Here is some straight talk . . .

. . . in no particular order.

>I tried to warn you guys that this CSU game was going to be a difficult challenge for this particular Razorback team (viewtopic.php?f=4&t=20174&p=142461&hilit=csu#p142461). I know it’s not what you wanted to hear, or believe; it isn’t what I want to believe, either. But that doesn’t change what is. It’s not that CSU is “that good”. It’s that we’re - well - we’re not either, and road games early in a new regime are often not very successful. All the warning signs were there, for anyone who looked objectively.

>The truth is that though I’d, of course, rather have won the game . . . the loss doesn’t really upset me as much as it usually would. Why? Because I never expected too much from this year’s team. After all, this is, essentially, last year’s team without some of the senior leaders we had on that squad. We’re playing with new QB’s and a short deck in the OL So we were never going to do too much anyhow. 6 wins was the ceiling for this team, but I never considered that number of wins as my “expectation”. I went in saying 4 or 5 - maybe 6 (if all broke right) - and i still feel that way.

>Remember that B. Petrino’s first season was only 5 wins. We looked terrible in winning the first two games that year - we were really fortunate to win either of them. And we didn’t look much better for a while. Then, in the last half of the year, we started being more competitive, even though we were out-manned in many of the games. That’s all I’m hoping to see this year - an increased understanding by the players of what it is that Morris and company are trying to do on offense and defense, hard effort, and competitiveness. If, by the end of the year, I can see improvement from this early stage, I will deem that satisfactory.

>I know everyone is tired of losing and desperately wants to celebrate wins and be competitive with the rest of the SEC. I feel the same way. But it is absurd and unrealistic to have expected too much from this group this year, with the personnel we had coming back, and understanding that any time you change both the offensive and defensive scheme, there is a learning curve that is not trivial and cannot be avoided.

>I really, really hope that Morris uses the rest of this season as an extended Spring practice . . . an on-the-field laboratory to play any and everyone against live competition and learn who he can depend on over the next couple of years. If we win 2 or 5 games, it matters little to me. What does matter is that we improve, find out who are dependable players are, and get everyone fully indoctrinated with the playbook for next season. I’d hope to see more of the freshmen QB’s, for one example. I’m of the opinion that our starting QB next season will be neither Storey nor Kelly. It will be one of the 3 freshmen on the team now - or a QB coming in with this upcoming recruiting class. So play all of the freshmen in live situations now, and see who steps forward.

>I am not down on this coaching staff. At least, not at this time. I’ll give them all of this year and toward the end of next year before I even really start to evaluate them as on the field coaches. Right now, we are seeing what happens when a new coaching staff inherits mediocre talent (relative to the conference they are in) and installs a totally different offensive and defensive scheme. These kinds of results are predictable in year 1.

>My continued hope is that this staff can recruit at a high level and bring in talent suited for their program. This 2019 class will be the first indicator of that, and the 2020 class will be THE key class. How well they recruit and coach up those two classes will ultimately tell the tale. I still feel good about that.

>It will be hard for most to do, but I plan to approach the rest of the season with a “I don’t expect anything but good effort and improvement” mentality, without focusing too much on wins and losses. Perhaps that mindset can make what is sure to be a string of losses less painful. Now, that’s THIS season - not a permanent change. I still want - badly - to win big. And I’m still foolish or naive enough to think it can be done here. But it won’t happen this year, and I’m not going to beat my head on the concrete expecting it to.

Great post. I agree with almost all the points.

I will say this…and Fitz Hill just made this point (I respect Fitz…just not his colleagues on the post game show)…I think Chad and his offensive staff got too cute…working on aspects of the offense they knew they would need down the line…when honestly, if we had just decided to pound them with Devwah relentlessly, I think we score AT LEAST one more TD. We squandered chances in the red zone.

I think that it’s a fair observation that with all of the learning and transitioning that the players have to do, the coaching staff is adjusting as well. I won’t argue that they called anything approaching a perfect game tonight. There is blame to go around.

The frustration all goes back to the Mizzou and VT losses and then last year.

I think the vast majority of fans know it’s a rebuilding process and will take time. You’re looking at two years of trying times for the fans and then lose a game you shouldn’t have, it’s magnified. If the QB play doesn’t improve, it will be a very long season and the frustration will get worse. I know it’s hard to be patient, but you have to and hope the end result is what all Hog fans want.

Exactly. And angry, disappointed fans want SOMEONE to pay for their frustration. It’s an understandable reaction.

But, as you point out, they personnel on hand, and the slide toward mediocrity, precede the current staff. They are not able to start with a clean slate and suddenly import 85 new players - they must play the hand they inherited and gradually change the composition of the roster. And in addition to the talent level they inherited, someone else to remember is that they inherited a team whose upper-class leadership has those disappointing losses/meltdowns burned into their memories. Sure - they do the best they can to put a new mindset into the team. But those disappointments are lingering in the teams’ mind.

As I stated - I will give them a couple of years and judge them on improvement - not competing for an SEC West title right away. Of course, that’s where we ALL want to be. But Rome wasn’t built in a day, as the saying goes.

Petrino’s first team was 5-7, not 4-8, but that’s a little thing.

I agree with Wiz. This team is fascinating for me to watch, because of the uniqueness of the situation, but high expectations are not the reason why. I really wanted to know whether Bielema’s players had been undercoached. I’m certain that if Chad Morris cannot make much of this roster, Bielema would have been worse not better. Problem is Bielema didn’t intelligibly recruit for any particular system.

I’m unimpressed that the Hogs went into game one with two redshirt freshmen on the left side of the Oline and went on to absolutely struggle to rush the football against an inferior opponent. Illinois State ran for 350 yards against EIU. That was weird. Signs of odd preparation.

Tonight it looked as though Arkansas practiced the run all week and neglected the pass. Our offense lacked any kind of high-percentage element in the passing game, in practically any down/distance situation. Ty Storey was supposed to be the passer, but he was so late and/or behind his receivers, it was like last week never happened.

It’s a different thing, taking somebody else’s players and adapting them vs. plugging players recruited for specific skills into roles designed for them. If any coach is great at such a thing, it only matters a short while. It’s not the skill that decides whether that coach will succeed long term.

We see Arkansas stuck in the middle between being able to do what the coaches want to do and compromising everything to fit the available talent. We have seen glimpses of very good surrounded by passages of suck. Maybe if we hadn’t seen any glimmers, I’d be more depressed about this game. Instead it feels a lot like the Ole Miss game in 1984. We tied a winnable game, and it felt like, I guess we’re really going to be ordinary. And the Hogs were, for a season. Those coaches did a lot of make-do to get that team to a bowl game.

I’m not sure why everybody was so confident about a road game against an FBS opponent that throws the ball all over the lot and plays its games at 5,000 feet. I see proclamations that this is the worst loss ever, crap like that. It’s hooey. We’re coming off 4-8, and we do not have a clear leader at QB. Our offensive line is a serious work in progress. Two of our three best defensive players are out. How the heck is someone supposed to set expectations going into this? I find it fascinating because - to me - it was so unpredictable. This wasn’t a low-probability outcome, folks.

Now I am intrigued about how CM and staff will change personnel and plans and preparation. How will Arkansas deal with a North Texas team that scored more than 100 points in the first two games? If you were unaware of what a threat UNT was before now, surely you are catching on.

Maybe I should not be shocked to find some fans diving off the deep end after a loss in game two of Morris’s time at Arkansas, but it is disappointing.

Randy, good post and you are right about the threat of NTSU. I said earlier this week they will likely beat Arkansas and some scoffed at that.

NTSU will likely be favored in Fayetteville and are a better team than Arkansas. Let that sink in for a bit.

Everybody needs to put on their big boy pants and prepare for a lengthy, hard, and what is sure to be a frustrating rebuild process.

CSU==Rutgers with prior staff.

Will be interesting to watch this staff work to get things corrected. I hope to see more hammer down because being the nail is not so much fun.

Coach focused on how we finish and unfortunately we did just like the last two years. Narrative on that has to change because it will be harder to attract the talent and fan support if we continue down this road. I am pulling for them to do so and want them to succeed in big way.

You can put this loss solely on the coaching staff. Players weren’t prepared nor was the coaching staff.
You don’t fly back and forth to Texass to watch your son play and concentrate on the task at hand at the same time.

It’s a bad look especially when the graphic is shown on national TV.

I sure hope a member of the media will bring this up to CCM, that’s a great Bob Holt question.

hint hint


I just picked North Texas in our magazine.

Arkansas is now 5-11 in its last 16 games.

Not good and thus all the frustration is warranted.

It will get better, but not sure that will happen this season.

I had 5-7 or 6-6 depending on the Colorado State

I landed on 6-6 after watching the Rams.

I think I am now at 3-9 as I have taken North Texas and Ole Miss out of the win column.

As mentioned in another thread, I don’t have a problem with him going to see Chandler at all.

I would do the same thing with the private planes that are afforded him.

God forbid he be a dad.

So true, all the more reason to go young at QB and other positions…

Yep - CMM should not have publicly made fun of Bielema for going 4-8. Don’t write checks with your mouth…

Self inflicted PR problem.

PS Not beating Vandy either.

He wasn’t making fun of BB he just stated the truth “Arkansas should never go 4-8”, we may be worse this year but it still shouldn’t happen at Arkansas but CMM has to recruit us out of the mess that BB got us into. Based on the Hogs performance and how the rest of the SEC has looked we could improve game by game and still be 1-6 going into the Tulsa game, unfortunately this is the seventh year of “wait until next year”.

I agree he inherited a mess, but not wise to repeatedly say Arkansas should never go 4-8 unless you are dang sure you aren’t going to do what you’ve publicly said should never happen… just not a smart thing to say.

Let the first one among us who has not said some dumb, uh, stuff, cast the first stone.

Wiz, you’re always the voice of reason. Excellent post. The only point I disagree (or disagreed) with you about was this CSU game. I’d decided after last week we’d win this game, perhaps handily. I was wrong.

You’re exactly right about how we should view this season. It’s not about W&L’s as much as we want the W’s. It’s about improving & getting in players to fit CCM’s approach.

Lest anyone forget, Nolan Richardson, the best BB coach the UA has ever had, had two terrible first seasons with players who didn’t fit his system & at he’d inherited some pretty good talent from Sutton. No one thinks Morris inherited adequate talent. I have no idea if he’ll be a good, great, or terrible coach, but I sure as heck don’t want to judge him on this year. Even less do I want to judge him by what happened last night.

It’s a game we should have won going away. We are bad but CSU is awful.

I’m not going to judge him on it other than he coached scared and that’s the biggest reason Bielema failed.

I was completely shocked when he punted. He was begging to get beaten when he did that.

This has always been a season “in the laboratory.” Most had hoped for the best, but as Dudley said, I’m not sure you can count on more than two more wins and maybe not even that. That’s disappointing. Seeing another collapse is frustrating. The page has not turned yet and doesn’t look like it will be soon. Improvement is the most important word to keep in mind for the rest of the season. These coaches need time. Give them a chance.