November 1, 2007

USC Focuses On Two-Headed Monster

The South Carolina defense will have a single mindset Saturday when it opposes the Arkansas offense.

Stop the run.

The Razorbacks are, far and away, the best running team in the SEC, a league known for its history of conservatism when it comes to matriculating the football down the field.

Arkansas is averaging 287.6 rushing yards per game, 63.4 yards more than LSU in second place. But the Razorbacks have thrown the ball just 198 times this season, an average of 24.8 passes per game, the fewest in the league. They are the only team with less than 200 pass attempts.

Despite the fact most teams Arkansas has faced this season have stacked the line of scrimmage to try and stop the running game, the strategy hasn't seemed to work. QB Casey Dick has completed just enough passes to keep opposing defenses at bay.

"No one has really stopped them from running the football," Nix said. "It's a challenge. Our emphasis is still going to be to stop the run. Regardless of (who's playing WR), you still have those two backs you have to deal with. That's what you're going to try to do first."

Arkansas doesn't try to trick opponents. With a mammoth offensive line, they just line up, give the ball to their running backs and try to beat opponents at the point of attack.

"They just run the football when they want to run it," Nix said. "Their style is to hand it off to (McFadden) and (Jones) and see what they can do. If they want to mix in a pass or two, they will. Offensively, they're probably doing what they want."

Of course, when you have a pair of running backs like Darren McFadden and Felix Jones, you should run the football. The duo are the two most productive ball carriers in the SEC.

"If I had two backs like that, I would try to run as much as I could too," Nix said. "I think they're being smart coaches by putting the ball in the playmakers' hands. I would try to get them the ball anyway I can."

McFadden was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy last season after rushing for 1,647 yards and .

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