Before they were Cowboys...

I just got around to watching that SEC Storied. I’m happy to say that the '65 NC team was before my time since I’m getting to say that less and less with every year. I learned a lot.

Miscellaneous takeaways:

  1. I didn’t realize that Hatfield was as good a player as he was. I was not a fan of his offensive philosophy as a coach, but I can more fully appreciate him as a Razorback great now.

  2. My opinion of Jerry Jones was raised quite a bit as well. Most of what I knew about Jones was from the drama at Dallas, which didn’t leave me a big fan. Guess I’m a Johnson guy.

  3. Speaking of which, it’s still a kick in the kiwis every time I hear that Johnson wanted the Arkansas job twice and didn’t get it. What would Arkansas have looked like heading into the SEC if Johnson had been the head coach for a decade or more, assuming we had been able to hang onto him that long?

You assume Johnson would have achieved anywhere near the level of success here as he did at Miami. I seriously doubt that. Look at his Okie Lite record: 29-25-3. In a bad conference*. The definition of mediocre. How he landed the U job, I have no idea. But it put him in an incredibly fertile recruiting area (with boosters like Nevin Shapiro and Luther Campbell) and he took full advantage.

  • – Yes I’m aware he was in the conference with OU and Nebraska. But a halfway decent team could finish third in that league no problem. Or a less-than-decent team. JJ’s fourth OSU team finished 4-5-2 which was good enough for third in the Big Eight.

OSU had two 8+ win seasons since 1950 when Johnson got the job. Arkansas had 18. They had been 7-15 the two years before he arrived. They went 8-4 in his fifth and final season. They had their best team in the post-war period the year after he left. I’m sure he deserves a lot of the credit.

We didn’t have Miami’s recruiting base that he inherited, but Arkansas was a far better job than OSU at the time. I think it’s clear that Johnson is elite both at evaluating talent and X’s and O’s. He’s a better coach that Holtz or Hatfield and would probably have been more successful than either, and we were still much better than OSU over that span.

Jimmy by season in Stillpatch: 7-4, 3-7-1, 7-5, 4-5-2, 8-4. Winning, then losing. The year after he left they went 10-2 under our man Pat Jones. Pat’s OSU record in his first five years was way better than JJ’s (although a couple of guys named Thurman Thomas and Barry Sanders had something to do with that too). Pat recruited both Thurman and Barry.

Johnson got the program on solid ground for Jones. In his first five seasons Jones won 10, 8, 6, 10, and 10. I doubt it was the genius of Jones for program building. In the next six seasons he never won more than 4 games. In fairness they got put on probation. I know one of them took over a terrible team in the NFL and built a team that won three Super Bowls.

BTW Johnson was significantly more successful at Miami than Schnellenberger. JJ only lost 4 games in his final 4 years. As much as I believe Johnson is a great football coach, it would be an oversight to neglect that Schnellenberger set the table for him.

I’m going from memory & this all happened over 30 years ago, so take it for what it’s worth: Ken Hatfield had been just as successful at the Air Force Academy as JJ had been at OSU. Not sure who had the better W-L record, but Hatfield was considered very successful at the time. However, I also have a vague memory that Broyles was somewhat concerned about JJ’s willlingness to uh, “bend the rules” on recruiting. OSU was in trouble quite a bit in those days. How much of that was under JJ, I don’t recall, but I’m pretty sure Broyles considered JJ something of a risk. No doubt Johnson proved to be a great coach at Miami, but several people proved to be very good at Miami over the course of about 15-20 years.

JJ LOVED AR…that is not a characteristic we got with CLH, CBP, or CBB. He would’ve stayed forever! Anyone that says he was not a good coach is CRAZY!!! Was he the first coach to win a CFNC and an NFL SB?
How can anyone say he wasn’t a good coach!!! Won a CFB NC and an NFL SB… not doubt he was a GREAT coach. We most definitely should’ve hired him!!!

It seems to me that much of the oSu trouble happened during Pat Jones early tenure and was attributed to Jimmy, IIRC. (Think Hart Lee Dykes, et al)

Did anyone say he wasn’t a good coach?

[quote=“HogNDas”]
JJ LOVED AR…that is not a characteristic we got with CLH, CBP, or CBB. He would’ve stayed forever! Anyone that says he was not a good coach is CRAZY!!! Was he the first coach to win a CFNC and an NFL SB?
How can anyone say he wasn’t a good coach!!! Won a CFB NC and an NFL SB… not doubt he was a GREAT coach. We most definitely should’ve hired him!!!
[/quote]Calm down, HND . . . no one said he wasn’t a good coach.

I will say that Jimmy was not loyal to anyone or anything but . . . Jimmy. He was not “in love” with the U of A.

Sure, he’d have like to have coached here. It was his alma mater, but it was also one of the 10 best jobs in the country (at that time, without a doubt). But, as NEA has already alluded to, he was known for playing fast and loose with recruiting rules. He even got us a mild hand-slap for some irregularities recruiting a QB out of S. Oak Cliff that eventually went to Ohio State (Rex Gerald), and that happened when he was an assistant under Broyles. I’m not sure the two would have coexisted well in an Athletic Director/Head Coach dynamic. So, I expect Jimmy would have left for someplace else within a few years.

Ken Hatfield was indeed a great Razorback. He’d have been a legend had he never coached a down. Not only a great (nation-leading) punt returner, but just a great player. Perhaps the best player on that NC team. The punt return against Texas was simply huge. Razorback fans talked about it for years. It’s too bad most people who remember it are getting quite old or are dead now. I was still a young boy when it happened, but I didn’t see it–almost no one did. Heard it on the radio. However, it was all anyone talked about all season. I’ve talked to some Texas fans who remember that game the same way we remember the '69 Shootout.

There was a bidding war between A&M, OU, and OSU for Dykes that got them all on probation when he cooperated. Johnson was already in Miami when Dykes was recruited to OSU. Something tells me that OSU getting put on probation was about them finally challenging Nebraska and OU. I don’t doubt that they were cheating under Jones and Johnson as well, but cheating was fairly egregious at that time. Dickerson claims he had offers from every football program in the SWC, including Arkansas.

BTW my father was on campus at Arkansas in the mid-60’s. He claims that the football players were driving new cars. I don’t know if it was a tall tale that got passed around campus or not.