Borrowing our Southern parlance, it’s “awful early yet” in the Hog coaching career of Eric Musselman, but while he’s helming an almost impossibly small, basically six-deep roster, he’s also accomplishing things in his first year that most of his predecessors couldn’t fathom doing.
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Seasonal cheer comes in many forms. With the curtain drawn closed on this crazy decade, this bedraggled Hog fan has hope where it once was not.
Sam Pittman’s sterling recruiting reputation and “coach’s coach” vibe—there’s a reason a couple of analysts felt it was far and away the best hiring of those made in the SEC, and maybe beyond—fits in well with a program that had sold out to a lot of false gimmickry.
Attentive fans know that Sam Pittman’s presence on Bret Bielema’s inaugural staff in 2013 was widely seen as a major coup. The amiable, energetic veteran had carved out quite a reputation as a master developer and recruiter of linemen. And guess what Arkansas football needs right now, more than ever?
Arkansas will soon have a new head football coach. A great deal of us have begged for such changes, and now it is finally here: a vacancy to be filled.
Brandon Allen toiled for multiple franchises, on and off practice squads, and had never seen the field for an NFL game. And then suddenly, fate intervened.
You’d be taxed to identify a worse month for a college football program than the one Arkansas just experienced in October 2019.
You don’t have to watch the previous six games of 2019 or any of 2018 to get up to speed; you can watch a single Razorback game, get a full-frontal picture of everything that is wrong within three tortured hours, and then continue or stop at your leisure. The tone rarely changes — it’s black comedy to the hilt — but the jokes always seem fresh.
Arkansas lost 31-27, and acquitted itself very well on the heels of the humiliation it just sustained against San Jose State. Alas, the team yet again could. not. freaking. FINISH. If this program needs a profound “culture change,” then yet another winnable game turned into an actual loss is not the ticket there.
Just do it already, Hunter. How could it possibly be any more disastrous than retaining this guy another minute?
The program appears absolutely lifeless, and I’ll stop short of saying “is already lifeless.” It has been consumed by a pervasive apathy that has been a byproduct of decades — not just years, mind you — of asinine personnel decisions followed by pecuniary choices that resemble a young child flailing about it in a toy store with a fistful of saved money that the kiddo cannot WAIT to irrationally spend. Reynolds Razorback Stadium has never been more expansive and impressive, and yet has had the paradoxical misfortune of never feeling so empty.
Chad Morris bragged of the speed with which his offense would operate. There was this incredulous moment at which the used and dingy Buick Skylark that represents Razorback football would suddenly veer into the passing lane and the Skylark would accelerate appreciably. You know, as if a blunt instrument was hitting the Earth with force. You might remember a certain prior Hog coach who spouted off some sort of huckstering nonsense about how he was presiding over the construction of a national champion, and then John L. Smith became infamous for equating urine temperature with success.
Chad Morris knows that whatever grace period he might’ve garnered as a first-year coach of a rebuilding program housed in a vicious division is now gone. A 2-10, 0-8 season in which the team was disjointed, outmanned, and ultimately just plain bad hastened the trial by fire.
Before we get into the meat of the 2019 schedule and assess whether Chad Morris’ second season on the sideline will be demonstrably better than his forgettable first one, we deal with the usual array of burning questions about the program as it tries to once again rescue itself from the dregs of the SEC.
It’s summer, and the only thing to do now is wait, and digest all the recruiting and preseason football and basketball news that comes to the fore.
We Razorback fatalists known as “fans” are mindful of the fact that just when you think the University of Arkansas’s flagship athletic programs are filling you with shameless optimism, disappointment is in the offing.
The road to Omaha starts in Fayetteville this weekend as the Razorback baseball team hosts a Regional.
As is common when a “coaching search” gets underway at the University of Arkansas—at this rate, it’s been about an average of every two or three years during my lifetime that either the basketball or football head coaching position has changed—the rumor mill churns at a feverish pace and almost always ends up being discredited for one reason or another.
Any epitaph on someone’s coaching tenure is customary rife with negativity. This coach disgraced the program by falling off a motorcycle, lying about the circumstances, and hiring a young blond with no conceivable credentials as his “aide.”
Arkansas has had a curious history in the SEC men’s basketball tournament. The 1994 national champs were ousted from it by a stellar Kentucky squad, and when that happened, it seemed to provide a spark as the Hogs spent the next three weeks wiping out their competitors to claim the ultimate crown.