FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas is 2-6 and there’s nothing they can do in the final month of the season for it not be a disappointing year.
However, what they can do is make some positive things happen to enter the offseason with some momentum. It would help recruiting and also provide just a better feeling around the program.
Here’s five keys for that should help make this happen.
Let KJ Be KJ
It’s obvious KJ Jefferson hasn’t been comfortable in the offense Dan Enos installed. Sam Pittman and Kenny Guiton plan to shrink the playbook and also it appears use more up-tempo offense. Guiton needs to formulate an offense that allows Jefferson to play free and be himself. There’s a reason he was regarded as one of the two-best quarterbacks in the SEC entering the season. There’s a reason he was approaching nearly all the passing records at Arkansas entering the season. If Arkansas will let KJ be KJ the offense will look much different than it has the first eight game,
Get Running Game Going
It’s important that Arkansas has more success running the football than they have had thus far. It appears they will have to do it without Raheim “Rocket” Sanders, but AJ Green needs more touches. He and Rashod Dubinion showed in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl what they can do. The offensive line has got to run block better than they have and give the backs some holes to hit. If Arkansas can improve the running game and allow Jefferson to play freely the production should pick up tremendously regardless of opponent. The Hogs will be better in the red zone if they get the running game going.
Use More Tempo
This was touched on with my part about Jefferson, but Arkansas has had some success this season when they did do tempo. The Hogs got back in the Alabama game using more tempo. Players love playing that style and Pittman needs to make sure that is part of the offense going forward.
Continue to Excel on Defense, Special Teams
The three aspects of football are offense, defense and special teams. Arkansas has been pretty good on defense and special teams most of the season. The defense had a rough second half at LSU and the special teams had some breakdowns against BYU. In that game, Cam Little missed his only field goal this season and Max Fletcher had two short punts. But Isaiah Sategna did have a long punt return for a touchdown. Little and Fletcher still had decent kicks and punts in that game. These two units can’t afford to slip though if the offense does improve. One thing about tempo offense is it could force the defense to be on the the field more. The defense needs to limit explosive plays as well.
Limit Turnovers, Penalties
Arkansas has had issues with turnovers and penalties both at times this season. They need to clean up both issues. Jefferson has thrown more interceptions than in past seasons. The running backs have done a decent job holding onto the football. The penalties have killed drives this season thus limiting an already challenged offense. Don’t help the opponent with these errors.