AUBURN | The No. 8 Tigers travel to Fayetteville this week to face the Arkansas Razorbacks. This will be the Hogs' final on-campus game this season and has been chosen as Senior Day. The 20 seniors on the Arkansas team will be recognized in ceremonies just prior to kickoff.
Head Coach Bret Bielema is in his first season at Arkansas after seven very successful seasons as the head man at Wisconsin. A defensive coach by trade, Beilema has a 3-5 record to this point in the season.
Auburn will be the fifth consecutive ranked team the Hogs have faced. A little side note: Bielema grew up on his dad's Illinois hog farm, so it could be speculated that coaching at Arkansas may have been his destiny.
The Offensive Coordinator is Jim Chaney, who spent the past four years in the same capacity at Tennessee. The base formation is a shotgun with "21 personnel" (two running backs and a tight end," though the Hogs are multiple offensively. They will line up in an I-formation with two tight ends, a pistol with no tight end and occasionally in five wide.
They do seem to favor a two-back set. Bielema's influence is obvious in the offense, as they will use two and sometimes three tight ends -- with shifts and motions. One of Bielema's most basic offensive philosophies is to either outnumber the defense at the point of attack or to put bigger blockers on smaller defenders.
Arkansas works to accomplish that by using multiple tight ends and moving them around. They use a fair amount of "gadget" plays, including a reverse to the slot receiver, which they execute very well.
Quarterback Brandon Allen (6-3, 218, Soph.) has 71 completions on 158 pass attempts for 955 yards and eight touchdowns. He's been intercepted seven times. Allen's passing stats are a little misleading, however. He suffered a third-degree shoulder separation early in the season and, until two weeks ago, was only throwing the ball one day each week in practice.
He has looked somewhat better in the last two games, despite the Hogs losing both games in convincing fashion.
Arkansas uses two running backs, both of whom are considered starters. Sophomore Jonathan Williams (6-0, 222) has 100 carries and averages 6.1 yards per carry. Freshman Alex Collins (5-11, 206) has 141 carries and a 5.7 yards-per-carry average. Fullback Kiero Small (5-10, 260, Sr.) is used mostly as a blocker, but has carried the call 25 times and runs hard inside. He has also recorded 13 pass receptions, for 94 yards and one touchdown.
The offensive line is anchored by senior center Travis Swanson (6-5, 315), who has started all 46 games in his career at Arkansas. The offensive tackles are David Hurd (6-6, 318, Jr.) on the left, and Brey Cook (6-7, 330, Jr.) on the right.
Guards Dan Skipper (6-10, 317) and Denver Kirkland (6-5, 345) are both true freshmen. Both are playing extremely well for freshmen. The Arkansas offensive line has only given up six sacks this season.
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