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Know Thine Enemy: Arkansas Razorbacks

Hearing how the Arkansas side feels as we all head to Arlington

NCAA Football: Texas A&M at Arkansas Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Texas A&M looks to start 2-0 in SEC play for the first time under Jimbo Fisher as they travel to AT&T Stadium for our annual tussle with the Arkansas Razorbacks. While this isn’t a necessarily a season-defining game, it does feel like it will further solidify the SEC pecking order as the puzzle that is the 2023 season continues to take shape..

To get a feel for how they’re feeling on the Arkansas side of the fence, we had Jacob Davis of SI’s All Hogs answer a few of our questions. Enjoy.

On a scale of 1 to apoplectic, how frustrating has this A&M series been for y’all? It seems every game is insanely close, despite the lopsided W-L record in recent years.

It’s been a complete 10. How on earth can a team lose so many close games over the past decade with just one victory to show for it?

Hog fans are frustrated and ready for a win in the series again.

Now in year four of the Sam Pittman era, what is the fanbase’s opinion for the future outlook of his tenure?

The future looks great with him as the leader. He’s assembled a terrific staff that is recruiting at a very high level. Despite losing close games — 4-12 over the past four seasons — it seems time for a breakthrough. For a confidence level, a victory this weekend would do wonders.

What has the new offense looked like so far for the Hogs?

The offense has been a struggle so far. However, they really came into their own during the LSU game. KJ played more like himself with an offense predicated on the RPO. If they can continue building off the performance last week, good luck with anybody stopping them.

Outside of KJ Jefferson and Rocket Sanders, who are some names we need to know from the Arkansas squad?

A couple other guys that you need to know for this game is (RB) Rashad Dubenion. He’s been excellent over the past couple of weeks being able to extend please for first downs running hard and very physical. Another guy that’s really coming along is Andrew Armstrong, who was a former wide receiver at Texas A&M commerce. He had a excellent first half against LSU, but then kind of faded away. On the defensive in the side of the ball, standout linebacker transferred from Cincinnati Jaheim Thomas has been excellent to lead the way again for the fourth consecutive week in tackles for the Razorbacks with 13. He has been one of the guys that provides heavy pressure and can help stir the running game more efficiently than any other linebacker on the team.

Obviously two straight losses isn’t what y’all had in mind, but what’s the pulse of the fans going into this game? Is there optimism for a turnaround?

As far as a turnaround goes for the football team, the pulse around the fans is a little bit of mild optimism. I don’t know if you can consider it that. But they seem to be cautious while clinging onto the hope of a close game against LSU. With this being a rivalry game, and so many other factors playing in this, I think fans are ready to see them not blow an opportunity. Fans want to see this team succeed and beat Texas A&M this weekend.

A third of the way through the season, what would you say is this team’s biggest strength and biggest weakness?

The biggest strength for this team has been the defense of line in their ability to get constant pressure outside of the other 15 quarters that this team has played. In the fourth quarter they weren’t able to get any kind of pressure on Jayden Daniels. But that was a lot due to the Tigers and Jayden Daniels finding opportunities to get the ball out quicker and stay away from pressure

As for the weakness of this team, it’s been penalties. Arkansas has been one of the most penalized team in the country. They’ve gone back-to-back weeks with double digit penalties: 11 against LSU at 14 against BYU. These penalties are literally costing them games. Until they get that fixed they will continue to falter in the win column.

Alright, give me your game prediction.

I’m really feeling good about this game but there’s a lot of internal factors including Bobby Petrino and him probably have a chip on his shoulder. Is he going to play a huge role in the offensive success on Saturday?

Right now I’m thinking Texas A&M — with history on their side — wins on Saturday 28 to 27.

Thanks, Jacob, for taking the time to talk to us. Good luck the rest of the way (after Saturday, of course). BTHO arkansas!