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Hogs Save Offensive Balance For Another Day

Bret Bielema's trademark "balanced offense" took a back seat in Arkansas' season opener to a ground game that was too good to limit.
FAYETTEVILLE--Fifty-one running plays to twenty-three passes is almost certainly not the offensive balance Bret Bielema has been talking about since he arrived on the hill last December. The fact is, Bielema's debut as Arkansas' new head coach was all about running the ball on a Louisiana-Lafayette team that had trouble stopping the run. It's also what you do for the last quarter and a half with a 20 point lead when you're trying to run out the clock and get your team out of the August heat. Right coach?

"Well, that's not the way to say it," Bielema joked when asked about the rather obvious reasoning behind 14 straight rushing plays called by offensive coordinator Jim Chaney to end the game. "I think it's run until they don't let you run," Bielema corrected. "Jim wanted to make a statement but I told him afterward that he did have permission to throw the ball some."

"We were running the ball pretty well and I never felt the need to start pumping the ball," Chaney explained. "But when it was time for him (quarterback Brandon Allen) to do his deal in the two minute drill, he performed well. That first touchdown throw he had he moved back up underneath a blitzing linebacker and he hit him (receiver Javontee Herndon) right in the hands. He's throwing the ball accurately. He's got a lot of confidence right now."

Allen said his confidence was courtesy of a strong running game that, unlike last year, kept opposing defenders from teeing off on him. "It's awesome when you can pound the ball at will," Allen raved. "That really just sets up the pass for us. It's so much easier when you have a solid ground game."

If they didn't know it before they know it now. Future opponents are going to have to stop the run first when facing Bret Bielema's Razorbacks. At that point they will encounter the other part of Jim Chaney's playbook, the part that more closely resembles the approach Arkansas' previous head coach employed for four seasons before his ill-fated motorcycle accident.

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