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As The Hogs Turn (Arkansas Razorbacks Preview)

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on August 20, 2007

When a college football follower look back on the 2006 Arkansas Razorbacks season, the first thing that comes to their mind isn’t Heisman hopefull Darren McFadden’s performance or the victory over then #4 Auburn, at Auburn, that propelled them to the 2006 SEC West championship.

No, the first thing that come to their mind is the meddling parents of the blue-chip prospects that came from Springdale to whined about their kids’ playing time, forgetting that these kids were without a shadow of a doubt, freshmen.

Nutcase Razorback fans digging into the phone records of Houston Nutt and to top it all off, a book written by former QB Mitch Mustain that described Nutt’s offense as boring and full of sh*t.

Nice way to celebrate a banner year, huh?

With offensive coordinator Gus Malzhan off to Tulsa, Mustain off to Southern Cal, the Razorbacks can enter the 2007 season in defense of their 2006 SEC West championship with one thing on their mind: football.

The keys to the Arkansas offense will be handed, as expected, to Heisman hopeful Darren McFadden, who finished a distant second in the Heisman voting last season to Ohio State’s Troy Smith. In 2006, McFadden rushed for 1,714 yards on the strength of 284 carries and 14 touchdowns, one of the best rushing performances by a Razorback in recent memory. He will be joined by fellow junior running back Felix Jones, who ran for an additional 1,225 yards and 6 touchdowns.

With no heralded freshman to back up, Casey Dick will have the quarterbacking chores all to himself this season after seeing action in 10 games last year and throwing for 991 yards and 8 touchdowns. There is no clear second-string on the depth chart for QB in Fayetteville, save for sophomore Nathan Emert, who didn’t see any playing time in 2006.

On defense, the Razorbacks will have plenty of holes as only 4 starters return on defense, most notably senior linebacker Weston Dacus who recorded 73 tackles, eight of which were for loss in the 2006 season. He will be joined by junior Ernest Mitchell, who also recorded 8 tackles for loss last season, on the defensive side of the ball.

Final analysis: In a year of constant change on the campus in Fayetteville, with the retirement of legendary athletic director and football coach Frank Broyles and the departure of longtime offensive coordinator Danny Nutt due to health concerns, the 2007 season will be a test to see whether or not if Houston Nutt can go a full season without drama. With McFadden in the lineup, maybe for once in Nutt’s tenure the Razorback faithful can have a season to remember. If not, then the “Help Wanted” sign will pop up in Fayetteville this winter.

Projected record: 10-2 (6-2 SEC)

2007 Arkansas Razorbacks

Sept. 1st Troy

Sept. 15th @ Alabama

Sept. 22nd Kentucky

Sept. 29th North Texas

Oct. 6th Chattanooga (Little Rock )

Oct. 13th Auburn

Oct. 20th @ Ole Miss

Oct. 27th Florida International

Nov. 3rd South Carolina

Nov. 10th @ Tennessee

Nov. 17th Mississippi State (Little Rock)

Nov. 24th @ LSU

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