SEC Country reporter Eric W. Bolin will candidly answer your Arkansas Razorbacks sports queries each weekday in our Mailbag Question of the Day. Join the conversation by sending your questions via Twitter to @SECCountryHogs or by email to Eric at email@example.com.
Question of the Day: Thursday, March 15, 2018
This is going to sound like a waffle, like a non-answer, but it isn’t intended to be. The truth is in between. Arkansas’ first-year coach Chad Morris and offensive coordinator Joe Craddock know what they are doing offensively. The offense should be more appealing to the eye immediately.
The eye test, however, is out of fashion. Analytics. Efficiency. Those things matter. Whether a team goes at a snail’s pace or at a ludicrous speed, the numbers can be adjusted to pace. So it isn’t as simple as an up-tempo offense being “better” than former coach Bret Bielema’s more methodical pace.
What is helpful is that Bielema and offensive coordinator Dan Enos, did, at times, go with a faster pace. Mostly it worked. Sometimes it didn’t. Quarterback Cole Kelley flourished with a quicker style. It fit his gunslinger mentality, but it had its drawbacks. As to whether Kelley will be the man to run the offense in 2018 is to be determined. He and Ty Storey are splitting reps this spring. Kelley is the physical specimen, Storey the more analytical. At least, that’s the stereotype, and honestly, it applies.
The biggest question about whether the adjustment takes forever or happens this year is the offensive line. It isn’t that they were ill-prepared for a certain pace the last two years, but something was definitely out of whack. It’s been discussed time and again, but the thing is, no one is sure just what the problem was.
A lot of people point to former offensive line coach Kurt Anderson, who was not well-liked by the fan base. Anderson could have been the biggest problem. Or not. His zone-blocking scheme was the opposite of what Arkansas had been used to, and Bielema didn’t recruit zone-blocking players. That adjustment is massive, offensive line gurus will tell you. Even those who pretend to know what they’re talking about say that, too.
It’s possible, though, it wasn’t Anderson. It’s possible it’s the talent level. Hjalte Froholdt is an All-SEC offensive lineman, but is there anyone else who scares there? Brian Wallace looks intimidating, and he’s our choice for breakout player on the line but is far from proven.
So, yes, the answer splits the baby a bit, but it’s the best that be gleaned right now.
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