Sports

College Football Preview: Auburn vs. Arkansas

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As we approach the midway point of the 2011 season, injuries are beginning to add up, across the entire Southeastern Conference. Arkansas may have suffered an injury with more impact than any other, not just in the SEC, but nationally. Junior Tailback Knile Davis suffered a season ending injury in August which has crippled the Razorbacks running game.

The Razorbacks boast arguably the best quartet of wide receivers in the nation, but that area has been hit exceptionally hard by injury. Senior Greg Childs missed time early on and also suffered through the loss of his Grandmother. Joe Adams missed the second half of the Texas A&M game last week, but is expected to be available for Auburn. Leading receiver Jarius Wright has missed several games, but returned in a big way in last week's win over the Aggies.

Despite multiple injuries at skill positions, Arkansas has been even harder hit on the defensive side of things. All SEC Defensive End Jake Bequette and fellow starter Tenarious Wright have both missed extensive time this season. Bequette, who has missed the last three games while nuring a hamstring injury, is expected to return this weekend. The news is not so good for Wright who will miss a month or more after suffering a broken forearm in the loss to Alabama.

The Razorbacks have also suffered injuries in the secondary. Senior cornerback Isaac Madison was injured in the Alabama game, missed last week and is questionable for the Auburn contest. Junior cornerback Darius Winston left the A&M game in the first quarter due to injury, and did not return.

Auburn has suffered injuries to key players as well. With the largest senior class (24) in the history of the program during the National Championship season, the Tigers are very young and lacking depth. The last two recruiting classes prior to the Gene Chizik did not fare well in the long run. The 2007 and 2008 classes, which make up the Seniors and Redshirt Seniors this season, number only nine athletes.

Injuries that will impact the Arkansas game include Auburn's leading receiver Emory Blake who was beaten and battered during the South Carolina win. The Tigers are also without redshirt freshman Trovon Reed, who was expected to be a game breaker this season. A pair of offfensive lineman, Ed Christian and Aubrey Phillips were lost in August, with their status perhaps career threatening.

Auburn is very young on the defensive line and lost one of only three upperclassman, when Dee Ford suffered a season ending injury. Veteran linebacker Jonathan Evans has been in and out of the lineup due to injury, his status is unknown for the Razorbacks. True Freshman Kris Frost, a five star athlete from North Carolina was expected to contribute at both linebacker and receiver, but he too hast been lost for the season. Cover corner Chris Davis will not play against Arkansas, in fact Davis is not expected back until November. The Auburn staff has compared Davis favorably to former Thorpe Award Winner and current NFL cornerback Carlos Rogers.

Tom Blaz is a contributor to College Football Zealots and co-owner of The Recruiting Eagle a website focusing on Auburn University Athletics.