#15 Arkansas Football 2012 Preview

Arkansas Razorbacks

Overall Rank #15
#5 SEC
Arkansas College Football 2012 Team Preview
Arkansas Team Page


Arkansas had a tremendous 2011 campaign losing only two games, one to the eventual national champions Alabama and the other to the runner up LSU. During the offseason turbulence struck as former Head Coach Bobby Petrino was caught up in a scandal and was fired. In turn Arkansas hired a veteran coach in John L. Smith who brings lots of experience and leadership to the team. He is looking to continue to elevate this program, but it will not be easy battling the deep competition of the SEC.

2011 Record: (11-2 Overall, 6-2 in Conference)  
2011 Bowl: Cotton Bowl VS Kansas State (W 29-16)
Coach: John L. Smith (0-0 at Arkansas, 137-87 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Paul Petrino
Defensive Coordinator: Paul Haynes    

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Dennis Johnson, RB, 702 yards
Passing: Tyler Wilson, QB, 3,638 yards
Receiving: Cobi Hamilton, WR, 542 yards
Tackles:  Alonzo Highsmith, LB, 37
Sacks: Alonzo Highsmith, LB, 4.5
Interceptions: Eric Bennett, DB, 3

Other Key Returnees:  DL Chris Smith, K Zach Hocker, RB Knile Davis, WR Marquel Wade, TE Chris Gragg, OG Alvin Bailey, DT Robert Thomas, LB Tenarius Wright

Key Losses: WR Jarius Wright, WR Joe Adams

The Razorbacks have a prolific passing attack led by Tyler Wilson who is returning for his senior season. The highly touted passer compiled an impressive 3,638 yards last season. Combine that with 24 touchdown passes to just six interceptions and Wilson had one of the finest seasons in the nation. His senior season should be even more impressive as the Razorbacks aerial assault will be nearly impossible to slow down. That should catapult the Razorbacks to numerous victories and one of the best teams in their deadly conference. To help the passing game Arkansas will turn to Dennis Johnson, the senior halfback who will be the counter weight to balance their attack. He is primed for a breakout season and should make this offensive juggernaut even more dangerous in 2012.  Running back Knile Davis, who missed the 2011 season with a broken ankle, should be ready to go.

Despite one of the deadliest offensive attacks in the nation, the Arkansas defense lagged behind in success giving up over 360 yards per game, 47th in the nation. They also surrendered the 33rd most points per contest. Such a soft defense will not be enough to win a championship in the dominate SEC, so the unit will need to be improved in 2012. In particular their rush defense needs to be shored up, as they were gashed for over 167 yards per game. It is difficult to beat the top tier SEC teams when you struggle to defend the run. Furthermore the Razorbacks struggled to create turnovers, having a turnover margin of a weak .08, despite having a quarterback throw only six interceptions. If Arkansas wants to have a chance to play in a BCS bowl game they will need their defense to step up and start forcing opponents to make more mistakes.

The Bottom Line:
Returning Tyler Wilson is huge for this offense and should ensure that there will not be a significant drop-off in production from a season ago, despite losing their top two wideouts. This is an ultra talented team but they are in the best conference in all of college football, so winning games will still be a challenge. They are talented enough to earn a BCS bid but could be a team buried in the gobs of talent that the SEC claims.

Projected Bowl: Outback Bowl

2011 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 137.38 (81st in the nation, 9th in conference)
Passing Offense: 300.69 (13, 1)
Total Offense: 438.08 (29, 1)
Scoring Offense: 36.77 (15, 1)
Rushing Defense: 167.62 (74, 9)
Pass Defense: 195.23 (25, 10)
Total Defense: 362.85 (47, 9)
Scoring Defense: 22.23 (33, 8)
Turnover Margin: .08 (T-49, 6)
Sacks: 2.23 (36, 5)   
Sacks Allowed: 2.15 (T-73, 6)  

Madness 2013 NFL Draft Rankings:
#9 Tyler Wilson
#46 Knile Davis
#93 Cobi Hamilton

Madness 2012 Football Recruit Rankings:
#158 Otha Peters
#214 Jonathan Williams


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