A Possible Clash of Coaching Skills

I would like to start a conversation on Muss’s seemingly clash of coaching skills. This is not meant in any way as criticism. Not at all. Just pondering what to me seems to be fact.
First we have all watched with amazement at the recruiting we have seen in the last three seasons of Hogs Hoops. Muss is amazing at finding and bringing on board a vast array of talent that fits his style of play. It is overwhelming compared to coaches past other than Nolan.
Second Muss is also a coach that finds it almost uncomfortable to play over eight players. Any player not in that eight plays very little and does not seems to improve. Then they leave. This is a pattern that I hope we can all agree on. And this season players 9-13 are going to be studs that would have started as freshmen or transfers most seasons.
I know this is like that in many schools. But how many schools have the unbelievable amount of talent that Muss will have next season. I am thinking all those players have playing right away in mind. That is just not going to happen.
I think we are just going to have to get used to players that we love leaving. I thought Chance had a bright future yet he could not get in a game, even in blowouts over lesser teams. That is just not Muss’s style.
I am just interested in hearing how everyone is viewing this and does it have the chance of hurting recruiting in the future, which with Council it seems to have had no affect.


I don’t see the ‘7-8’ guys as anything other than a preference not something in stone. He had guys that when he looked down the bench he did not have a lot of confidence. Not saying those guys couldn’t have developed over a year or 2. But this is what everyone wanted. Players didn’t want to wait to play, the flip side
that was unseen in that is coaches don’t want to wait either and don’t have too. So when the bench quality isn’t there for the coach to have confidence he can fix it fast. I think he will play more with this bunch.

And next year he will do it all again. And again and again.

It’s just unbelievable what Muss has done and the level of talent. I’m trying to wrap my head around this group. Somebody is not going to be a happy camper.

NOTE; BTW one bad game or hit somebody HOT and we could lose early in the Dance.

I think a lot of us are having some of these same thoughts.

I am hoping that he starts playing more players with a little more up tempo game. Knowing Muss, he will probably adjust his game plan based on the opponent. Some games play a deeper bench than others.

I don’t think Muss is doing anything different with his rotations as any other coach. I would suggest that you look at this years final 4.

Kansas had a 7 player rotation.
North Carolina 7.
Duke (even with all the McDonalds all Americans) went 7 deep and sometimes 8.
Villanova (due to injury) played 6, but all year Wright never went beyond 7.

No one really goes beyond a 7-8 player rotation except in blowouts.


I do not know whether Coach will expand the rotation but I get pretty fired up thinking about the competition and skill building that could occur with this many high level players in our practices. I am pretty certain this won’t make up for those not getting the court time they want or expect, but each of the players on the roster should really have the opportunity to build their skill set, even only through practice time.


Spot on! It’s hard to believe that fans want Muss to change the way he coaches after back to back Elite Eights.

Maybe fans don’t want to believe there are large drop-offs in talent between starters (or the top 7) and the rest of the team. This year especially, there really is. In fact, if you are looking at “NBA” talent only, there’s a decent drop-off between the top 3 freshmen and the rest of the team. There will also be a noticeable drop-off after our top 7 (or 8 with JWill).

In practice and early season games, he will search for this year’s freshman Devo. Maybe that will be Ford, and Muss will have 8 players with minimal drop-offs. Perhaps, one of the top transfers will disappoint and a freshman will pass him. When you get into SEC and tournament play where the point differentials will be 1 to 4 points, you cannot play noticeably less talented players significant minutes and expect to win.

There is one thing different for Muss this year. He’s never had 3 young players on one team with sure NBA talent in his college head coaching career. He’s never had a talent like Nick Smith. I’m anxious to see how he handles that.

I’ll bet he has an exact plan in his head right now! And I don’t think we will see any easily discernable difference in his coaching than in his last 2 seasons.


I don’t think he knows for sure exactly who those 7-8 will be, yet, but that’s the likely plan. Unless #9 makes it impossible to leave him on the bench, which is a good problem to have.


From everything I’ve read, Nick is all business and wants to be coached hard.


I agree. And because of that thought process, he will be an even better player (and he’s already great) after a year with Muss. He will also be a leader, as a freshman, for this team.


I don’t see a “clash” in his coaching skill.

He’s a great recruiter, because he markets his product well and he is a tremendous salesman. His background offers a lot to be desired for recruits. But he’s also taking advantage of the recent abundance of local and regional elite high school talent. Will this progress to recruiting elite talent on a national scale? We shall see. Obviously, he also does well in the portal.

As such, he has been able to stockpile his roster. Since it’s hard to predict injuries or even who will underperform, it’s best to stockpile what you can. Besides, iron sharpens iron in practice.

Yet his philosophy is, and likely always will be, that 7-8 players will log 90+% of the total minutes for the season. Minutes will likely be distributed more broadly in non conference play, and more narrowly beginning in January. But, regardless of roster makeup, it’s highly likely that no more than 8 players will average more than 10 minutes per game for the season. The rest will play spot minutes. Situational, based on foul trouble, injuries, etc.

As noted by others, many other coaches share this philosophy. Watching the South Regional this year court side, I saw Villanova, Houston, Arizona, and Michigan all play a similar rotation to ours. Saw the same when I watched Duke, Texas Tech, North Carolina, and Kansas.

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Walsh, Nick and Black are not “regional” recruits. AB had offers from Duke, Gonzaga, Kansas, Creighton, yadda yadda. Walsh had most of those and a few more on the left coast. Nick had Georgetown, Michigan, etc. Just because they chose to stay within six hours of home doesn’t mean we didn’t have to win a national recruiting battle to get them.


Richardson probably had the longest bench I can remember. Sutton experimented with “go go team”. Muss is no man’s fool and knows what he’s getting into. If the number 1 player in the nation isn’t getting it he will put him on the bench(don’t believe it’s gonna happen). He’s cooking the stew and I’ll enjoy eating it.

Yes, they are local (Smith) and regional (Walsh and Black), to the University of Arkansas. All in our backyard or close to it. Thus, local (or regional) recruits.

Of course they were all recruited by every program you named. They are all top 20 recruits.

But we haven’t landed a national, elite recruit yet, under Coach Muss…. I.e. DJ Wagner (Camden, NJ) or Kwame Evans (Baltimore, MD) from the class of 2023.

In my view it’s the coaching staff’s job to bring in the best talent it can. It’s the players’ jobs to earn their playing time. Players dictate that behind the scenes. Those who rise to the top will play. The others won’t unless they make a jump, and yeah, some kids will leave. Think the program as a whole is better for it. Hard to argue with how things have gone the last two seasons.


I can remember Dean Smith’s “blue team” at UNC; he’d run in five subs at a time, hockey style, and turn up the pressure on tired opponents. But you don’t see that much any more; maybe conditioning is better than it was in Dean’s day.

I do know this chemistry is very important and if you got several not happy about playing it can really make it difficult for the team to be as good as it could be bc they won’t practice hard against the starters…Muss has a challenge on his hands with all this talent …but would rather have talent no than no talent


I think the game has been altered with too many timeouts from coaches and tv, too many stoppages to look at monitors as well. The tempo run you in the ground style was really hurt buy those changes. How many games have you watched and the last 5 minutes took 30 minutes to finish because it was stopped too much. All that kills the flow for a running team and lets the opponent get rest.

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True that Muss played 8 most of the game, but many on the bench got to audition for that playing time. If you out-performed someone in the core 8, you got more playing time. If not, you fell farther down the bench. We had numerous players go in and out of the great 8 playing bunch. It was up to the individual to break in or fall out. Tough but fair coaching.

Muss is obviously a great college basketball coach. One of the things that Muss does really well is to take his professional experience and adapt it to the college game. When you can add an exceptionally good recruiter in both the transfer portal and with elite high school talent and add this that to his diverse professional experience, you have the making of a blue blood program.

Muss has never had anywhere near this much talent on his college roster. I would not be surprised if he expands his rotation. I think that the number of talented players will allow him to insert more players in critical time. I think that the combination of high school stars and veteran players from the transfer portal will hone all of the Razorback’s skills in summer pickup games.

Muss will have a lot options. I bet he will make good choices and basketball will return results not seen since the mid-90’s.

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