Andy Hodges

Weather kills Arkansas’ shot at momentum with end to spring drills

The annual Red-White game always provides a chance to end spring practice with a lot of momentum headed into the summer. Arkansas didn’t get that, thanks to the weather.


The buzz these days about Razorback football is, well, kinda low. There’s more excitement on the live cam at Razorback Stadium on the construction that anything else.

Blame it on the weather.

While spring games don’t usually reveal a whole lot about a team anymore, they do provide an event where fans can get a spring fix for their football enthusiasm.

When the weather forecasts (correctly, as it turned out) called for lots of rain and other nasty stuff on Saturday, you got the feeling it would end the spring with a thud.

In a spring that hasn’t had a lot of excitement, the coaches spent most of it putting in a new defense. You wondered when the coaches would figure out a 3-4 would be a better option for the talent level of players Arkansas gets than the 4-3.

Of course, now that has to translate into games on Saturday, but you get the idea it’s a better option from a scheme standpoint.

We’ve heard repeatedly from the players and coaches how well installing the new defense is going, which isn’t surprising, either. Tell me the last time you heard a coach or player talk about having a bad spring practice.

No, everything is great in the spring.

That will continue into the fall, although we may have a better idea of this team early in Week 2 against TCU. The Horned Frogs are being picked by some at the fringe of breaking into the Top 25.

But the game Bret Bielema just about HAS to win is Texas A&M in Week 4 after an early bye week following the TCU game.

For Arkansas to have any type of success this season, they have to figure out a way to beat the Aggies. There is a path for this team to be 5-0 going to Tuscaloosa in mid-October. A&M and TCU appear to be the only real tests.

After that, though, it’s going to be a grind with no weeks off (unless you count a practice game against Coastal Carolina to start November).

In a league where the Crimson Tide (of course), Auburn and LSU will be the favorites in the West. Mississippi State is being projected as a fringe Top 25 team and Ole Miss is looking to put an end to three straight losses when they had better personnel.

Assuming Hugh Freeze is still the coach by the time the two teams meet at the end of October, he’ll have the Rebels ready for the Hogs. He’s admitted being embarrassed over the losses.

But bigger than that, everyone is hung up on the NCAA issues, thinking that’s going to have an effect. It will, but not in 2017. Ole Miss redshirted half of the No. 5 recruiting class in the country in 2016. Don’t count that as a guaranteed win.

We didn’t really see anything in the spring that gives a clear picture of this team. Oh, we heard the usual about Bielema wanting to run the football (who doesn’t) and the defense will be better in the 3-4 (it should).

But we don’t know.

And with Rawleigh Williams’ status up in the air right now, we may not know for awhile.

It will be an interesting summer with speculation all over the map surrounding this team.

Hopefully, there will be some momentum gained from somewhere.

We didn’t get it with a big spring weekend.

Which can only be blamed on the weather.

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