FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — July is here, which means we can all officially talk Arkansas football without any backlash.
We are still almost two months away from the start of the season, though. And while that is disappointing, we also are to the point where we can perceive a stronger vibe on the Razorbacks and their opponents. Fall camp remains and things will change between now and then, but a basic idea of how teams will perform exists.
With that in mind, SEC Country is bringing you summertime predictions. On weekdays over the next two-plus weeks, we will preview each opponent on the Arkansas schedule. Each piece will include opponent previews and predictions from each of our writers.
Kicking things off is Florida A&M.
Florida A&M Rattlers
Coach: Alex Wood (third season, 5-17 overall)
Last season: 4-7 overall, 4-4 in MEAC (tied for fifth)
Plays Arkansas: Aug. 31, 7 p.m., at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock
By the numbers
- Scoring offense: 18.7 points per game (106th out of 122 teams in FCS)
- Passing offense: 191.1 yards per game (82nd)
- Rushing offense: 107.1 yards per game (106th)
- Scoring defense: 32.8 points per game (94th)
- Passing defense: 162.7 yards allowed per game (5th)
- Rushing defense: 218.3 yards allowed per game (105th)
Florida A&M offense
Ryan Stanley is expected to be the team’s starting quarterback, but he had major difficulties in the team’s Orange-Black game in the spring. His backup, Vincent Jeffries, looked good in his team’s 28-0 win that day. What makes that margin more impressive is that the teams were drafted that day by the players. No “first-team versus second-team” stuff. Jeffries was working with some first-team talent.
That said, Florida A&M doesn’t have a lot on offense. Brandon Norwood, a senior wide receiver, is the only player who returns who finished on any of the three All-MEAC teams last season. But he is a good one, having caught 51 balls for 468 yards. Put that in perspective of what the Rattlers offense did as a whole and you can see why Norwood is their primary threat.
Florida A&M defense
You might have noticed the numbers above looked skewed. Not a typo, though. Florida A&M did, in fact, finish fifth in FCS against the pass and 105th against the run. How does that even happen?
Coach Wood (Remember him? He was Arkansas’ quarterback coach back in 2006 and 2007.) has much more talent on the defensive side of the ball. No way his team finishes 105th against the run again. Elijah Price (second-team All-MEAC) and Curtis Alexander (third team) return up front to make sure of that. The backfield is good, too, with Jacques Bryant back for his junior season. Bryant is a potential NFL player. A rarity in the MEAC.
Florida A&M vs. Arkansas positional Edges
- Quarterback — Arkansas
- Running back — Arkansas
- Receivers — Arkansas
- Offensive line — Arkansas
- Defensive line — Arkansas
- Linebackers — Arkansas
- Secondary — Arkansas
- Special teams — Arkansas
What SEC Country says about Florida A&M vs. Arkansas
Bolin: The game is a good opportunity for the tons of new faces on the roster to get some college football experience. Beyond that? Eh. It won’t be close.
Arkansas 49, Florida A&M 7.
Jason Kersey: Obviously, there is no way the Razorbacks lose this game. In games like these, the margin of victory matters. Arkansas won’t want to win by any less than five touchdowns. I don’t think that will be a problem.
Arkansas 58, Florida A&M 10.
Trent Shadid: I like everything about this game … except the opponent. A Thursday night season opener in Little Rock? That’s awesome. It’s a fun twist on the Little Rock game, and we get football two days before we typically would. That being said, this one will be over by halftime.
Arkansas 59, Florida A&M 7.
Projected average final score of Florida A&M vs. Arkansas
Arkansas projected record so far
SEC Country: 1-0