Colorado State Non-Conference Preview: Arkansas
Razorbacks Are Only Second SEC Team To Visit Ft. Collins
Colorado State Welcomes New Look Arkansas
Colorado State’s third game will be against an Arkansas team that has a lot of experience but a new head coach and new schemes on both sides of the ball.
Coach: Chad Morris, First Year
2018 Record: 4-8, 1-7 Conference
2017 Season In Review
2017 was a season to forget for the Arkansas Razorbacks. The run-first offensive attack sputtered on their way to a 4-8 season and the firing of their head coach Bret Bielema (he was sacked while walking off the field of the teams final game). 2017 was really an extension from the inconsistent 2016 season.
Key Players Returning
QB, Cole Kelley, LB De’Jon ‘Scoota’ Harris, LB Dre Greenlaw, CB Ryan Pulley, LG Hjalte Froholdt, C Dylan Hayes, WR Jonathan Nance.
Head coach Chad Morris has created offensive juggernauts anywhere he’s been. From a high school coach in Texas to OC for Clemson to the HC at SMU. He has an incredible track record of success. At Arkansas, he inherits 17 returning starters including 9 on the offensive side of the ball. Granted Morris runs a spread offense while the past 5 seasons under Bielema where all about 3 yards and a cloud of dust. While the expected starting QB Cole Kelley is short on experience, he does have 4 returning starters on the offensive line to protect him.
Arkansas also changes schemes on the defensive side of the ball by going back to a 4-3 defense from the 3-4 they used last year. Morris brought in former Tennessee, LSU, and Texas A&M defensive coordinator John Chavis to stop the bleeding and odds are that Chavis will do just that as the Razorbacks return all of their top tacklers from a year ago.
Changing offensive and defensive schemes is never easy with 18-24-year-old college students. Assignments get missed and the inevitable turnover happens at a key moment in the game. Arkansas was built for a certain kind of football over the last several years and now they are going 180 degrees in the other direction. That can always be a challenge especially early in the season.