Stoerner, Matt Jones Agree on a Better Attack for Arkansas vs Ole Miss

KJ Jefferson, Arkansas football, Arkansas vs Ole Miss, Ole Miss football
photo credit: Nick Wenger

If the Hogs offensive coordinator Dan Enos doesn’t want to listen to students and common folks critics on play-calling, perhaps he should try legendary Arkansas football quarterbacks Clint Stoerner and Matt Jones instead. They’ve just about got more credibility than the rest of the fanbase combined, both of them rank top 10 in all-time passing yards at Arkansas. Like most of the casual onlookers, they think this Arkansas offense is simply being tasked with things that they aren’t able to do.

“You can only ask your offense to do what they’re capable of,” Jones said on the Halftime Show he co-hosts earlier this week. “It seemed like we were asking them to do things they couldn’t do. It started out with the very first play (of the Texas A&M game). It was a slow-developing fake read option play and he gets sacked. It was a very slow-developing play. We needed to run more quick hitters instead of these slow-developing plays.” 

Just in Time for Arkansas vs Ole Miss

The sooner the better for Arkansas on this front, with a Saturday night showdown at Ole Miss on tap next. It will be imperative that Arkansas use faster developing plays given former Alabama defensive coordinator Pete Golding’s repeated willingness to rush linebackers on a blitz. The Rebels’ top 3 in sacks all are listed as linebackers (Suntarine Perkins, Khari Coleman and Ashanti Cistrunk) and have combined for 7.5 sacks on the season. 

Do what you do best, that’s the beauty of football. Five weeks in, word has gotten to even the most casual Razorback fan that the offensive line is below par. Although Arkansas football coach Sam Pittman remains adamant that the position changes along the offensive line will improve things, it’s hard to see a game of musical chairs fixing all of the O-line’s woes. Hiding your entire offensive line as your weakest link is impossible, but fellow former quarterback Clint Stoerner agrees that the internal clock to get the ball out of current quarterback KJ Jefferson’s hands needs to speed up. 

“I see zero attempt to get the football out of KJ Jefferson’s hands quick,” Stoerner said Monday on the Buzz 103.7 FM. “The obvious attempts in the screen game or the smoke routes where you just stand up and throw it to somebody, that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about your (creative) quick game… You’re attacking that underneath zone just beyond the defensive line. The ball should be able to get out of KJ Jefferson’s hands than we’re seeing.”

LIVE UPDATES – Arkansas vs Ole Miss

Pregame Tidbits

It looks like Arkansas will be shuffling its offensive line against Ole Miss. The first unit was Andrew Chamblee at left tackle, Beaux Limmer at left guard, Patrick Kutas as center, Joshua Braun at right guard and Brady Latham at right tackle.

Star cornerback Dwight McGlothern didn’t make the trip to Oxford. He’ll miss the game with the concussion he suffered last week vs. Texas A&M.

6:08, 1Q – Arkansas 7, Ole Miss 0

After the defense forced a 3-and-out to open the game, Arkansas nearly went 3-and-out, too, but caught a break via a pass interference penalty. Given a second chance, the Razorbacks went down the field and scored on third-and-goal, with Ty Washington reeling in a 3-yard touchdown pass from KJ Jefferson. Washington stepped up big in Luke Hasz’s absence, catching five passes for 56 yards on the drive.

2:47, 1Q – Arkansas 7, Ole Miss 3

The Razorbacks appeared to force another 3-and-out, but a holding penalty on Hudson Clark kept the drive alive. Ole Miss marched down the field before stalling out inside the 10. The Rebels had to settle for a 27-yard field goal by Caden Davis.

0:29, 1Q – Ole Miss 10, Arkansas 7

KJ Jefferson’s interception was returned to the 3-yard line and Ole Miss scored four plays later. Quinshon Judkins took the snap out of the wildcat and punched it in on fourth-and-goal from inside the 1. The Rebels have their first lead.

END of 1Q – Ole Miss 10, Arkansas 7

1:34, 2Q – Ole Miss 17, Arkansas 7

After a short punt by Max Fletcher, Ole Miss met very little resistance on a 50-yard drive. The Rebels covered the ground in just five plays and 1:02, capped by a 6-yard touchdown pass from Jaxson Dart to Dayton Wade.

HALF – Ole Miss 17, Arkansas 7

An inexcusable penalty nearly gave the Rebels another three points, but Caden Davis’ 49-yard field goal as time expired sailed wide left.

10:07, 3Q – Ole Miss 17, Arkansas 10

Arkansas initially lined up to go for it on fourth down, but called a timeout and chose to try a long field goal instead. Cam Little drilled the 56-yard kick, the longest by an Arkansas player since 1988.

2:46, 3Q – Ole Miss 17, Arkansas 13

On a drive that included a third-and-1 conversion via a QB sneak, Arkansas had to settle for a short field goal when it stalled inside the 10. KJ Jefferson was stopped well short on a delayed QB draw on third-and-goal from the 8. Little’s 25-yard kick pulled the Hogs within four.

END of 3Q – Ole Miss 17, Arkansas 13

13:11, 4Q – Arkansas 20, Ole Miss 17

Ty Washington is having himself a game. His second score of the day is a 17-yard touchdown reception from Jefferson.

7:49, 4Q – Ole Miss 24, Arkansas 20

The Rebels converted a fourth-and-1 in their own territory and eventually capped a 75-yard drive with a 7-yard touchdown run by Ulysses Bentley IV.

2:43, 4Q – Ole Miss 27, Arkansas 20

Ole Miss got down to the 3, but the Razorbacks made a goal line stand to limit the Rebels to a 22-yard field goal. That will give them a chance to tie it up.

FINAL – Ole Miss 27, Arkansas 20

KJ Jefferson was intercepted with 1:42 left to seal the loss.

The most befuddling part of this seems to be Enos’ stubbornness when it comes to play-calling. The old cliche of doing the same thing and expecting a different result is insanity is about to rear its ugly head again if we’re not there already. Twice in critical situations, Enos has refused to use his biggest weapon in his toolbox at his disposal in short-yardage situations, his nearly 250-pound quarterback. Similarly, his weakest tool right now is the offensive line, but Enos remains steadfast in calling slow plays that do not fit the style of Jefferson and the rest of the offense.

“He is not a guy that is going to sit in the pocket and get through progressions consistently enough for you to win ball games,” Stoerner added. As much as that was the goal this year with Jefferson coming back to prep for the NFL, “that’s just not who he is, and quite frankly, to be honest, you don’t have guys in this receiving core that can create separation.” 

The Razorbacks are fortunate that they have a culture and a tradition that two former successful quarterbacks are so invested in the team. If there’s anyone Enos should heed advice from before the season goes completely off the rails, it’s these two campus legends. The answers are right here for the taking; Enos just has to pick them up with the same enthusiasm that he had when responding to those student emails.

How to Watch Arkansas vs Ole Miss

Date: Saturday, Oct. 7

Location: Vaught-Hemingway Stadium (Oxford, Miss.)

Kickoff Time and TV Schedule: 6:30 p.m. CT (SEC Network)

Announcers: Tom Hart (play-by-play), Cole Cubelic (color analyst), Alyssa Lang (sideline reporter)

Ole Miss’ Rankings: No. 16 (AP) | No. 15 (Coaches) | No. 22 (SP+) | No. 13 (FPI)

Arkansas’ Rankings: NR (AP) | NR (Coaches) | No. 39 (SP+) | No. 36 (FPI)

ESPN FPI: Ole Miss has an 82.0% chance to win

SP+ Projection: Ole Miss has a 71% chance to win, favored by 9.5 (proj. score: 35-25)

Odds/Betting Line: Ole Miss, -11.5 | O/U 62.5 (BetSaracen)


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