October 6, 2011

Coach's Corner: AU at UA

Auburn (4-1, 2-0) travels to Fayetteville, Ark. this week to face the Razorbacks (4-1, 0-2). The game marks the 21st meeting between the two teams. The Hawgs have won two of three since Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino took over.

Arkansas is coming off a big win against Texas A&M in the annual Southwest Classic. The Aggies led by 18 at the half, but Arkansas came roaring back behind 510 passing yards by QB Tyler Wilson to win 42-38.

Arkansas' only other noteworthy opponent this season was Alabama. The Tide handled the Razorbacks 38-14 in Tuscaloosa in a game that was not nearly as one-sided as the score would indicate. Alabama scored on a trick play, a punt return, and on an interception return. Bama played power football offensively in the game, and the Hawgs held up well until late in the game.

Arkansas Offense

Every SEC football fan knows the Arkansas offense under Petrino is pass-oriented. Last year it was Ryan Mallett throwing the ball around, and this year it's Wilson. Auburn fans got more than a glimpse of Wilson last year when Mallett left early with an injury and Wilson took over. Wilson completed 25 passes in that game for 322 yards and four touchdowns.

Along with Wilson, the Hawgs have an outstanding corps of wide receivers. Jarius Wright had 13 receptions for 281 yards last week against A&M. He leads the team with 28 catches this season and averages 21.8 yards per catch. Senior Joe Adams is tied for sixth in the SEC with 4.2 receptions per game. Cobi Hamilton has four 100-yard receiving games in his career, and senior Greg Childs was the top receivers last year, but for some reason, has not gotten the ball thrown his way this season. Still, Childs ranks among the top 12 receivers in Hawg history.

Petrino has proven in the past that if he believes he needs to run the ball to win, he's willing to set the passing game aside and do that. What the Hawgs have not shown this year is a dominant running back.

Ronnie Wingo, Broderick Green, and Dennis Johnson can all be effective, but none are game-breakers like Knile Davis, who was lost for the season with an injury. Both Wingo and Green are more in the power back mold, with Wingo at 231 pounds and Green over 240.

The top offensive linemen are guards Grant Cook (Sr., 6-4, 318) and sophomore Alvin Bailey (6-5, 319).

Arkansas Defense

The Hawgs' base defense is a 4-3, although with today's multiple wide receiver formations, the "box" usually consists of four down linemen and two linebackers for so-called "4-3 teams".

Arkansas does play a fair amount of five-man fronts, and when in the four-man front, the Razorbacks do line up both odd and even. Against Alabama's power offense, Arkansas started out in a four-man front, then went to a five-, a six-, and finally a seven-man front until they got the Tide running game slowed down. .....

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