Arkansas Report Card From Kentucky Loss

The Morning News/Razorback Central
Posted Sep 23, 2007


Quarterbacks — C- Arkansas can’t stretch the field. The Razorbacks are faced with eight- and nine-man fronts at times because they haven’t shown a consistent downfield passing game.

This problem rests at the feet of starting quarterback Casey Dick. He completed just 13 of his 25 passes for 157 yards and two interceptions. Dick had his moments. He nailed D.J. Williams and Peyton Hillis with perfect passes for 26-yard gains. But he underthrew Reggie Fish badly for one of the picks and threw too high for Lucas Miller on the other.



Running Backs — B+

Darren McFadden had another Heisman worthy performance — 29 carries, 173 yards, one touchdown. Felix Jones also was impressive with 133 yards on 12 carries and a kick return for a touchdown. This unit’s grade gets docked a bit, however, because of Michael Smith’s costly second-quarter fumble, and its collective inability to break runs in the second half.



Wide Receivers — D

Not one of them caught more than one pass Saturday night. No one got much separation from Kentucky’s defensive backs, and Miller dropped a couple of key passes. Arkansas coach Houston Nutt said Saturday’s game proved how much the Hogs missed Marcus Monk. “We’d be 3-0 if we had him,” Nutt said confidently.



Offensive Line — B

It really was a tale of two halves for Arkansas’ blockers up front. They manhandled Kentucky in the first half. Arkansas rushed for 207 yards in the second quarter alone behind the likes of Jonathan Luigs and Robert Felton. But in the second half, the holes they opened got smaller. They did, for the third straight game, protect Dick well. He was sacked just once by Kentucky.



Defensive Line — C+

Might as well have the same tale apply to Arkansas’ other line. Kentucky’s running game was nonexistent in the first half. Kentucky mustered just eight rushing yards in the first 30 minutes. Plus, Malcolm Sheppard forced a fumble that Antwain Robinson scooped up for a touchdown early in the first quarter. But in the second half, four different running backs torched the Razorbacks for 162 rushing yards.



Linebackers — D

Their performance had just as much to do with Kentucky’s second-half ground game. All three of Arkansas’ starters — Weston Dacus, Freddie Fairchild and Ryan Powers — struggled to tackle consistently. They combined to make only 15 tackles. Dacus went out with a concussion in the second half.



Secondary — D+

It wasn’t as bad as last week. But it was close. The flaws of Arkansas’ secondary were exposed in the fourth quarter as Kentucky rallied. Michael Grant performed well in his first start at cornerback, and Kevin Woods filled in admirably at free safety. But Woods was slow to recover on a few key pass plays. Matterral Richardson couldn’t keep up with whichever receiver he lined up across for most of the night.



Specials Teams — B+

Felix Jones tied a Southeastern Conference record with his fourth career kickoff return for a touchdown, an 82 yarder that put Arkansas up 29-21 early in the final quarter. Alex Tejada booted a 40-yard field goal, remaining perfect on the season on field-goal tries. And Jerell Norton and Rashaad Johnson forced a key fumble on a Kentucky kickoff. Jeremy Davis was the only special ,teams performer to have an off night. Three of Davis’ seven punts went for touchbacks. He finished with a net average of only 27.6 yards per punt.



Coaching — D

For the second straight week, fans griped about the Razorback coaches. They even rained boos down from the Reynolds Razorback Stadium stands. Arkansas had no answer in the second half and failed to adapt to Kentucky’s adjustments or make ample adjustments itself. Arkansas’ defensive coaches surely are under more fire than the offensive ones. Nutt’s decisions to pass up long field-goal attempts also drew ire, and they twice backfired when Davis punted through the end zone.


Related Stories
Quarterbacks — C
 -by HawgsIllustrated.com  Oct 17, 2007
Nathan Dick Demoted To No. 3 Quarterback
 -by HawgsIllustrated.com  Aug 28, 2007
Jones Listed As Questionable
 -by HawgsIllustrated.com  Nov 11, 2007

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