Things didn’t go to plan for Arkansas in 2017 with a 4-8 record and that’s why everything is new for the upcoming season. Chad Morris makes the jump to the big time after a few years at SMU and serving as Clemson’s offensive coordinator before that. He brings in SEC veteran John Chavis to run a defense that didn’t do many things right last season. Odds are long for them to have success as they are projected to finish last in the SEC West at 5Dimes Sportsbook and were +50000 in the spring to win everything.
The offense will look a lot different under Morris, who brings in his modified spread. After spring ball, it was still a toss-up at quarterback between Cole Kelley (struggled in limited time last season) and Ty Storey. Both of them split time in the spring Game, although Morris has made it clear that every position is up for grabs, not just quarterback. The offense should have a bit more flow than any of the groups Bret Bielema put on the field, especially last year’s group that didn’t even Score30 points per Game. The good news is that the Hogs have a lot of talent to work with as all of the top wide outs return with Jonathan Nance and Deon Stewart leading the way to go with running backs Devwah Whaley and Chase Hayden. The offensive line struggled a ton last season, but at least returns Four starters so the experience is there.
The defense has to change almost everything after allowing 36.2 points per Game and that’s why Chavis was brought in after spending time at Tennessee, LSU and Texas A&M. The Razorbacks return seven starters, but again, none of those are guaranteed. The line has the most room for improvement with a number of experienced players, namely McTelvin Agim, who could be moved all over up front. The starters in the spring were still unknown with a lot of regulars missing out due to injury. Linebacker Randy Ramsey had a couple sacks in the spring Game and is set for a breakout. Ryan Pulley is the name to know in the secondary after getting injured early last season. At the end of the day, this defense can’t be worse than it was a year ago so improvement will be there.
A workable opening Schedule will help with three early wins likely before a trip to Auburn. Throw in a stretch of five-straight home Games in October in addition to winnable cross-Conference Games against Vandy and Missouri and everything looks good for the Hogs. Their goal will be to get through the first three SEC Games because all of them could end in losses. With a completely different offense and defense to work with, there will be some work to do, but the Razorbacks have the offensive talent to compete in most Conference Games and be in the range for a bowl Game. Six wins is a good benchmark for Morris in his first season, which is not entirely impossible due to Schedule.
2018 Arkansas Razorbacks Football Schedule
Sept. 1 vs. Eastern Illinois
Sept. 8 at Colorado State
Sept. 15 vs. North Texas
Sept. 22 at Auburn
Sept. 29 vs. Texas A&M (AT&T Stadium)
Oct. 6 vs. Alabama
Oct. 13 vs. Ole Miss
Oct. 20 vs. Tulsa
Oct. 27 vs. Vanderbilt
Nov. 10 vs. LSU
Nov. 17 at Mississippi State
Nov. 24 at Missouri