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The view from the Ozarks: Joe Razorback surveys Auburn

October 9, 2009

Although this idea is partially “borrowed” from other bloggers, what makes Joe Auburn’s unique is question #7. A big warm, welcoming shout out to Mr. Simants of Fayetteville, Arkansas, aka for this post, “Joe Razorback.” Do yourself a favor and follow him on Twitter and read his blog. Joe Razorback is currently pursuing his PhD while looking after, and loving his family and is a fellow appreciatour* of fine wine, beer and spirits. Enjoy….

1. What jumps out at Auburn fans is how explosive your offense really is. The Razorbacks have scored at least 40 points in three of their four games, are seventh in the nation in pass offense (329 yards per game), 17th in scoring offense (35.8 points per game) and 18th in total offense (441 yards per game). Considering the offensive rankings both teams have to date, how high-flying an affair is the typical ‘Hawgs fan expecting?

Wasting no time getting to the point, are we? Hog fans are a die-hard, easily forgiving and forgetting bunch of folks. No matter how well (or otherwise) the boys may play the previous week, we always think the next week will be a big win. Stop a Hog fan on the street, ask how badly we’ll beat Auburn and you’ll undoubtedly (regardless what stats might show) respond, “By forty or so.”

This should be a big offensive battle. It shouldn’t surprise anyone for each team to put up BIG days in both the passing and rushing categories. What probably scares Tiger fans is the depth of your defense. On the red side of the ball, we have the same worries about our defense. We could see a combined score of 75 or more, and a combined total yardage edging close to 1000.

Now, realistically, if the Hog defense is fired up, this could be a good game.

2. Honestly, what do you think of Bobby Petrino? The coach, the man…..

So far, Bobby Petrino is doing what we wanted him to do. He’s taken the lethargy out of the offense. He’s bringing in decent recruiting classes (that’s the key thing to remember, we’re a relatively young team). Most importantly he’s brought discipline to the team. Not necessarily, “sit your butt down, you’re grounded” type of discipline, but more of a let’s work hard, work often and learn how to play football.

Now, Willy Robinson is a different story.

3. All of us Orange and Blue Tigers were pulling for you against the University of Alabama-Tuscaloosa. What the hell happened?

SEC Referees. (Really, did any of them graduate from Arkansas?)

Have I mentioned Willy Robinson?

Seriously, ‘Bama figured out how to stop Mallett. He went 12-35 for 160 yards. Prior to the Alabama game (?) he had led the nation in passing efficiency. Alabama held us to 254 total yards (which as you pointed out in your initial question we’re averaging 441 yards per game). We also managed to hurt ourselves (or by the SEC Refs) in penalties (11 for 98 yards). Finally, we couldn’t convert on 3rd down (2-14).

4. What about this Arkansas team keeps you up at night?

Willy Robinson.

Radio talk shows on the Sunday morning following the ‘Bama game, were calling for his head. Fans on Twitter throughout the game, were calling for him to go work for Nutt.

The defense is our biggest concern. The offense is beginning to click. Mallett is throwing well, receivers are catching well, and we have a running game. We tend to beat ourselves on defense.

And penalties. There are bloggers, Twitterers, Facebookers and Radio Hosts that question if the referees didn’t get a speeding ticket from the Campus Police on the way to the game, and have a bone to pick. Seriously, though, we have a good amount of youth on our team (29 true freshmen, 12 redshirt freshmen, and 14 seniors or redshirt seniors). And we all know how youth tend to make mistakes.

5. Quarterback Ryan Mallett leads the SEC in passing yards and receivers Joe Adams and Jarius Wright are second and third, respectively, in receiving yards per game. Where is the typical Razorback running game and who should we be committing to memory?

Average rushing yards are 112 per game (4 per carry). This ain’t the D-Mac Wild-Razorback-Hawgs anymore. Two rushers to watch for: Smith and Wingo. Smith is the starter averaging 45 yards per game with 6 yards per carry. Wingo is averaging 37 yards per game and 9 yards per carry. Both are capable of the big run.

You should also keep an eye on Dennis Johnson on the kickoff returns. He’s averaging 29 yards per return and has scored a touchdown on one 91 yard return.

6. Auburn has won four of the last six games in the series. The road team has won the last four contests and six of the last seven. However, most Auburn fans will tell you we always felt Tuberville was “snake-bit” by the ‘Hawgs and when he lost it was ugly. What’s your final score prediction and any notable predictions on either side of the ball?

Auburn is 5-0, but you have only played 1 game on the road. You’re coming into Fayetteville primed to get beat, yet not sure our boys will be the team to do it. Tigers are coming in with the 5th ranked offense in the NCAA. As mentioned earlier, Arkansas is struggling on defense, but so is Auburn. Mallett will have a big throwing game. Razorbacks (especially defense) will give up a good number of penalty yards. And while both offenses will be putting up big numbers, Auburn will pull it out 45-35 after trailing at the half.

7. The last time Joe Auburn was in Fayetteville, there was a freak snow storm and I got to see the crowds fight for blankets, gloves and other cold weather gear at guess what? Wal-Mart. For the Tigers who make the road trip with the team, what are your recommendations for dining, drinking and nightlife?

Bring your Tiger sweatshirts. Gametime should be a nice day in the mid-fifties, and there’s almost always a nice breeze in the Ozarks. In the evening, you’ll see temps in the mid-forties. No snow this year. We hope.

For nightlife, drinking and food, two words: Dickson Street. My personal favorite on the street is the Hog Haus Brewing Company. Good food and fresh brewed beer. Great ambiance, and plenty of TVs to catch all the other Saturday games. Have the Curly Tail Ale, or for a real Hawg-mally brew the Stout Stout. All along the street, though, you will find bars, dining establishments and nightclubs.

For Sunday breakfast, go back to the Square and find Uncle Gaylord’s Mountain Cafe (have the Blueberry pancakes).

Enjoy the Ozarks, and GO HOGS!

Many, many thanks Mr. Joe Razorback 😉

*totally made up word, ok?

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