When we run the ball effectively, the play-action passing game will be much more successful. If we have about 65 offensive plays, I would like to see us pass it no more than 25 times and more like 20 times. If Joe Cox can build from where he left off in the SC game, he should be able complete at least 15 passes: 6-8 to Green, 2 to Moore, 2 to King, 1 to Smith, 3 or 4 to TE's and 3 or 4 to running backs. Do you know we haven't thrown a screen pass yet this year? At least I don't recall it. I want to see Chapas get one out in space with blockers out front.
I believe our offense will score more than 30 points, so our defense must hold them in the 20's or less. It has been said over and over, but this looks like the game for our pass rush to make its presence felt. I thought we had an awesome push against SC, but were unable to corral Garcia. Arky QB Ryan Mallett will not be nearly as elusive as Garcia. With the return of Justin Houston, I am boldly predicting that we will sack Mallett no less than 4 times and possibly as many as 7 times. It won't always be about getting the sack but it will be about disrupting the timing of the passing game and hurrying him or making him throw with people in his face. In the OSU game, we dropped 3 potential interceptions. This needs to be the game in which we hang on to those and take one to the house... I'm talking to you Prince Miller.
Arkansas has one hella fast and elusive tailback in Michael Smith. But, those little scat backs have not had much success on the Dawgs in recent years. Even in a blowout last year in Jacksonville we limited Rainey and Demps. The backs that have had big days on the Dawgs have been big ole boys like LSU's Charles Scott, Tech's Dwyer and SC's Boyd/Davis duo in 2007. We have spped and size on our defense and I think we will bottle up Smith like we did Kendall Hunter. He may break off one long scoot, but I don't think he will break 100 yards. If our offense does the things I think it is going to do, Arkansas will be passing more than running anyway. I just don't see Arkansas hurting us much on the ground.
Our special teams finally lived up to their names last week. Let's hope that continues in Fayetteville. Whether it is Boykin, Smith, Miller, Butler or Walsh... we need solid performances from all of these guys with at least one or two truly special plays.
Here are a few out-on-a-limb predictions for the game...
- Samuel has his first 100 yard game.
- Chapas takes a screen pass in for a score.
- Mike Moore gets a TD for the 4th consecutive game in 2009 - going back to the Citrus Bowl.
- Green scores again.
- Houston registers 2 sacks and Washington another two.
- Miller with a pick.
- Walsh with another 50+ yarder.
GO DAWGS! GATA!!!