The 2016 season for the Arkansas Razorbacks could be construed as a step back or a building block going forward, depending on one’s outlook. The Hogs went 7-6, but very easily could have wound up 9-4, which would have been impressive considering they reside in the SEC West. But all the breaks and bounces did not go their way, and instead head coach Bret Bielema, the staff and players are using spring practices to install a new defense that will hopefully pay dividends in the fall.
The offense is in good hands with junior Austin Allen, the SEC’s leading passer in 2016, at quarterback, and Rawleigh Williams, the No. 2 rusher last season, leading the way on the ground. The defense, however, was a different story, as a unit that returned nine starters struggled mightily against the run (205.5 ypg, 90th in FBS) and couldn’t stop conference foes from scoring (37.3 ppg in SEC games).
Even with the struggles of last season, Arkansas has the pieces to be a surprise team this fall. Life in the SEC West is never easy, but the Razorbacks do catch some breaks on their schedule, which they will need to take advantage of or it could be another 8-5 or 7-6 type of season for Bielema’s charges.
2017 Arkansas Razorbacks Schedule
Bye: Week 3
— Written by Ryan Wright, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and an established media professional with more than two decades' worth of experience. Over the years, Wright has written for numerous sites and publications and he has his own recruiting site, www.recruitingnewsguru.com. Follow him on Twitter @RyanWrightRNG.