Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 9/23/12

If you are hearing the same lip smackin’ sounds I am, I can tell you that’s the offensive coordinator from Texas A&M licking his lips as he thinks about playing Arkansas next weekend. He must be like a kid looking in the window of a candy store right now.

The Hogs defense gave up over 500 yards (should I highlight and copy that phrase to use every week now?) to what the TV announcers described as a previously pedestrian Rutgers offense in the 35-26 Scarlet Knights victory in Fayetteville Saturday night.

Actually, Rutgers was extremely generous. Quarterback Gary Nova took a knee with over a minute to play to let the clock run out when the Knights could have easily punched in another touchdown. It could have been 42-26. Give Scarlet Knights head coach Kyle Flood credit for not piling on.

Nova looked like Eli Manning in his Colts heyday Saturday, the second quarterback to go from good to great against the Hogs defense this season. Nova averaged about 185 yards per game and had thrown 4 touchdown passes in Rutgers’ three previous games this season.

He finished with 397 yards and 5 touchdowns Saturday. Nova almost became the second quarterback to throw for 400 yards against Arkansas in just 4 games this season.

Is this any indication that something needs to change on the Razorback coaching staff? Two weeks ago, I said head coach John L. Smith needed to shake up his staff by demoting defensive coordinator Paul Haynes. Saturday’s debacle just confirmed what I said (again). In the past 3 games, Arkansas’ outmanned and/or outcoached defense has yielded 121 points and over 1500 yards.

Obviously, something has to change if Arkansas has any chance of salvaging this season. Right now, even with Tyler Wilson and Cobi Hamilton showing great leadership and grit, the Hogs are playing like a team that might not win six games and qualify for the Aunt Jemima Pancake Bowl.

Another point to be made is that the Arkansas assistants have already begun auditioning for their next jobs. That started two weeks ago when the Hogs lost to Louisiana-Monroe. It seems more sure every week that whoever athletic director Jeff Long hires to be the next Razorback head coach will sweep the locker room and slate clean and start with an entirely new staff.

If the coaches can’t show some kind of leadership and motivation, I think all of them will be looking for jobs in the Big Sky Conference or its equivalent come Thanksgiving.

SEC Notes: The Eastern Division is looking like a great three-team race between Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. LSU’s near loss to Auburn makes the West look more like an all-Alabama show. Florida is playing better every week (I won’t yield to the temptation to make a comparison here). The Gators throttled hapless Kentucky 38-0, while Georgia blasted Vanderbilt 48-3 and South Carolina played a solid all-around game and whipped Missouri soundly 31-10.

Next week shouldn’t make any difference in the East unless Tennessee plays unexpectedly well in Athens to upset the Bulldogs. South Carolina is on the road at Kentucky and Florida has the week off. But the race will begin to come into clearer focus in two weeks when Florida hosts LSU and the Gamecocks host Georgia.

 



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