As always, brought to you with minimal video or statistical review. Nothing more than opinions developed through the haze of ten hours of smoking, drinking, and watching. Drink of choice yesterday was beer-itas, in honor of the perfect weather we were graced with. Crisp, refreshing, piquant. And then Joe Swine sent me teetering over the edge with a shot of crown. Thanks, ahole.
So let’s get to it.
First of all, the crowd brought it. I mean, they seriously brought it. A continuous dull roar that ratcheted up to deafening on second down, and ear-splitting on third down. The student section did their part as well. They were into the entire game, and I thought the towels were a nice touch that a good chunk of them used effectively. Overall, Reynolds Razorback Stadium was quiet on offense, active on defense, and a presence throughout the game.
Did anyone else see one of Woopig’s esteemed admins rocking a homemade “Teh Woopig” shirt on the Pig Screen? Points if you did.
So, here’s the deal. If you are not Alabama, LSU, and possibly… POSSIBLY, South Carolina, last night is what you’ll get if you want to bring the house and hurry Tyler Wilson. Screen. Screen. Draw. Screen. Earlier in the season, we were working short-yardage plays because that was all that was available. Last night, we did so to exploit a defensive weakness. The line is growing up. Our running backs are running harder. Our offense is getting better. We didn’t execute last night… not well at all. But if we had, that offense would have been unstoppable. It hasn’t been that way all year.
Petrino shut it down last night when it was obvious Auburn wasn’t going to score, and some idiots decided to boo him. We could have opened the offense back up any drive when we needed to, but the fact of the matter is that we scored all we needed on THE FIRST OFFENSIVE PLAY OF THE SECOND HALF, and after that, the game was a trifling nuisance to be dealt with so we could get to our off week and get healthy. And as it turned out, we didn’t even need that play. So if you were booing, STFU and STFD and take your Top 10 team and deal with it. You don’t know much about football.
I said last week that we’d see a lot of Frazier and the read option. I thought it would be because we were vulnerable to it… not because that was one of two plays they could run without looking like Keystone Cops.
Greg Childs looked more like Greg Childs last night. I think he had one pretty blatant drop, but his routes looked better, he looked more comfortable after the catch, and his blocking, for the second straight week, helped create points.
Last night we could run the ball. Last night, we saw a return to play action. This means Cobi Hamilton and Greg Childs are about to become much happier. I think our offense is about to start looking a lot more like last year as far as that goes.
Highsmith was apparently awesome. His name was called a lot, but for whatever reason, I never really noticed his play while watching live. I DID notice the play of Eric Bennett, Tramain Thomas, and Jerry Franklin. Bennett did a great job of recognizing runners on the edge and moving up to meet them. He didn’t always make the tackle, but he minimized big plays. And his interception was perfectly played. Hid in the zone, read the quarterback’s eyes, made a great play. Same with Thomas and his first pick. I thought Lutzenkirchen had snuck out undetected, but Thomas was on top of things all the way. And Franklin just flat showed up to play for the first time this season. His tackling was as sound as a Razorback has tackled in a long time. Old-timers on the radio this week were grumbling that we needed to spend all our practice time doing tackling drills… and it damn sure looked like we might have.
Trooper Taylor is such a punkass. He running around, jumping around, and wild gesticulating would fetch a penalty if he were wearing a helmet and pads. He makes James Shibest look like a good sport. I. Hate. Him. Maybe more than Dyer. Okay, not that much, but I really hate him. I wonder if he played Angry Birds on his phone in the second half, because he didn’t have anything to cheer about, and he damn sure wasn’t doing any coaching.
Another game, another play with Kiero Small absolutely brutalizing a defensive player. Swear to god, we have four players on the Biletnikof watch list and a quarterback who threw for 500 yards last week, and I have my eyes glued to the fullback every time he’s on the field.
When did the “stand with your heels on the 10 and NEVER take a step backwards” rule go completely out the window? Not just our team… it’s an epidemic. I see TONS of punts that are fair caught inside the 10.
We are not a great team, but last night we completely dominated a ranked opponent in all phases of the game. We failed to cash in on opportunity after opportunity, and yet we scored 38 points, including the last 31 of the game. We are running downhill from now until we go to Baton Rouge on the Friday after Thanksgiving. We will be favored every game until then, and there is no reason we shouldn’t win each one comfortably. We are not a great team, but we are, I feel, deserving of our Top 10 ranking. I’m confident most fans of other teams would agree after the past two weeks. We’re not a great team only because our expectations have changed. It’s taken 14 years, but the culture that Houston Nutt said he wanted to create when he got to the University of Arkansas has finally manifested itself. He failed in ten years. It’s taken Petrino four, and he took us there from ashes.
Last night, we won a big SEC game, in Fayetteville, at night, against a Top 15 team, and NOBODY that I talked to was surprised. Every single one expected it, and felt nothing more than the satisfaction of well-served revenge following the contest. The championships are coming, but the attitude and the comfort with expectations are there. The switch has been flipped, and last night was our first chance to truly celebrate it. We are winners, and we know it.
And we’re not even a great team.
Check out the thread on the board.