Burning Questions for Arkansas' Spring Game
After getting off to a fast start against inferior competition, Bret Bielema's team lost its final nine games of the regular season, leaving many to wonder how long it would take for this program to be successful once again in the SEC.
As for whether or not that will be this upcoming season, that remains to be seen. But we'll know more on Saturday in terms of how much this team has progressed in the off-season.
There are plenty of areas of concern for Arkansas, and this is definitely the type of team that needs all the work it can get in order to properly prepare for the rigors of the SEC schedule in 2014.
Let's take a look at some of the burning questions surrounding the Razorbacks heading into Saturday's spring game:
1. Is Brandon Allen Ready to Be the Leader On Offense?
Unless something unusual happens between now and August, Brandon Allen is going to be the starting quarterback for the Razorbacks when they take the field in the season opener against Auburn. With a year of experience under his belt, the question is whether or not Allen can be effective enough to help this team score a whole lot more points than it did a year ago.
Arkansas finished at 106th in the nation in scoring offense, and the lack of a complete passing game contributed to that number. Sure, Bielema will always be a run-first type of coach, and that won't change this season. But Allen needs to be efficient in the passing game when given the opportunity, and we'll see how far he's progressed this weekend.
2. Could This Group of Tight Ends Be One of the Best in the SEC?
Bielema may not like his offense to pass a lot, but boy does he have a group of tight ends that can make plays if needed. Everyone already knows about Hunter Henry, who had an outstanding freshman year with 28 catches and four touchdowns.
But with former quarterback A.J. Derby recently making the transition to tight end, this offense has big-time options at this position. Bielema has raved about Derby's play thus far at his new position, and that bodes well for the both the passing and rushing attack this season. If both of these guys are playing at a high level, it's hard to see this team not scoring points on a consistent basis if Allen can limit his turnovers.
3. Is the Overall Talent On This Team Good Enough to Compete for a Bowl This Year?
Many knew that Bielema was facing a rebuilding project when he took over as head coach last year. And it wasn't all that surprising that Arkansas struggled mightily in terms of being able to compete on a regular basis during the SEC schedule.
However, there's no doubt that this team got better as the year progressed, and now it's time to see how much they've progressed since the season ended. With a year of experience under the belts of the veterans on this team, and a crop of talented newcomers that could contribute right away, the Razorbacks are certainly trending upward. The question is whether or not this team could return to a bowl this season, or if there's still a ways to go before that happens.
What are you most looking forward to in the Red-White game on Saturday? Let us know by commenting below! For more college football talk, follow FanIQ College Football or myself on Twitter!