HawgBeat - 2020 First Look: Auburn Tigers
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2020 First Look: Auburn Tigers

Auburn rising sophomore quarterback Bo Nix.
Auburn rising sophomore quarterback Bo Nix. (AP)

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We don't yet know the dates or the order, but we do know all 10 of Arkansas's 2020 opponents. Over the course of ten days, we'll give Hog fans an early look at each team on Arkansas's schedule, which is perhaps the toughest slate in all of college football.

Following the Alabama Crimson Tide in the series are the Auburn Tigers, ranked No. 11 in the nation and No. 5 in the SEC in the USA Today coaches' preseason poll.

Auburn Tigers (#11)

2019 record: 9-4 (5-3 SEC)

All time series vs Arkansas: Auburn leads 17-11 (4 game win streak)

Last meeting: The Razorbacks did not have a good time on October 19 in Fayetteville. SEC player of the year winner Bo Nix threw for three touchdowns and ran for a fourth on the way to a 51-10 Tiger victory. The touchdowns were three of just 12 passes Nix needed to complete to get the Tigers the win. The Arkansas offensive line gave up multiple sacks and Ben Hicks was both stripped and intercepted. It was also the game fans will remember for the second worst special teams play of the Chad Morris era. Punter Sam Loy attempted a fake punt-chest pass that was intercepted up the middle of the field. The Auburn Tigers' stout defensive line stuffed the Arkansas run game, holding Rakeem Boyd to 39 yards on 13 carries.

Head Coach: Gus Malzahn (8th season, 62-31)

Gus Malzahn and former Arkansas head coach, new Auburn OC Chad Morris.
Gus Malzahn and former Arkansas head coach, new Auburn OC Chad Morris. (John Reed/USA Today images)

Offense

Coordinator: Chad Morris (1st season) Morris led Arkansas to a 4-20 record over two seasons, getting cut loose two games before the end of the 2019 season. He previously led SMU to a 14-22 record in three seasons and served stints at Clemson ('11-'14) and Tulsa ('10) as OC and QB coach.

2019 rushing rank: 33rd, 199.08 yards/game

2019 passing rank: 87th, 207.5 yards/game

2019 total rank: 64th, 406.5 yards/game

2019 scoring rank: 28th, 33.2 points/game

Returning starters: 5

Key losses: Jack Driscoll, Prince Tega Wanogho, Marquel Harrel, Mike Horton (The Tigers lost almost the entire 2019 starting line)

Defense

Coordinator: Kevin Steele (5th season), co-DC Travis Williams (2nd season) Steele was the DC at LSU in 2015 and was a Broyles Award finalist in 2018. Williams was an All-SEC linebacker and Atlanta Falcon before working his way up the coaching ranks at his alma mater from grad assistant to analyst, LB coach to co-DC.

2019 rushing rank: 25th, 123.15 yards/game

2019 passing rank: 47th, 213.8 yards/game

2019 total rank: 28th, 337 yards/game

2019 scoring rank: 17th, 19.5 points/game

Returning starters: 5

Key losses: Marlon Davidson, Derrick Brown, Jeremiah Dinson, Daniel Thomas, Javaris Davis, Noah Igbinoghene

Recruiting

Four-year recruiting rankings (2017-20): 14, 12, 12, 10 (Avg. 12)

5-stars signed (2017-20): 2

4-stars signed (2017-20): 50

Overall Outlook

Auburn isn't the toughest program on Arkansas's schedule in 2020 but there's little separating Alabama, listed at No. 10, and Auburn, listed at No. 7. Hog fans' only hope is that Chad Morris somehow manages to make the Tigers' offense as incompetent as Arkansas's in 2018 and 2019. However, Morris is working with a quarterback who is already entrenched in the system so, chances of incompetence are low. Auburn's secondary will be young, maybe Arkansas's returning receivers can expose them.

Difficulty Ranking (1-10): 7