The Arkansas Razorbacks finished 9-4 and third in the SEC West in 2021. This was a massive overachievement for Sam Pittman and his staff as the Hogs had been predicted to finish sixth in the West in the Preseason Media Poll.
By Steve Wright
Here is a look at the three keys to maintaining that success for Arkansas in 2022:
Be Better in SEC Games
The logical next step for Pittman is to make Arkansas better in SEC games. The Razorbacks were 9-4 based on their work in non-conference games – including a huge win that set their season going over then No.1 5 Texas – and their impressive 24-0 win over Penn State in the Outback Bowl. In SEC games, however, the Hogs were just 4-4. They played five ranked teams in those eight games against SEC opponents – the conference is just so strong – and went 2-3 with wins over No. 7 Texas A&M and No. 17 Mississippi State. Defeats like the one to unranked Auburn must be avoided this fall.
KJ Jefferson Stays Healthy
There are plenty of SEC teams that depend heavily on their quarterbacks, but none might be as much as Arkansas. Heading into the 2021 season, many questioned the work ethic of the 6-foot, 245-pounder. Jefferson quickly proved any doubters wrong. He led the Hogs with 664 rushing yards and posted the second-highest passing efficiency rating in school history. The dual-threat monster knows how to win and will do whatever it takes to get Arkansas a victory. He is impossible to replicate, so he must stay healthy.
Barry Odom Creates Stars
Barry Odom has worked wonders with defensive players in the past. He has added a couple of new talents to the Arkansas program to turn into stars this fall. Linebacker Drew Sanders transferred into the program from Alabama. He is a former 5-star recruit with unlimited potential. Defensive end Jordan Domineck arrived with two years of eligibility remaining after being a constant force off the edge for Georgia Tech in the ACC. Arkansas hasn’t had a true pass-rush threat for years. Suddenly they have two for Odom to sculpt into game-changers.
The Arkansas Razorbacks open their 2022 season on September 3, hosting the Cincinnati Bearcats.