FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas has a large task at hand on Saturday when they face Florida in The Swamp.
The Razorbacks enter the game having lost six in a row and have never left The Swamp a winner. The last such meeting was in 2020 when the Gators downed Arkansas 63-35.
Arkansas enters this game with a new offensive coordinator. Kenny Guiton replaced Dan Enos who Sam Pittman fired the Sunday after a 7-3 loss to Mississippi State. Guiton was coaching wide receivers and has never called plays in a game. He is now coaching the quarterbacks which is a position he played at Ohio State.
5 Keys for Hogs to Win
Get Balance on Offense — The Hogs haven’t been able to establish a running game this season and that is a must to have any success in the final four games. The Hogs returned four outstanding running backs who have had success including Raheim “Rocket” Sanders, but it hasn’t equated to success. The offensive line has three new starters this season and that has obviously played a role in the lack of success on the ground. But this is the ninth game of the season so the new starters aren’t new now. They have eight games of experience behind them now. Guiton has to find a way to keep the Gators off balance and establish a running game. It may include more KJ Jefferson runs or passes when runs are expected and vice versa. Enos’ playcalling was far too predictable and that played a role in the struggles as well.
Red Zone Success — By this I mean get touchdowns and not have to settle for field goals. The Hogs didn’t sniff the red zone against Mississippi State because of the offense, but assuming the offense picks it up with Guiton they need to come away with seven points instead of three. The settling for field goals in the red zone may have very well cost the Hogs a win at LSU.
Early Success Saturday — The Hogs need good things to happen early on against Florida. After a game like Mississippi State the last things Arkansas needs is to face adversity immediately at a place where it’s tough to win. Florida has been very inconsistent this season, but they have been good at home. They defeated Tennessee, a very good team, in The Swamp. Their bad games such as Utah, Kentucky, South Carolina and Georgia have been games on the road. Georgia was at a neutral field and they did beat South Carolina, but barely in Columbia. The Hogs need success from offense, defense and special teams on Saturday.
Big Game from KJ Jefferson — Much has been said and written about Guiton and the Hogs changing the playbook to fit the strengths of Jefferson. It’s a must that Jefferson has a big game for the Hogs to have a chance to win. Jefferson is one of the best quarterbacks in the SEC, but the change to Enos’ pro-style offense just never fit Jefferson. Guiton is going to use more tempo and the Hogs have reduced the playbook by at least 35%. The emphasis is on use the plays that have led to success this season and certainly fewer dropbacks.
Avoid Turnovers, Excessive Penalties — Jefferson has thrown a few more interceptions than normal this season, but seems to have fixed that issue. With Guiton building the offense around Jefferson and the things he’s comfortable doing the turnovers shouldn’t be an issue. The Hogs have had issues with penalties in some games this season. The Swamp could be a loud place and that is something that have led to many pre-snap penalties. The Hogs can ill afford these issues on Saturday.
Kickoff is set for 11 a.m. and televised on ESPN2. Arkansas has home games remaining with Auburn at 3 p.m. (Nov. 11), Florida International (Nov. 18) at time to be announced Monday and then Missouri at 3 p.m. (Nov. 24).