A few observations from last weekend's third-tier SEC TV game of the week, Alabama's annihilation of the Hogs...
A summary of Alabama's seven (7!) touchdowns:
1yd TD run
87yd TD run
63yd INT return (TD)
25yd TD run
74yd INT return (TD)
31yd TD run
62yd TD run
Notice a pattern here? Basically, whenever 'Bama's backs weren't running through pitiful attempts at arm tackling by the Arkansas defense for massive, breakaway touchdowns, the secondary was pouncing on Casey Dick's every attempt to throw a 10-yard out. Actually, the game was a little closer than the final score (49-14) would indicate. Alabama played really well and took maximum advantage of seemingly every little Arkansas mistake (that team is loaded with playmakers and will be scary good next year).
Dick was 20 of 39 for 190 yards with one TD and three interceptions. At times, he looked like a redshirt freshman instead of a redshirt senior in the face of Alabama's relentless rush. Then when he did manage to get the ball off in time, his receivers would often run the wrong route, as was the case on the first interception return for a TD.
On the whole, Arkansas looked undisciplined, out of shape (as compared to Alabama's physical specimens), and completely overmatched at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. Like any Petrino team, they had some well-designed screens and crossing routes for their slot receivers, and Dick can play action fake like a pro.
There were two bright spots for the Hogs that we must pay attention to next week:
Running back Michael Smith had 19 carries for 91 yards and 6 receptions for 67 yards. He led the team in both categories and was pretty much "it" for the Arkansas offense. He's not as big as Darren McFadden and not as fast as Felix Jones, but he's got a low center of gravity and seems to have really good vision and cutback ability.
Kickoff returner Dennis Johnson (who got a lot of work in on the day) had only a 23.4 yard average (6 returns, 142 yards), but it seemed like every time I turned around he was moving the ball up near the 45 yard line. He came very close to breaking two returns for touchdowns.