3 things the Razorbacks need to work on the most during the bye week

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I have always hated bye weeks in college football.

It’s like watching an incredible movie but halfway through it just stops to take a 15-minute intermission. You end up just staring at the screen waiting for it to come back on.

That’s how I am feeling right now as Arkansas heads into their bye week. Just staring and waiting for Razorbacks football to come back. But as much as I hate it, the Hogs need to make great use out of this intermission to make sure they are ready for the final stretch of the season.

Here are the three things Arkansas needs to focus on during the bye:

1) Getting healthy

I don’t know if you knew this, but having a healthy football team is helpful when trying to win games.

Arkansas just played through eight straight weeks of football and need to make sure their players are ready physically for this final tough stretch.

Quarterback KJ Jefferson has been banged up with some of the hits he’s taken this year. Offensive tackle Dalton Wagner had a finger injury earlier this season but Sam Pittman expects him to be back for Mississippi State. Defensive lineman Markell Utsey also expected to be healed up after the bye week.

There are more injuries listed for the Razorbacks currently that may be ready to go by November 6. But they need those three players specifically back in action if they want to close out the season strong.

2) Cleaning up the penalties

The most frustrating thing about the Razorbacks football team so far this year has been the amount of penalties.

Arkansas is currently 117th in FBS by giving up 69.8 penalty yards per game. That’s not a good formula to be successful in college football much less the SEC.

Many of these penalties have come on first-down plays that put the Hogs behind the sticks even more and end up causing three-and-outs frequently. When they face these final four SEC teams left on the schedule, they are going to have to play clean football if the Razorbacks expect to win.

Arkansas can’t beat every team based on their talent alone, but they can keep themselves from losing games with so many ill advised penalties.

3) Being mentally ready for November

Legendary Arkansas coach Frank Broyles once said “they always remember what you do in November.”

That phrase resonates even today because that’s when your team should be playing their best football of the season. You dusted off the cobwebs, you have figured out who your starters are, and you have gotten into a groove as a coaching staff. November is what separates the men from the boys in college football.

What will drive that success for Arkansas in November is how mentally tough they are. How they will overcome miscues and bad plays. How much fight they will have in cold, late games against tough conference opponents.

In 2020, Arkansas lost their final four games of the season. Sam Pittman needs to make sure his squad doesn’t replicate that rough finish here in 2021.