Bowl Season

BCS vs. BCS New Orleans
Louisiana Superdome
Jan. 4
8:30 p.m.
John Expat, from was nice enough to give his insights on the Razorbacks.

BS: The Razorbacks had a pretty good first half, but it seems their play stepped up a bit in the second half of the season. What accounted for the change over the second half of the season?

John Expat: The #1 reason for the Hogs' improvement over the course of the season was the development of the running game, and especially the emergence of RB Knile Davis. The lack of a consistent running attack was a major cause of concern during the early games, and was the reason we weren't able to put away Alabama despite having a two score lead in the 4th quarter (ouch).

But, midway through October Davis emerged as a serious running threat and provided both balance to the offense and ball control when it was needed most (example: the epic late game drive that salted things away against LSU, when the Hogs ran it 9 straight times). Without Knile Davis, you'd surely be interviewing us for a much lesser game than the Sugar Bowl.

BS: The offense was great, scoring 37.3 points a game, and it boasts the number 3 passing game in the country, led by QB Ryan Mallet. How important is he to this offense and who are his top weapons?

John Expat: Ryan Mallett's importance to the Razorbacks' offense can't be overstated. Despite his general awesomeness as a QB, he's actually fairly underrated nationally - he had his moment in the spotlight early on in the season, but his image never really recovered from those two very unfortunate 4th quarter INTs against Alabama (again, ouch). If not for those two bad passes, the Hogs would have held on to beat the Tide and Mallett would have likely been in NYC as a Heisman finalist. Despite flying somewhat under the radar since then, he's only gotten better and is no doubt looking for a little redemption on the big stage in New Orleans.

Besides Mallett, the Arkansas passing game boasts a number of weapons. Despite losing #1 receiver Greg Childs on a season-ending injury against Vanderbilt back in October, the offense never really skipped a beat - receivers Joe Adams, Jarius Wright and Cobi Hamilton all stepped up to make big contributions. D.J. Williams is the best receiving tight end in the nation, and RB Ronnie Wingo Jr is a receiving threat out of the backfield. To sum up, Mallett has plenty of options.

BS: The defense was solid overall. Who are the key players in stopping the Buckeye offense?

John Expat: The Hogs' defense was flat-out terrible in 2009 but made major strides this season. They still had their moments of weakness - see the entire Auburn game as an example - but generally held their own when it counted (including huge contributions in the wins against Texas A&M, Mississippi State and LSU). LB Jerry Williams has led the Razorbacks in tackles in each of his three seasons and can usually be found in the thick of things. Other standouts include DE Jake Bequette, DE Tenarius "Tank" Wright and LB Anthony Leon. Unfortunately the secondary has been decimated by injuries and will likely be targeted by OSU in the Sugar Bowl.

BS: If you could choose one player to have a breakout performance in the bowl game, who would it be?

John Expat: Although SEC fans are aware of Knile Davis, he hasn't made an impact nationally and the timing seems right for him to break out at the Sugar Bowl. Also, the receiving corps tends to get overlooked because Mallett spreads the ball around rather than padding the stats of one guy, so Wright, Adams or Hamilton could also shine in a big way.

Thanks a lot to John Expat. Check him out at

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