Nick Saban says Alabama’s crowd will have to be huge to beat the Hogs

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Nick Saban hasn’t lost to Arkansas since he’s been coaching the Crimson Tide. That doesn’t mean college football’s pre-eminent coach isn’t afraid, even a little bit, of the Razorbacks.

Saban said during his media availability this week in Tuscaloosa that the crowd inside Bryant-Denny Stadium would have to be loud Saturday when the two teams kick off. A bit of it is typical of coaches always wanting their fans to show out. But the reality is, Arkansas has struggled much more on the road this year when the crowd has been into the game.

The Hogs fell behind early against Georgia in large part because their first couple drives were in front of the Bulldogs student section. Series against Ole Miss in the same area weren’t as successful as others, either. And, Saturday against LSU, the Razorbacks won their first SEC road game of the year, but it took overtime and three Tigers turnovers.

Saban knows all this. But with a bit of a banged-up team, he is seeking every edge he can get.

Brian Robinson Jr., Alabama’s starting running back, could see his load increase even more. His back-up, Roydell Williams, is out because of surgery. Sophomore Trey Sanders stepped in his stead last week and had a season high 66 yards on 12 carries. Robinson has 823 yards and 14 touchdowns. The scoring mark leads the SEC.

Arkansas biggest weakness this season, defensively, has been against the run. The Hogs are eighth in the SEC in stopping the run, but Alabama is only 10th in the SEC in yards rushing a game. Saban knows that, too.

Accordingly, the crowd could make a difference and if Arkansas can neutralize it, who knows what could happen.