A Sign of the Times

I have been a season ticket holder for both Fayetteville and LR (until we stopped playing there) since the early 1960’s. I think my first donation to the Razorback Club (Foundation now) was in 1973. Through the years, I would never miss a game. Work took me away from Arkansas in the 1980’s, but I still kept my tickets and my donation’s grew. My son in Russellville has gradually taken over some of that, but I certainly never missed a game on TV until last week.

After the first game of the year I Posted that we were in big trouble and that I feared it could not be fixed in 10 days (TCU). What I saw was very, very poor line play on both sides of the ball due mostly to poor, slow talent. I hate that I was even more right than I thought. I watched the SC game in disgust and then apathy. I did not watch or record the Bama game (first since the mid 60s). It hurts far to much to watch such a proud tradition act like this. Well, about 5 yesterday afternoon, I set the record for the game (I use to do that 2 wks before). I watched the first quater and half. It was obvious that we were far, far too slow to stay with Auburn (the fastest from LR by the way). My wife came in and I turned it off to enjoy the evening with her.

Will I watch Ole Miss? Maybe, but I expect the same mess. There is no hope when you have no line play.

This is just one fan’s story, but I fear it has infected far more than me. When a program loses fan’s like me, it is in deep trouble. Does Jeff Long care?

I’m sure Long cares but he’s put himself in a bad spot. His hire of CBB has proven to be bad. And now he has the job of moving him out and finding a replacement that will take over a bad, bad situation. That does not lend to hiring someone with proven (long term) Power 5 success.

Long has lots of explaining to do.

I don’t think it is a bad situation at all from a new coaches perspective, it is actually in better shape than when Petrino and CBB took the job. Since CBB was hired, the FOC and Jones Facilities have opened and new coach will have new stadium expansion and locker rooms ready to open 2018.

Recruiting has been steady with the last class showing some better athletes. It really depends on scheme as to what type players you need, but bottom line is that the Hogs are not much of a power team right now so may be easier to build the roster to whatever new schemes are used.

I feel your pain brother…I think we all do

We can’t run because teams are bringing the house and stunting so it is almost impossible to run. Normally you execute a quick passing game to keep the LB’s from blitzing. How did we get here? IMO this is a combination of losing our focus on the type of Oline needed to run Enos’s scheme, Pittman’s last 2 years of signees and CBB hiring a replacement that had no current recruiting relationships.

We started with Pittman’s big Olineman that were road graders but we switched to Enos’s scheme that required pulling lineman and that is not the type of Olineman we had. Do you remember the Texas Tech game in Fayetteville when Enos called plays requiring Kirkland and Tretola pull for screens? We looked terrible on offense until the screens were shut down after a few games.
CBB should have the Oline experience to have recognized this and made changes. Has anyone else noticed that our offense still has a history of damage by delayed blitzes and delayed run support? Other teams use quicker routes for the QB to unload to. Delayed blitzes have killed us under Enos.

Anderson is blamed for the failures in the Oline but he was right to coach technique, because 300-315 lbs OL have to rely on technique to neutralize the superior athlete or size on DLine. CBB is an Oline guru but he seemed to give Pittman and Anderson way too much freedom. I think we have some serious talent failures that choose not to play to their potential and it is killing our oline, offense and team. It is sad because the technique and scheme appear to have been thrown out the window to dumb it down for a few guys. The Oline isn’t comprised of Pittman road graders but we seem to still try to identify as smash mouth yet we also changed SOME of the offensive scheme? We are somewhere in between two offensive schemes.

Our offense is play action Pro Style (a passing game based on establishing the run) with tweaks of wide sets and screens from Enos. Our Oline is so bad the defense doesn’t respect the run SO play action isn’t a threat. Now we have WR’s that can’t get separation which makes it even worse. The LBs blitz = 7 rushing against 5 offensive linemen, we run slow developing play action routes, WR’s can’t get separation, thus AA or CK come under immediate pressure.

Our offense can change the whole dynamic if it can stay on the field and keep the defense from getting way too many snaps. I had hoped we would focus on the TE passing game until the WR’s get their act together. The TE is a quicker route to help reduce pocket time. I think O’Grady or Patton should be split out and have Cantrell block next to the tackle.

Where do we go for the rest of the season? Do we stop the insanity of using our Oline that has been built to stretch out the defense to be smash mouth with play action? CK is tall enough to see the middle of the field better than a majority of QB’s so the middle of the field passing opened up with him…and that opened up some running lanes. I doubt AA is back this week so does CBB and Enos change the play calling to quicker passes? OM is not a strong rush defense so that element could help our run game. We can lick our wounds against Coastal Carolina before LSU.

Makes a lot of sense. Question becomes, why did CBB allow that to happen to the Oline?

Jim, I agree with you and apathy runs rampant at the moment among long-time fans. It’s a shame what Hog football has become. I do think a new coach has a core to build on. There is some talent. There are serviceable receivers, a QB in the making, decent running backs, Scoota and Greenlaw are for real, as are Sosa, and a couple of DBs. I like CBB but he is not up to the task. Like you, I’m indifferent now about watching the games and will certainly not waste a weekend going to Northwest Arkansas to watch him get beat by 30 and still say we are close.