OPINION | WALLY HALL: Aggies staff handled Hogs’ predictable offense

One of the first things Sam Pittman said when he became the head coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks was he was going to hire an assistant who had head coaching experience.

He hired former Missouri Coach Barry Odom who left last season to become the head coach at UNLV. He is 4-1 and the only loss was to No. 2 Michigan.

This is not about defensive coordinators, in fact, Travis Williams has done a really good job with Arkansas' defense.

No one is complaining about the defense.

Yet, Texas A&M had Jimbo Fisher, who is in his 14th season as a head coach, also has on staff offensive coordinator Bobby Petrino, who has 13 years of experience as a head coach at a Power 5 school and defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin who was the head coach at Maryland for two years.

There may be a reason Alabama's Nick Saban hires former head coaches as analysts other than to clear their name.

In July, Fisher was asked about Petrino calling the offensive plays and he said every coach on his staff had input.

Durkin has been a defensive coordinator at Florida and Michigan and a defensive coach his entire career, so he apparently needed just one quarter to figure out how to stop the Arkansas Razorbacks, who had a total of 174 yards of offense.

The Razorbacks were pretty predictable on offense.

They had 18 first downs, eight to start possessions and 10 earned by moving the ball. Twice they passed on first down.

Of the 56 plays they ran only 17 were passes.

Smash mouth football in the SEC didn't work for Bret Bielema and it isn't working now.

Having an idea of what the Hogs were going to try and run gave the defense so much of an advantage they had 15 tackles for losses including seven sacks.

It is extremely difficult for any player to gain yardage on their back in their backfield.

The Aggies spent almost as much time in Arkansas' backfield as Razorback running back Raheim "Rocket" Sanders.

In addition to the 15 tackles for loss (almost 27% of total plays run), Arkansas was tackled another 10 times after gains of two yards or less and it had a completion for minus two yards.

The 174 yards was the second least in Pittman's 24 games as Arkansas' head coach. The worst was 162 against Georgia in 2021 when the Bulldogs were on their way to the first of two consecutive national championships.

While most of the complaining among the fans, judging by emails, texts and call-ins to radio shows is still the going for it on fourth-and-1 out of the shotgun instead doing a quarterback sneak which is successful 79% of the time.

Arkansas has converted one of four fourth-down attempts this season. All attempts were from the shotgun so logic and analytics would say don't run out of the shotgun on fourth-and-1.

Last Monday, Pittman said they were going to work on cutting down on penalties and they did a great job of that as they had zero penalties.

This week he knows what they need to work on.

The fans deserve better offensively than what they got last week, and for most it was an expensive weekend.

The Razorbacks came out hard and fast last Saturday, getting 107 yards and nine first downs, but Durkin figured it out quickly and the Razorbacks had 17 yards in the second quarter with no first downs, followed by 27 yards and no first downs and 23 yards and one first down.

In the final quarter the Razorbacks ran 11 plays and six were for minus yards, although with 3:53 KJ Jefferson passed 48 yards to Andrew Armstrong to make the score closer than the game really was.

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