CSU Rams Football: First Look At The Razorbacks
The Rams make the return trip to Frank Broyles Field in 2019, so we take a look at the Razorbacks.
Can the Rams make it two from two against the Razorbacks?
Mike Bobo is on the hot seat in 2019 and could improve his position with a second straight victory over the Arkansas Razorbacks in the Rams last out of conference matchup.
The Arkansas Razorbacks are heading into year two of the Chad Morris campaign and are looking to improve on a 2-10 record from last season.
Location: Fayetteville, Arkansas
Mascot: Big Red
2018 Record: 2-10 (0-8 SEC)
Head Coach: Chad Morris. Morris arrived in Fayetteville looking to improve on a 4-8 record from his predecessor Bret Bielema. Unfortunately, the Razorbacks struggled and finished with only two wins, Eastern Illinois and Tulsa.
QB Ben Hicks
Ben Hicks is a graduate transfer from Southern Methodist. Hicks has the inside track to the position due to the fact that he had played in Morris’ system before. With his knowledge of the offense, he should be able to get his teammates more up to speed on the system. In Hick’s three season’s with the Mustangs, he threw for 9,081 yards, 71 touchdowns, and 34 interceptions.
RB Rakeem Boyd
Boyd is the returning leading rusher for the Razorbacks. He finished with 734 yards on 123 carries, but he only managed to find the end zone twice. Last season, as a true freshman, he crossed the 100-yard threshold three times against Vanderbilt, Ole Miss, and Alabama.
His production against the Rams last season should be cause for concern. Even though his production was relatively pedestrian, seven carries for 67 yards, he averaged nearly 10 yards a carry. The Razorbacks need to find him some space to get their offense going.
De’Jon Harris was all over the field last season for Arkansas. He finished with 118 tackles, nine tackles for loss, and two sacks. Harris will be a big key for the Razorbacks as they look to improve on a middle of the pack defense that was ranked 79th last season.
The Razorbacks junior big man will need to be on the Rams radar. He is Arkansas’ returning sack leader and returning forced fumble leader. Two of his forced fumbles came against the Rams. If the Razorbacks defense wants to take a step forward, Agim needs to step up.
The good news for Arkansas fans, the Razorbacks offense can’t get much worse. They were ranked 118th in total offense (335.7 ypg) and 114th in scoring (21.7 ppg). Head coach Chad Morris and offensive coordinator Joe Craddock are hoping to turn it around in year two.
They will have to do so without either starting quarterback from last year, as both Ty Storey and Cole Kelley have transferred out. The good news is they got two transfers in to replace them. SMU grad transfer Ben Hicks, who is familiar with Morris’ offensive system, and Texas A&M transfer Nick Starkel.
The Razorbacks have talent at the receiver and running back slots. Running back Rakeem Boyd looks to continue from his strong true freshman season and 6’5″ true freshman receiver Trey Knox looks to make an immediate impact on the offense. The only concern for the Razorbacks is the offensive line play.
Defensive Coordinator John Chavis wants the intensity cranked up this season. The interior defensive line combo of McTelvin Agim and T.J. Smith are a couple good pieces to help get this started, but Arkansas needs more from edge rushers Dorian Green and Gabe Richardson.
Middle Linebacker De’Jon Harris returns to lead a linebacking corps that has been thin in recent years. Harris could be joined in the starting line up by Bumper Pool and Hayden Henry. While Grant Morgan, Andrew Parker, and Giovanni LaFrance look to be the top options in the rotation.
The defensive secondary was a liability when it came to tackling last year for the Razorbacks. They need to improve if the defense as a whole wants to improve. The defensive backs are lead by Kamren Curl, but most of their depth is young and look to be thrown into the fire.
This looks to be another close contest between the Rams and Razorbacks. Both teams are looking for improvement on both sides of the ball, so home field advantage looks to be the deciding factor here. A hard fought contest ends with the Razorbacks pulling it out in the end. Arkansas 31, Rams 28