The top ranked Alabama Crimson Tide returns home to face an Arkansas Razorbacks squad that has limped out to a 2-3 start to the season.

With kickoff approaching for Saturday’s homecoming contest, veteran Arkansas beat writer for The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Tom Murphy broke down Arkansas’ 2017 season on The Gary Harris Show.

Heading into the 2017 season, Arkansas looked to build on back-to-back bowl appearances under head coach Bret Bielema but have struggled through their first five games of the season. Murphy discussed some of the reasons for the slow start.

“I don’t know if everything was in place for them to contend. I think there was hope that they could put it together and the o-line was going to be better and that they play with more passion on defense under Paul Rhoads. They have done that but the o-line has not been better.” Murphy said.

The veteran observer of the Razorbacks touched on the mental state of the team heading into their trip to Tuscaloosa.

“They’re in a tough mental state right now.” Murphy said. “They know that their coach is under some heat and that they haven’t beaten a power five team since they won a game at Mississippi State last year and they’ve blown some second half leads.”

Murphy further elaborated on some of the issues involving Arkansas’ inability to play well on a consistent basis.

“For them just to put together a full game with minimal errors and big plays on both sides of the ball, they just have not done that in the big games this year.” Murphy said.

Although Alabama has taken 10 straight contests over Arkansas, the Razorbacks have been competitive in their last three games against the Crimson Tide falling 14-13 in 2014, 27-14 in 2015 and 49-30 in last year’s game in Fayetteville. Tom Murphy listed his keys for Arkansas to be competitive in Saturday night’s game at Alabama.

“They’re going to have to do some things a little bit differently, a lot more quick hitters. I mean they’re going to have to take some risks. They’re going to have to throw some slant passes with Bama DBs right on guys. It’s going to be a tough road, and their run game hasn’t been super productive either especially against teams with great d-tackles and d-lineman which Alabama certainly has.” Murphy said.

The Arkansas beat writer for The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette also touched on the health of Arkansas quarterback Austin Allen and Bret Bielema’s job security in Fayetteville.

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