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What To Watch For: Arkansas

Can we just have another week to bask in it please?

NCAA Football: Alabama at Arkansas Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

In 2007, LSU nearly (and should have) had their national title hopes dashed by the Arkansas Razorbacks, behind a generational running back who wore a big number 5 on his chest. This year, that’s all taken down a few notches. The hopes are for the SEC West, not the national title (sorry folks, Georgia), and the RB is only very good, but LSU just stumbled home from the bar at 6 A.M. after the greatest night of their lives.

It’s now the next morning, and hangover watch is on.

When Arkansas Has the Ball

Who Plays QB

The story in Fayetteville this week has been whether or not star QB KJ Jefferson will be healthy enough to play this week. Brian Kelly, as the coach should, expects that he will. Ultimately KJ Jefferson is going to be the best player on the field for Arkansas, and it’s worth watching to see if he, or Malik Hornsby, gets the ball.

Arkansas RB #5

First off, I can’t believe that Arkansas allows people to still wear 5 after what Darren McFadden accomplished for that program. While he is no McFadden, Raheim “Rocket” Sanders is an excellent back, and a key part of what is one of the best running games in the conference. I really don’t want you guys (I have to miss the game) to have the collective flashback experience of seeing number 5 crush LSU’s season.

Stopping that From Happening

LSU’s defense has so well schemed all year, but they do have weakness in consistently fitting the run. Against Ole Miss, the last time this was such a point of emphasis, they did a great job at the point of attack but Arkansas presents a follow-up challenge to that. If they can’t control the run game, LSU is in actual trouble.

When LSU Has the Ball

Exploiting Their Weakness

Arkansas is actually quite good at rushing the passer, but on the back-end they have really struggled all year. With one of the worst pass defenses in the conference, LSU would do well to throw the ball around the yard to try to create explosives and run up the score as much as they can. LSU has had a ton of success on the ground, but this is a game to throw it.

Expanding Taylor’s Ssage

I think Mason Taylor is really starting to earn a bigger role in the passing game. I’d love to see him deployed in a bit more of a creative way in the concept. Pop him on a deep over on play-action, pop him on a slot fade, motion him out from a condensed 12-personnel look and have him run a choice route on a linebacker. Stuff like that.