Special thanks to Bob Holt of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for some insight here into the Hogs. ...
PA: Is there very much anti-Houston fervor still in Arkansas these days?
BOB: I’d say a resounding yes, especially since Ole Miss has beaten Arkansas each of the last two seasons since Nutt became the Rebels’ coach. I don’t believe anyone on either team who says this game doesn’t have extra meaning because of Nutt’s connection to both schools.
PA: What do you believe have been the Razorbacks' primary difficulties in run defense?
BOB: The biggest difficulties have been an inability to tackle Cam Newton, Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson. Newton, Auburn’s quarterback, gashed the Hogs for 188 rushing yards on 25 carries. Ingram was 24-157 and Richardson 8-85. The Auburn and Bama games featured too many missed tackles by the defense. Arkansas also yielded 40 rushing yards to Texas A&M quarterback Jerrod Johnson on eight carries, so with Jeremiah Masoli up next, containing a dual-threat guy has got to be a major concern.
PA: How is Ryan Mallett different or better this year?
BOB: I think that much of the season he’s done a better job of checking down and not forcing as many deep passes, taking what the defense gives up underneath. That’s good strategy given the run-after-catch ability of the Hogs wide receivers and tight end D.J. Williams. But he also has thrown six interceptions in 191 attempts this season compared to seven in 403 attempts last year. He’s not the most mobile of quarterbacks, so pressure from the rush can cause him to lose his footwork and make ill-advised throws. Most of the picks have come on passes over the middle. You also get the idea that with such a strong arm, Mallett always believes he can get the ball through a tight spot. He's often right about that, but not always.
PA: With so much attention on Mallett, are his receivers overshadowed?
BOB: Quarterback is always going to be a glamour position, but I think people are pretty aware of Arkansas receivers such as Greg Childs, Joe Adams and Jarius Wright and tight end D.J. Williams. But one reason no Hog was on the preseason All-SEC coaches first or second teams is that with so many quality receivers, they may draw attention away from each other.