This week’s Auburn-Arkansas game has a number of good subplots to watch. Regardless of the score, when these two teams get together it’s always a physical battle. With Florida waiting in the wings a week from Saturday, Auburn must get the job done and stay healthy at the same time. That might be asking a lot. When watching on Saturday look for these things:
- Arkansas has only given up four sacks all season. Their offensive line is huge. Razorback quarterback Mitch Mustain doesn’t have near the mobility of South Carolina’s Syvelle Newton. Look for defensive coordinator Will Muschamp to blitz early and often. Look for that sack total to increase like the Dow Jones this week.
- Darren McFadden is the best running back Auburn will face all year. And he’s the fastest. This guy loves to run around the ends. It’s imperative that Auburn shut down the outside and force him to the middle. The success they have doing this will go a long way in determining the outcome of the game.
- Watch back-up center Jason Bosley closely – especially early. Bosley is stepping in for the injured Joe Cope and Arkansas will be keying on him from the start. Tommy Tuberville and Al Borges have spent all week hyping him and praising his work ethic and intelligence. On Saturday it will probably come down to brute strength.
- Suspended linebacker Kevin Sears should see considerable action this week. It will be interesting to see how the long layoff has affected him. He will be vital to the defense’s success as the year progresses and depth becomes more of an issue. Let’s hope he picks up where he left off last season.
- Jonathan Wilhite returns to his corner position and not a second too soon. South Carolina exploited his absence last week and Auburn is a different team when he’s in the line-up. Many thought he would play last week, but was held out. The word is, he’s 100% and ready to go. With Wilhite back, look for the blitzing Muschamp to return.
- Can the running game stay on track? This is the time of year when Kenny Irons usually kicks it into high gear. With the Tiger receivers showing some life last week, that should open up the run more for Irons. Let’s hope that Ben Tate also gets some carries. It looks like he’s the real deal.