Jim Harris: Crimson Tide Is Welcomed Challenge For Hogs


Call it the Arkyana Hog Podcast hosted by Jim Harris.

Louisiana natives, former Razorback football players and current Little Rock residents Mike Shepherd and Rick David give their thoughts and analysis on the Razorbacks, the team’s performance against the Tennessee Volunteers and a look at the tough task ahead for Hogs Saturday night in Tuscaloosa against the Alabama Crimson Tide.

Some of the highlights you will will catch from this episode:

  • What is happening in the fourth quarter
  • Stepping up on defense
  • How do the Arkansas Razorbacks match up against the Alabama Crimson Tide
  • Nick Saban’s press conference regarding the game Saturday against the Razorbacks is very complimentary. In fact, it’s safe to say Saban is High on the Hogs

Here are Jim’s initial thoughts on the game against the Volunteers:

It figured that when the fourth quarter arrived in this one — with two teams matched up who had shown no ability to make plays late either on offense or defense or in special teams to win a game — we might see the ugliest 15 minutes of football before a non-loser emerged. True to form, it wasn’t pretty, but it turned out that Arkansas’ 24-20 lead through three quarters was indeed enough to hold up in Knoxville, Tenn.

Arkansas failed to put away the Volunteers, and the Vols didn’t show any ability to take the game from the Hogs as well in the final 15 minutes. Tennessee, for the third time in its three losses, couldn’t hold a double-digit lead, but this time a 14-point edge had evaporated by halftime, as the teams were deadlocked at 17 after 30 minutes. The difference was the steady control that both Arkansas lines established as the second-half wore on.

The Razorbacks’ defensive front figured out the Vols’ running game and the defense allowed less than 100 total yards in the second half, while the offense controlled the football for more than 20 minutes after halftime. The Razorbacks also found a second back to hit the 100-yard mark in freshman Rawleigh Williams III, while main threat Alex Collins had 154  yards on 27 carries, and Arkansas doubled-up Tennessee in rush yardage.

Meanwhile, Brandon Allen completed just 11 passes, but most accounted for big yardage as he threw for 219 yards (or 19.9 yards per completion). Tennessee’s struggles in its passing game, even if the Vols gained 232 yards in the air, was most notable in that running backs Jalen Hurd (3 for 51) and Alvin Kamara (4 for 40) were the Vols’ leading receivers.

* * *

And here is the news out of Alabama about the Crimson Tide:

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The University of Alabama began the new week of practices with an hour and 15 minutes of work in shells on Monday afternoon on the Thomas-Drew Practice Fields.

The team returns home after a 38-10 victory over the Georgia Bulldogs last Saturday in Athens. The Crimson Tide’s next challenge will come when the team hosts the Arkansas Razorbacks. The Hogs are led by Bret Bielema, now in his third season in Arkansas, and sport a 2-3 (1-1 SEC) record after coming away from Knoxville with a 24-20 win last weekend.

The Crimson Tide and Razorbacks will meet at Bryant-Denny Stadium this Saturday, Oct. 10 for a homecoming weekend matchup. The game is scheduled for a 6 p.m. CT kickoff on ESPN with Brad Nessler and Todd Blackledge manning the booth and Holly Rowe working the sidelines for the broadcast.

Alabama own the advantage in the series with Arkansas, 15-8 (18-7 before forfeited and vacated games), and is currently riding an eight-game winning streak against the Hogs. Alabama has also won five consecutive against Arkansas inside Bryant-Denny Stadium. The most recent matchup occurred last season in Fayetteville, when the Crimson Tide posted a 14-13 win over the Razorbacks thanks to a blocked extra point by Jonathan Allen that would prove to be the difference in the game.

Earlier in the day, junior tailback Derrick Henry and freshman wide receiver Calvin Ridley were recognized by the Southeastern Conference league offices with player of the week accolades. Henry earned his second Offensive Player of the Week honors from the conference thanks to his career-high 148 yards with one touchdown on 26 carries. Ridley earned Freshman of the Week after finishing his day in Athens with 120 yards and a touchdown on five catches, making himself the first UA freshman to record a 100-plus yard game since Amari Cooper in 2013 against Notre Dame.

* * *

Nick Saban is High on the Hogs:

“After watching the film of the Georgia game, our players did a really good job in some tough circumstances and a tough situation relative to playing on the road and in that weather. I’m certainly proud of the statement they made in that game. They beat a good team. There’s obviously a lot of things that we can do better, clean up, and that’s certainly something we need to be committed too. You beat a good team, it is what it is and that’s it, and I think we did that because we prepared well and practiced well all week. We had really good focus in the game on execution and people doing their job. The effort and toughness was what we need to have success in our league. We are what we are as an identity only if it happens on a continual basis, so you always have the next challenge, the next game. You can look at teams all over the country that have “big wins” and then two weeks later they’re not so happy again. This is something that we need to build on, improve on and learn from so that we can continue to improve as a team, because we have many tough challenges, including the game that we have coming up this week.

“We did have a couple SEC players of the week – Derrick Henry on offense and Calvin Ridley as a freshman. Our players of the week were: (Offense) Derrick HenryJake CokerRyan Kelly and Calvin Ridley. (On) defense: Reggie RaglandA’Shawn Robinson and Eddie Jackson. (On) special teams: Cyrus JonesAdam Griffith and Minkah Fitzpatrick.

“We have a couple of guys that are a little nicked up, and at this time in the season some of those guys may not be able to practice on a Monday, but we expect everybody to be able to come back and practice tomorrow, so we really don’t’ have any big injuries to report.

“Arkansas, to me has a really, really good team. Everybody knows what a physical game it was last year. They have 16 starters back, and I know they have a couple receivers that are injured, but they have four of their offensive linemen back and a really good running back in Alex Collins. Quarterback Brandon Allen has been starting now for three years and is a very, very good player. Their defense is one of the tops against the run in the SEC. Overall, they have played better and better each week. (Head coach) Bret (Bielema) has done a really good job there of creating a lot of toughness, a physical team, to where you really have to have your jaw set to play well against the type of things that they do. They have been a very efficient, effective passing team to go with the great running game. This is going to be a real challenging game. We’re obviously looking forward to getting back home, playing in Bryant-Denny Stadium. I think the focus for us is really on good preparation, good focus when the game comes on execution, getting the kind of effort, toughness and discipline that we need to execute to have success.”

Alabama Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa


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