I believe what Bazzel and other constant observers like Clay tell us, but it’s also a function of inexperience – lots of it.
This is the worst Arkansas football has been – maybe ever. That’s not an exaggeration, that’s not a vent or a meltdown – the only time it came close to being this bad was that 3-8 nightmare of Jack Crowe and the Citadel opener loss two years later. Surely it does not need to be said again about what just happened the last two weeks.
During the Jack Crowe 3-8 1990 season, most of us were in shell-shock. Unlike now when we are all used to this, been watching it now for decades. But going back to 1990, as I’ve written many times before and as anyone with a memory knows, something like 3-8 had NEVER happened to Razorback Football. 5-6 was as bad as it could ever be, and that happened rarely. In fact going back to the mid-70s, 5-5-1 had been the worst, and from 1977 going forward the Hogs had never had a losing season.
So we didn’t know how to react really – we were in sheer disbelief. Surely the coaching was not that awful – it had to be some sort of aberration.
And we heard the constant refrain that Coach Hatfield had left the cupboard bare, that it was all his fault. That Coach Crowe was not to blame; this was all Kenny Hatfield’s fault with his awful recruiting, etc. I sure bought into it – made sense to me. We all knew Coach Broyles would never make the wrong hire.
I remember chatting with the late Al Witte – law professor and long-time U of A NCAA Faculty Representative after the Hogs had lost to Texas Tech at home 49-44. I was repeating the refrain that this was all about poor recruiting by Coach Hatfield, whom I loved dearly, and it was going to take Jack Crowe time. He looked at me and said, “Texas Tech scored 42 points in the first half!?! 42 points against our defense in one half!?!” That’s all he said, as he had a way of doing.
I remember wondering if it could be possible that poor coaching had anything to do with that.
Does any of this sound familiar almost 30 years into the future?
I’ve been towing the party line for my entire life, and I’ve been drinking the Kool-Aid – but no more. Our football program is simply awful – it has sunk to depths that at one time were unimaginable. Coach Nutt brought winning back after a decade in the wilderness, but it wasn’t good enough – and so here we are.
I’m not going there that this is all Coach Bielema’s fault. Sure he bears some responsibility, but there’s a lot more to this than Coach Bielema ran this into the ground. There are a lot of people to blame – and it’s not just coaches.
I know after every loss until Morris somehow finds a way to win, he will be defended by many with a vengeance who will say it’s all the old coach’s fault – give him time. Sorry, that’s not my soothing salve any more – blaming the old coach for everything is not working for any more. Been there, done that.
Wally doesn’t get much right, but he got it right when he said we’ve been hearing this for 7 years and are sick of it.
And let’s be honest – we’ve been hearing this for 27 years – and we are sick and tired of it.
What else is there to say, we are just at the beginning of a nightmare that will be over around Thanksgiving. My only question is how long does this circus-coaching-show continue? Do they turn it around at some point – I admit it’s possible — people do bad jobs in this life and those who are good know how to turn it around and often do? And if not, how long do we endure this ugly spectacle – another 4 to 5 years as some say?
Really – after enduring this mess for 27 years, are all the Hog faithful and donors willing to sit patiently through another 5 years of 2-10, 1-11, 4-8, 6-6, and 3-9 – or some sort – to then be told – “this Coach didn’t get it done, but we are committed to winning – so here we go again in 2023…” So our faithful are going to wait patiently and contentedly until 2023 – if necessary – to see if the ugly mess continues?
Fact is donations to the Razorback Foundation and ticket sales are going to plummet. I know it sounds good and noble to say there are loyalists who will be there and who will increase their donations even if the Hogs go 1-11 every year from now until the end of time. But it’s just not so.
Probably what will happen when the individual donors pack it in after one losing season after the other is the prime seats are all going to be gobbled up by the big companies in Northwest Arkansas – which will change even more about Razorback Football.
Sorry to tell it like it is, but these things need to be said.