One of my favorite things about the SB Nation community is building friendships with people from other school sites. A great example: my guy Tucker formerly of Arkansas Fight. One reason why I look forward every year to the Arkansas game is getting to chit chat with Tucker, and he was kind enough to join us in previewing the Hogs for the fifth year in a row. Tucker’s got an Arkansas substack, linked here, where you can keep up with all things Hogs.
Note from Tucker: Before we get into the question and answer portion, I wanted to take a moment to wish Greg Brooks Jr. a speedy recovery following his brain surgery this week. He was an outstanding Razorback, and we’ve wished him nothing but the best since he went home. One way we can use sports to improve things is by using moments like this to rally support and solidarity.
This is a reputable food pantry in Harvey, Louisiana, Brooks’ hometown. If you’re so moved, I encourage you to join me in donating to the center in honor of Greg Brooks Jr., to show some solidarity with him and his community.
Now, let’s answer some questions!
1. I think playing this game in September really favors LSU. I feel like most of LSU’s problems with the Arkansas game is when it fell on the calendar. Am I crazy?
You are not crazy! Historically, it’s the last game of the year, when you guys have just played a brutally close game against Alabama or are looking forward to Atlanta. There are no such distractions in this edition of the game. A fun bit of trivia: this is the first September game in the history of this series! The earliest this game has ever been was on October 19, 1935 when LSU won 13-7 in Shreveport. I like this game as a November game. There’s just something right about crisp, fall air floating by during this game. It’s too humid right now. It’s not right.
2. How does Arkansas bounce back after losing last week to BYU?
I think I speak for all Arkansas fans when I say ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Our offensive line has been concerning all year, and there are some growing pains with an entirely new offense. After weeks 1 and 2, I would’ve been cautiously optimistic about our chances, and while this game tends to be close, I expect LSU to win at home. Looking competent on offense, avoiding stupid penalties (14 for 125 yards against BYU, including I think 5 on the final drive), and not turning the ball over would be a bounce back in my opinion.
3. Nobody in the SEC looks particularly terrifying this year. Let’s say Arkansas wins the West, how do they navigate their way to Atlanta?
Do all the other West teams get raptured in this scenario? In reality, it’s going to involve a massive surge from our offense. This isn’t unprecedented. In 2015, Enos’ first year at Arkansas, we dropped an embarrassing game to Toledo before finishing the season 8-5. I would imagine that kind of turnaround (if not greater) will be needed to get to Atlanta.
I think that’s the most discouraging part of dropping a game we should’ve won against BYU. There are shades of the 2007 season where everyone sucks! It feels like the West is open! We just don’t seem capable of seizing that.
4. The jury’s still out on LSU’s defense, especially in the secondary. Can KJ and company exploit an iffy secondary, and if so who’s the receiver most likely to do damage?
Keep an eye on Isaac TeSlaa. He’s a transfer from Hillsdale College and has already made his share of circus catches. He truly catches everything thrown his way. If there’s any give to the LSU secondary, he’ll find it, and he’s incredibly capable of winning contested catches. It will all be dependent on KJ having enough time to throw the ball. I would also look out for Andrew Armstrong, a transfer from Texas A&M - Commerce. He’s developed a good rapport with KJ so far, and has also made some circus catches.
5. Let’s assume this is it for KJ Jefferson. What’s going to be his legacy in Arkansas lore?
I think about this all the time. I think at the end of the day, I’ll remember him as the quarterback who guided us out of the darkness of Chad and back into relative respectability. Getting some marquee wins this year could put him in the all-time great conversation for us in my opinion, and he stands to break a ton of records. I’ll always remember him as the toughest guy on the team, someone who gave everything to the University, and as the most exciting QB I’ve had the privilege of watching at Arkansas. I’m a huge fan.
6. Has Arkansas figured out they should probably block Harold Perkins? He’s wearing a different number this year in case the coaches weren’t aware.
When I watched the LSU-FSU game, I was shocked to see him dropping back into coverage. I guess everyone wants a Micah Parsons, but even he doesn’t really do that anymore. If he wants to switch to corner, I’m excited for the game, but I imagine Brian Kelly is gonna just let him chase KJ all day.
7. Finally, who wins this thing? Who gets to go home with The Boot this year?
I’m not picking against Arkansas– don’t put in the article that I’m picking against Arkansas…
But I don’t think we’ll win. I think it’ll be a closer game, because it usually is, but I just think LSU has more talent and continuity.
This makes me sick, and I think it’s the first time I’ve done it in one of these but…
LSU 28 - Arkansas 17