With an upcoming out of conference game approaching this Saturday when Rutgers travels to Fayetteville, Arkansas to take on the SEC opponent, DoubleGSports.com reached out to one of the top bloggers covering the Razorbacks to ask a few questions about the matchup. Doc Harper runs the website called Arkansas Expats and can be found and followed on Twitter @doc_harper. Take a look and see what Doc had to say about the upcoming game between Rutgers and Arkansas.
DoubleGSports: It’s been a disappointing start to the season for the Razorbacks. Do you feel this is a team that can turn it around, or has the coach already lost the players?
Doc: The great hope is that when/if Tyler Wilson returns, things will get back to normal. Fans are hoping he’ll play Saturday but he hasn’t been cleared yet. The coaches may have lost the players but Wilson hasn’t. The coaches have even deemed Wilson the team spokesman, which is really kind of sad. But hopefully, Wilson will get healthy and be ready to go.
DoubleGSports: With Rutgers coming in, do you feel confident the Razorbacks will get back on the winning track this week?
Doc: Nobody in Arkansas feels confident right now. Could Arkansas win? Sure. A big complaint a lot of fans have been having is that our running backs haven’t gotten the ball enough, especially with Wilson out. It will be interesting to see how that plays out.
DoubleGSports: What part of Rutgers game worries Arkansas fans the most?
Doc: It’s hard to pick just one. You have to understand, in the last 5 1/2 quarters, not counting the overtime period, Arkansas has been outscored 73-0. Nothing is going right at the moment. That’s why fans are clinging to the return of Tyler Wilson as a ray of hope. I would say the defense in particular is a concern, just because the last few years, that’s what always has been the concern here.
DoubleGSports: Is there an area of the game/field that you feel Arkansas can dominate Rutgers?
Doc: Arkansas can dominate almost anybody on offense when things are normal. Of course, things have hardly been normal the last two weeks, but the talent is there, or so we think.
DoubleGSports: Rutgers secondary has been thought highly of. Arkansas has been a passing team. Can that continue or do you feel the Razorbacks will need a balanced attack in this game?
Doc: Arkansas has a very solid pair of running backs in Dennis Johnson and Knile Davis. The question is whether or not they’ll get the ball enough to be balanced. If Arkansas can run the ball successfully, they should be very dangerous. The Razorbacks do have some talented receivers, and when our backup quarterback Brandon Allen has had time, he’s done okay. Our offensive line has rarely given him that much time though.
DoubleGSports: What traditions surround Arkansas football, whether it be a team thing or something the fans do?
Doc: The thing we’re most famous for is the Hog Call. That’s our “Wooo Pig Sooie!” cheer. It’s done three times in succession and finished with “Razorbacks!” That will happen throughout the game. Like most SEC schools, we have a “Hog Walk” where the team walks through the fans into the stadium a few hours before the game. The band does a field-length “Go Hogs!” spell-out at halftime. The tailgating along Razorback Road is usually pretty solid, but we’ll see how strong it is after what the fan base has been through the last couple of weeks.
DoubleGSports: For visiting Rutgers fans, what would you suggest they do during their visit to Fayetteville?
Doc: Understand that Fayetteville is a small SEC college town nestled into the hills of the Ozarks, so if you plan on walking around, wear comfortable shoes because it’s not flat anywhere. It is a very nice campus to take a stroll through. Dickson Street is the main entertainment district in town where all the bars, clubs, and many restaurants are located and that’s immediately east of campus. The town square has a pretty neat vibe with a lot of local shops and restaurants. If you’re in town long enough and want to do something not very football-y, 20 miles north of town is Bentonville, home of Walmart and the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. It just opened less than a year ago and it’s quickly become a world-renowned art museum. It’s something Northwest Arkansas is very proud of.
DoubleGSports: When you think Rutgers football, what comes to mind?
Doc: For me, I think of the 2006 season, particularly the defeat of the Bobby Petrino-led Louisville team. I remember how much excitement there was then, even the Empire State Building lit up in red at one point.
DoubleGSports: Do you have a game prediction you would like to share?
Doc: Honestly, this game is so petrifying to me. Even when everyone thought Arkansas would be good I thought it had strong trap game potential. The cliche everyone is sprouting is that Arkansas wins if Wilson plays and loses if he doesn’t. I’m going to say Arkansas gets it together regardless and is able to pull it out. But not by much. It should be entertaining.