After six games against spread offenses, up-tempo attacks and Georgia State, Alabama finally matches up with a team that plays its brand of football.
Arkansas had a great start to the season, winning its first three games against a murderous lineup of UL-Lafayette, Samford and Southern Miss. But once the Razorbacks started playing teams that were decently adept at football, they unfurled with four straight losses to Rutgers, Texas A&M, Florida and South Carolina. But even though the Razorbacks are trying to stop the downward spiral, Alabama’s head coach Nick Saban has been piling on the compliments this week.
“I think Arkansas is one of the most challenging teams that we’ve played this year, especially in their ability to run the ball,” Saban said. “It doesn’t matter who their opponent has been and what they’ve tried to do, they have been able to run the ball effectively on each and every team that they’ve played.”
While Arkansas does average 216 rushing yards per game – the 24th-ranked rushing game in the country – the rest of its team is lacking the continuity of previous years. The run first, run second, run always style of play under new head coach Bret Bielema also fits right into Alabama’s defensive standard preparation: The Crimson Tide’s defense practices against the best slow and steady offensive attack in the country every day in practice – their own.