#55 Arkansas Football 2014 Preview

Arkansas Razorbacks

Overall Rank: #55
#12 SEC

Arkansas Team Page#55 Arkansas Football 2014 PreviewBuy Arkansas Football Tickets

It was a tough debut season for Coach Bret Bielema at Arkansas. The Razorbacks won their first three games against Louisiana, Samford and Southern Miss and failed to tally another win the rest of the campaign. It has been a long, long time since this team has tasted victory. But Coach Bielema is staying the course and will eventually build a consistent winner in Fayetteville. For now, reaching six wins and a bowl game is the goal and that is feasible, even with a brutal schedule.

2013 Record: 3-9, 0-8
2013 Bowl: None
Coach: Bret Bielema (3-9 at Arkansas, 71-33 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Jim Chaney
Defensive Coordinator: Robb Smith

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Alex Collins, RB, 1,026 yards
Passing: Brandon Allen, QB, 1,552 yards
Receiving: Hunter Henry, TE, 409 yards
Tackles: Alan Turner, S, 97
Sacks: Trey Flowers, DE, 5.0
Interceptions: Alan Turner, S, 2

Other Key Returnees: RB Jonathan Williams, WR Keon Hatcher, LB Braylon Mitchell, DT Darius Philon, CB Tevin Mitchell

Key Losses: WR Javontee Herndon, OL Travis Swanson, DL Chris Smith, LB Jarrett Lake, S Eric Bennett, K Zach Hocker

Behind a trio of talented running backs, the Arkansas offense should be able to grind out some wins. Alex Collins earned SEC Freshman of the Year accolades after rushing for 1,026 yards and four touchdowns. Jonathan Williams will be the starter again. The 6-0 junior rushed for 900 yards and four scores in 2013. Korliss Marshall did not see much action last season, but he is a speedster who adds something to the offense that Collins and Williams cannot. Behind a young, but very talented offensive line, the Razorbacks should be one of the best rushing teams in the SEC. With more time to operate and more experience, quarterback Brandon Allen should be more efficient this time around. As a sophomore, he completed fewer than 50 percent of his passes and threw ten interceptions to just 13 touchdowns. Allen will need more help from his receivers. Tight end Hunter Henry is a great safety option, but somebody has to stretch the field. The hope is some newcomers can spark the passing game, most notably freshman Jared Cornelius.

This was one of the worst defenses in the SEC. In their eight conference losses, Arkansas only held one opponent to under 30 points. Getting into the backfield will not be as easy without end Chris Smith, who tallied a team high 8.5 sacks, but there is talent and depth at both end spots. Trey Flowers will spend plenty of time in the backfield and Brandon Lewis is an intriguing option after seeing limited playing time as a freshman. There are more concerns on the middle of the line where there is little depth or experience behind Darius Philton. Braylon Mitchell is by far the most experienced linebacker and will man the outside spot. The development of Brooks Ellis after a very good freshman campaign could turn the linebackers into a strength instead of a weakness. The secondary does have experience with safety Alan Turner and corner Tevin Mitchel, but they will need to vastly improve if the defense as a whole is going to stop anybody on a consistent basis.

The Bottom Line:
This is a program that is still rebuilding from all of the drama that happened a couple years ago. Coach Bielema is attempting to establish consistency and eventually that will pay off. The 2014 campaign kicks off with a tough trip to Auburn and that may not be the start Arkansas is looking for. But after that they play Nicholls State, Texas Tech and Northern Illinois. The other non-conference affair is a home game against UAB on October 25th. Only Nicholls State will be an easy game, but Arkansas should be able to grind out wins on the ground. If the defense can do their part, the Razorbacks will be back to a bowl game for the first time since their Cotton Bowl appearance in 2011.

Projected Bowl: Independence Bowl

2013 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 208.7 (21st in nation, 3rd in conference)
Passing Offense: 148.5 (114, 14)
Total Offense: 357.2 (99, 11)
Scoring Offense: 20.7 (105, 12)
Rushing Defense: 178.4 (78, 11)
Pass Defense: 235.0 (72, 11)
Total Defense: 413.4 (76, 9)
Scoring Defense: 30.8 (88, 12)
Turnover Margin: -0.8 (111, 14)
Sacks: 2.33 (39, 3)
Sacks Allowed: 0.67 (3, 1)

Madness 2015 NFL Draft Rankings:
#23 Trey Flowers

Madness 2014 Recruit Rankings:
#114 Bijhon Jackson
#149 Brian Wallace


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