Expect plenty of huddles, runs in Alabama-Arkansas game
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) Alabama and Arkansas still do things the old-fashioned way offensively.
They huddle. They run between the tackles, and throw play-action passes.
The Razorbacks (3-4, 0-3 Southeastern Conference) and top-ranked Crimson Tide (6-0, 3-0) should provide just the style of game Saturday night that coaches Nick Saban and Bret Bielema can love.
The Razorbacks' Bielemma and Tide's Saban have been the league's most outspoken critics of the hurry-up, no-huddle offenses that have become so commonplace that facing more traditional styles actually requires an adjustment.
"It's something you've just got to get adjusted to playing the downhill football, smashmouth football," Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley said. "Back to old-school football with us. But that's nothing new at Alabama."
Now, Bielema & Co. want to hurry up and win.
Arkansas has lost four straight games and faces a fourth consecutive ranked team. Bielema has never lost five in a row as a head coach though his 2008 Wisconsin team dropped five of six. That team still made a bowl game.
Saban's Tide, meanwhile, has rolled through its last four games and is a four-touchdown favorite for this one. Bielema said he has a formula for rebuilding the program, but admires Saban's perfectionist approach.
"Recruiting is a big part of it, but player development is the biggest," the Arkansas coach said. "And player development isn't just, size and strength and squat. It's leadership. It's championing moments in adversity.
"I love reading Nick's quotes just because I see him go bonkers over, you know, two fumbles after the spring game. He went bananas because he knows what it takes to win."
Saban doesn't want his team or fans overlooking this game against one of the SEC's top running offenses.
"I think it's important that everybody realizes this is a really important SEC West game for us," he said. "This is a tough, physical team that we're playing that is certainly trying to establish their will on people. We need to have the right mindset to play in a game like this because it's going to be a very tough, physical football game.
"They've been able to run the ball against everybody. You've got to have the right mindset."