the Tulsa game he missed due to injury. He hasn’t been spectacular, but the offense has shown some signs of life with him. Kelley still comes in on 3rd/4th down and short situations, where he uses his size to get a couple yards.

4. I would think most people believed Chad Morris was inheriting a major rebuild here, but the reality of such struggles is usually tougher to deal with. How to Arkansas fans feel at the moment?

For most fans, it’s a grit your teeth and bear with it while trying to show some patience. There’s a lot of frustration and blame being directed at Bielema and the previous staff, a good portion of that is warranted but anyone placing all of the blame directly on him is deflecting from some pretty significant mistakes Morris and company have made this year. Bielema’s recruiting and lack of development definitely has hurt the state of the program, but this is a very inexperienced coaching staff, many of whom are going through their first year at a power 5 program in their current roles, so there’s a lot of growing pains happening there.

5. So how do you see Saturday night playing out?

Arkansas just doesn’t have the athletes to hang with LSU for a full 60 minutes. I’d expect Arkansas’ defense to compete well and keep things respectable for a while, but the offense just won’t get anything going. I’m definitely taking the under in this one. Something in the range of 31-7 LSU.