Connor Lane, sports editor at The Arkansas Traveler, answered a few questions from The Auburn Plainsman ahead of Auburn’s matchup with Arkansas this Saturday.
1. Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema announced earlier this week that Arkansas quarterback Austin Allen will miss the Auburn game due to an injury. Can you give us a scouting report on backup quarterback Cole Kelley?
When the depth chart was released and showed Austin Allen as our QB1, I couldn’t help but be a bit disappointed. Allen is in his last year with Arkansas, and, thus far, he’s been very disappointing. Cole Kelley has more of a future here, and I believe he’s the better option right now. He’s obviously big and he can throw the ball well. He’s a solid quarterback with a decent bit of upside going forward.
2. It has been a rough start in SEC play for the Razorbacks, what has gone wrong so far?
What hasn’t gone wrong so far? The secondary allows most offenses to score at will, the offensive line is an open door and the overall talent level on both sides of the ball is desperately lacking.
3. Arkansas has allowed at least 41 points through its first three SEC games, what has to change on the defensive side of the ball for the Hogs?
What would have to change is the entire secondary would have to mature overnight. Kamren Curl shows flashes of brilliance, but he’s still just a freshman on a weak defense. Defensive coordinator Paul Rhoads can turn up the pressure and force the defensive line to put the necessary pressure on opposing quarterbacks, but more often than not, someone is going to be open for a quick pass when that happens. It’s really a rock and a hard place situation.
4. Who are some playmakers for Arkansas on both sides of the ball that Auburn fans should know about?
On defense, you have Dre Greenlaw, linebacker, Henre’ Toliver, DB, and Kevin Richardson II, DB. Richardson just got the first pick off of Jalen Hurts all season last week. All three of these players can alter the outcome of a game.
On offense, you have Chase Hayden and Jonathan Nance. Both are the Hogs’ most successful offensive weapons. The leading rusher on the team is Hayden. He’s a speedy RB with an impressive array of moves that he loves putting on anyone and everyone. Nance is the team’s leading receiver, and the one word that comes to mind with him is speed. He goes long, he gets there fast and he gets open.
5. What should Auburn fans expect when they travel to Fayetteville this weekend?
Expect a rowdy crowd. Razorback fans get wild in Fayetteville. Expect it to be loud - win or lose, rain or shine.
6. Score prediction?
35-17 Auburn. The Tigers are going to be playing angry after being embarrassed by LSU last weekend. The Razorbacks are looking at a team that could very easily put them at 0-4 in the SEC if they make mistakes. I bet there will be a mistake or two.