LITTLE ROCK — If Arkansas plays that ended with a too-flat pass and a too-high lateral received any attention this week from Northern Illinois defensive coordinator Jay Niemann, it was no more than a mention.

LITTLE ROCK — If Arkansas plays that ended with a too-flat pass and a too-high lateral received any attention this week from Northern Illinois defensive coordinator Jay Niemann, it was no more than a mention.


Oh, by the way, Niemann might tell his troops, be aware that the running back might take a handoff from Brandon Allen and then pitch the ball back to the quarterback who is supposed to throw deep. Also, the Razorbacks have a double reverse with Alex Collins responsible for the final pitch.


End of speech.


Now, back to that Arkansas running game, he would say in my imagined peek at practice, because that’s what the Razorbacks are going to do on Saturday in Faeytteville. To prepare, he would tell his guys to hunker down for a no-frills, physical, frontal assault


Arkansas will hand the ball to Jonathan Williams or Collins and rely on the offensive line to provide openings or pitch the ball to a running back and pull a lineman or two to lead a sweep.


Niemann knows that is Bret Bielema’s road map to success, one Bielema brought with him from Wisconsin. Fifteen games into the Bielema era, Arkansas fans who yearn for more glitz should realize they are spinning their wheels.


That’s not to say that Arkansas’ playbook is void of deception — Allen’s incomplete pass to Keon Hatcher far behind the defense and Collins’ lateral that was recovered by Texas Tech — were unveiled in Lubbock.


Read Bielema’s postgame quote from Saturday, know that Northern Illinois runs an uptempo offense, and Arkansas’ game plan is obvious.


"In my experience of playing an uptempo offense, the more you can monopolize the clock, it just keeps their offense on the sideline and gets very, very frustrating," Bielema said. Across the field, he spotted Tech coaches pacing, unable to get the ball. "If you kind of say, ‘Hey, hey, I got it, you can’t have it,’ that’s kind of frustrating, and it’s a lot of fun," he said.


Arkansas had the ball 1,290 seconds more than Tech and the Red Raiders were limited to three possessions in the final 30 minutes.


Tech knew what was coming and couldn’t do a thing about it. Although I have not seen NIU, the Huskies will be better on defense.


Interestingly, Niemann is not supposed to be big on the blitz and I doubt the Huskies can go toe to toe with the Razorbacks up front.


On the other side, the challenge for Arkansas’ defense will be completely different than it was in Lubbock. By design, the Raiders threw the ball twice as much as they ran it and best I could tell from TV, for the first time in a long time, Arkansas defenders played like any ball in the air was fair game.


Indecisive players do not break up 11 passes, record two interceptions and pick off two others on their way out of bounds.


The carryover from that performance may be miniscule vs. the Huskies’ version of uptempo. In three games, their offense has been 201 run, 83 pass.


The stats from quarterback Drew Hare’s first start last week vs. UNLV points to the option. A sophomore, Hare completed 18-of-28, but he also ran 14 times for 74 yards — a much more diverse role than the one designed for Allen.


The Arkansas quarterback contributed a valuable 27 yards at Tech, including a 21-yard run that led to the second touchdown and a 5-yarder for a TD after a defender bought a pump fake, but those were not by design.


If there is a "trap" game on Arkansas’ schedule, it is NIU.


Some emotion was expended at Tech and the game next week against Texas A&M has been circled since the Aggies beat South Carolina and Arkansas lost to Auburn in August.


More talented than NIU, Arkansas should win by 10 points or so.


Harry King is sports columnist for Stephens Media’s Arkansas News Bureau. Email: hleonk42@gmail.com.