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Arkansas Razorbacks Preview 2022: Previewing, predicting, and looking ahead to the Arkansas season with what you need to know and keys to the season.

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Arkansas Razorbacks Preview
Head Coach: Sam Pittman, 3rd year, 12-11
2021: Overall: 9-4, Conference: 4-4 2021 Preview
Keys To The Season | Season Prediction, What Will Happen
Arkansas Top 10 Players | Arkansas Schedule & Analysis

Arkansas Razorbacks Preview 2022

On a national scale, it really did get lost in the 2021 narrative.

Georgia was the star of the SEC, Alabama was Alabama, Lane Kiffin was Lane Kiffin, Florida was imploding, LSU was crashing, Tennessee was fun, Auburn wasn’t, South Carolina was surprising, Texas A&M and Mississippi State were relatively disappointing, and …

Arkansas won nine games.

It’s the SEC program without the flashy brand name head coach, it didn’t have a huge national superstar, and it got the job done with great line play, solid defense, and with a smart style that worked.

There was one bad performance against Auburn. The other three losses came to Ole Miss (a 52-51 shootout that could’ve gone either way), Alabama (a great gut-check fight to make it 42-35), and Georgia (no shame there).

All that, and remember, winning three games in 2020 against an all-SEC schedule was considered a huge step forward under head coach Sam Pittman. The program won 11 games over four years and hadn’t won more than eight since 2011, and now it appears to be poised and ready to be an even bigger player.

It’s still the SEC West, and the schedule appeared to go out of its way to create unnecessarily dangerous matchups in non-conference play, but this team has the potential to be even better than the 2021 version, even if the final record doesn’t show it

And this time, Arkansas will get the national attention.

Arkansas Razorbacks Preview 2022: Offense

The offense took off under offensive coordinator Kendal Briles, and now it should keep on rolling. In theory, the Arkansas offense works best when the great offensive line is able to control the game and bash away, but the rushing attack is more about open spaces than power.

The Hogs led the SEC in rushing, had the tenth-most efficient passing game in the country, and averaged 442 yards and 31 points per game overall.

KJ Jefferson turned into a star. The 6-3, 245-pound junior was a rushing threat – 664 yards and six scores – hit 67% of his passes, threw 21 touchdowns and just four picks, and now he’s got the experience to blossom and do even more.

The passing game lost Treylon Burks to the Tennessee Titans, but in comes Jadon Haselwood from Oklahoma to go along with a few nice deep threats. Burks was special, but there’s enough talent back to be fine.

The offense line might not be the best in the SEC, but it shouldn’t be too far off. Center Ricky Stromberg and guard Brady Latham are rocks for the ground game, but this group has to be far better in pass protection. There were too many tackles for loss allowed.

Jefferson led the team in rushing, but Raheim Sanders and Dominique Johnson can handle the workload in the rotation. They’re big backs with speed.

Arkansas Razorbacks Preview 2022: Defense

The defense needs to find more of a pass rush, and there were a few games when things just didn’t work, but overall there was a huge improvement under former Missouri head man Barry Odom. The D allowed over 400 yards just four times after giving up that many or more eight times in ten games in 2020 and nine times in 2019.

There wasn’t enough of a pass rush last year, and it doesn’t help to lose the guys who produced it. 245-pound hybrid Zack Williams is the leading returning sacker with just 3.5, but the production will come from all over to let the big front three hold up against the run.

Bumper Pool has the game to go along with the name as one of the SEC’s best all-around linebackers. With Pool combining with Alabama transfer Drew Sanders, the Razorbacks have a good combination to work around.

The Hogs get as many defensive backs on the field as possible – they’ll often work with a 4-2-6 alignment. There might be a few key losses, but the group that helped generate 13 picks last year has a good group returning helped by big-tackler Jalen Catalon coming back after missing half of last year with a shoulder injury.

The transfer portal brings a big boost with Latavious Brini coming in from Georgia to take one safety spot and Dwight McGlothern stepping in from LSU to take over at a corner with Greg Brooks going the other way to Baton Rouge.

Arkansas Offense, Defense Breakdown | Keys To The Season
Season Prediction, What Will Happen | Arkansas Top 10 Players

Arkansas Razorbacks: Keys To The Season, Top Game, Top Transfer, Fun Stats NEXT

Arkansas Razorbacks: Keys To The Season, Top Game, Top Transfer, Fun Stats

Arkansas Razorbacks: Key To The 2022 Offense

Be better on third downs

The Hogs were better after failing to hit 34% on third downs for three years in a row, but the 37% clip of last year wasn’t good enough.

As is this isn’t an offense built to work the clock or win the time of possession battle, and not keeping the chains moving doesn’t help.

Oddly enough, the offense was great on third downs in a few of the bigger losses, but overall it was a struggle to get to 30% on a regular basis.

Arkansas Razorbacks: Key To The 2022 Defense

Generate more of a pass rush

The defense did the job overall with one of its best seasons in years, but there wasn’t quite enough happening in the backfield and now a few new pass rushers have to emerge.

It’s all a bit nitpicky – Arkansas hasn’t cranked up the pass rush in years, and the 25 sacks last year were a lot for the program – but to take that extra step up, being more disruptive would be nice.

The Hogs were fine early, but they went through a rough dry spell of three games without a sack and managed two or fewer seven times. They were hardly awful, but with a slew of big passing games and great quarterbacks on the slate, they have to get more pressure.

Arkansas Razorbacks: Key Player To The 2022 Season

OT Jalen St. John, Soph.
Having a big, tough QB like KJ Jefferson leads to a slew of sacks and tackles for loss – he’s able to extend plays and doesn’t get the ball out all that quickly sometimes – but the line still has to be stronger at holding up against the pass rushers.

Having problems against Alabama and Georgia isn’t anything to get into a twist over, but the line allowed three or more sacks in seven of the last nine games and seven tackles for loss or more eight times.

The line will be outstanding. There’s a great combination of size, experience, and talent, but the emergence of St. John at left tackle allows everything else to work.

For more on Arkansas football, check out Razorbacks Wire

Arkansas Razorbacks: Key Transfer

WR Jadon Haselwood, Jr.
There are plenty of options for the top transfer honor. Landon Jackson was a key get from LSU for the defensive front, there are a few nice gets for the secondary, but Treylon Burks caught 66 passes last season and the leading returning target caught 20.

The offense needs Haselwood – an Oklahoma transfer who caught 62 passes for 736 yards and seven touchdowns in his three years – needs to be a No. 1 guy who can play up to the immense prep hype.

Arkansas Key Game To The 2022 Season

Texas A&M (in Arlington) Sept. 24
Alabama is going to be the star of the SEC West show again, and that’s coming up right after Arkansas gets Texas A&M in AT&T Stadium. At least that’s at home.

Technically, the Hogs don’t play a road game until October 8th, and most of them are going to be a problem. Most of the home dates aren’t a breeze, either.

They shocked the Aggies in a 20-10 win last year, and that turned out to be a must with three straight losses to follow. Again, with Bama up next, win, or any dream of pushing for the SEC West are likely done before October.

Arkansas Razorbacks: 2021 Fun Stats

– Arkansas points allowed: 1st quarter: 34. 2nd quarter: 105
– Penalties: Arkansas 103 for 820 yards – Opponents 64 for 615 yards
– Fumbles: Arkansas 22 (lost 6) – Opponents 12 (lost 3)

O, D Breakdown | Season Prediction, What Will Happen
Arkansas Top 10 Players | Arkansas Schedule & Analysis

Arkansas Razorbacks Season Prediction, What Will Happen NEXT

Arkansas Razorbacks Season Prediction, What Will Happen

Arkansas wasn’t supposed to beat Texas last year, and it did.

It wasn’t supposed to beat Texas A&M, and it did.

It wasn’t supposed to be a factor, and it won nine games in a wonderful year. So don’t take anything for granted with this rising program with a whole lot of positives. strong lines, a great coaching staff, and enough star power to make this a fantastic season.

But even with the high-powered rushing offense and a defense that should take another big step forward after a strong 2021, it’s going to be a tough run with way too many nasty games. So…

Set The Arkansas Razorbacks Regular Season Win Total At… 7.5

Would it be a total shocker if Arkansas won at home over Bama? No. They don’t have to deal with LSU or Ole Miss on the road, Texas A&M is a neutral site game, and …

There are still a whole lot of tough outs.

Cincinnati isn’t the team of last year, but it’s going to come into the opener with a chip on its shoulder. South Carolina is improved, going to BYU is nasty, going to Auburn won’t be fun, and closing out at Missouri isn’t going to be a breeze.

Will Arkansas win most of those games? Absolutely. But there are just too many landmines to sidestep.

The team will be better than the 2021 version, but the record won’t be.

Arkansas Offense, Defense Breakdown | Keys To The Season
Arkansas Top 10 Players | Arkansas Schedule & Analysis

– 2022 College Football Schedules: All 131 Teams

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