I am sad that our fanbase is so fractured. I'm scared of the long term damage.

Our fan base is the only one I know of that has had the series of crazy coaching blunders that has divided a fan base to this degree. HDN took Ford’s players did great things and then couldn’t win with his own players. I loved that HDN was an ARKANSAS guy and many fans loved him and especially in Central Arkansas. HDN could motivate but he was not a good coach. He was a Cheerleader for Central Arkansas and WMS. Enter Malzahn via pressure from the NWA super church of Ronnie Floyd, Shiloh Christian, and SHS. Malzahn created a following that was as emotional as HDN’s following, but conversely Malzahn was a NWA cheerleader. Malzahn created a package deal with his Springdale players that was counter to the ethics he and his supporters espouse.

HDN was forced to accept Malzahn so he and his coaches treated Malzahn badly. It was hard for me personally because I loved HDN, but started to see his problems. I liked Malzahn at first but didn’t know how bad the dynamic was between HDN and Malzahn. Many fans chose sides and it came down to planes flying banners about HDN. HDN was fired and took off to rival Ole Miss to have immediate success with Orgeron’s players. Our fan base was divided into HDN vs. Malzahn and a worsening of the Central Ark vs NWA divide.

We hired Petrino and his checkered past while we struggled to get by with HDN’s players in Petrino’s offense. Petrino was fortunate to have a stellar recruiting class since Tim Horton was kept on staff after HDN’s firing. Petrino attracted Mallett, Adams and Wilson to come add to the signing class and it immediately paid off. Petrino wasn’t able to recruit if there wasn’t a great Arkansas HS class of talent. Petrino’s ethics and behavior caught up to him and almost ruined our program. Smile is a mess that isn’t all his fault because he was in a terrible situation. Eventually the house of cards was exposed when the under classmen were so low in talent during Smile’s season.

Petrino forced the hands of the UA to fire him after he would not accept some punishment and that seems to be forgotten by his fans. I was one of his fans and fought the immediate backlash against him, UNTIL the evidence came out. Many fans loved the swagger and wins that came with Mallett and Wilson throwing to Adams, Childs, Gragg, Wright, etc. We were in the top 5 for a bit one season- it felt good and fed the chips on our Arkansas shoulders. Petrino was worshipped in Arkansas. He had just finished a 3 season run that was one of our best ever when the motorcycle crash happened with a blonde on the back of the bike.

Wheels were set in motion that forced our hands to punish him or fire him. Very seldom does a coach get FIRED when he is winning and going to BCS bowls, so our predicament was rare. Our fan base was ALREADY divided into HDN vs. Malzahn and a worsening of the Central Ark vs NWA divide. The firing of Petrino created another division in the fan base that took a harsh turn, because HDN loyalists said I told you so, Malzahn loyalists tried to force him to be the new Head Coach. Everyone was pointing fingers and trying to tear down the other segment of the fan base. We ceased to be Hog fans and broke into camps of HDN, Malzahn and Petrino with some duplicity in the “Hate Long” camp.

We needed a great coach with a pedigree to come in and heal the fan base. We were fortunate to hire Bret Bielema and any other fan base would have been giddy with his hiring. Not ours. We are too divided to be happy with anyone unless each segment gets their man back; but that isn’t realistic with our divisions being so deep that NO single coach other than Saban would unify this fan base. The same deep divisions that won’t be happy with anyone unless their man is brought back, is creating constant bickering and tearing at the scab so it won’t heal. The Petrino loyalists are out in full force before this week because he is winning big at Louisville this season. The Malzahn loyalists were quiet because Malzahn was on the hot seat, but now his team is on a roll and so are his loyalists.

AU beat us in a manner that turns my stomach because I know it will pick at the scab worse than ever. Bielema is encountering challenges but I think he is a solid coach and any other fan base would be happy. Not ours. How do we heal this fan base if we aren’t an ARKANSAS RAZORBACKS fan base anymore because of the skewed loyalties? Can this fan base ever support a good coach? Can this fan base handle a hiccup when divisions are more than willing to get on radio shows and message boards to flood them with negativity. The negativity is always tainted with, “we should have hired Malzahn, we shouldn’t have fired Petrino, we shouldn’t have fired HDN”, etc. The casual fans (that don’t understand the divisions are still raw) can be influenced by this negativity if they periodically check in on message boards and radio shows to hear the negativity. The negativity in the fan base is overwhelming progress because of the divisions. Can we heal? Can we support progress even when there are hiccups or failures? How many coaches are we going to burn until we recognize our pyschosis? It feels like one division of our fan base is always on fire with anger to tear down the other divisions of our fan base. What should we do?

I thought Petrino needed to be fired and did not want Malzahn hired…I wanted us to roll the dice on Willie Taggart as an up and comer because I thought hiring a young, successful African American coach might help change the recruiting dynamics all of our coaches have dealt with - but I digress.

I supported Bielema, but I have real concerns the progress he keeps alluding to is real. I see glaring holes in talent and depth that should not be there in year 4. I see us falling further behind most of our divisional peers and not closing the gap. I don’t care about Petrino or Malzahn. I care about a program that’s supposed to be be built on a solid foundation of great line play just gave up an SEC record for rushing yardage and can’t run the ball against good teams.

We are NOT a physical football team … we market ourselves as one. That’s a huge problem and indicative of poor recruiting and development.

I don’t think the fanbase is “fractured.” I think people are upset the team has taken a step backward after showing progress for two years. When a coach wins, everyone is happy with his job performance.

You’ve been living in a parallel universe if you have not witnessed the fracturing. CBB has to make changes but this is not a unified fan base that will support in a unified manner.

I think the majority of our fans have no loyalty to anything other than our Hogs and don’t care about the coaches. The divisions are still there though. I too am concerned with the whiffs on talent for the Oline, LB, Safety and Corner. I think Robb Smith, CBB and Rhodes need to get in a room and fix the defensive scheme.

It’s no different at Arkansas than any place else. Fans are the same everywhere. High ticket prices and high prices for the ticket priority exists everywhere. It’s not cheap anywhere. That leads to high expectations and lots of noise when the team does not win.

How many college fanbases have had a coach fired after 3 winning seasons for terrible ethics and behavior, which a part of the fan base can’t forgive the UofA for firing their coach? Coaches are fired for losing and the fan base is sick of them by that time, so it isn’t a terribly divisive issue for the fan base. How is it that our situation isn’t different and problematic enough that we need to acknowledge it and try to heal it?

This fan base is not fractured. We are just tired of not being relevant. Any fan base who has suffered like ours is going to be upset when it looks like we are turning the corner, then we just look horrible and get humiliated by Auburn.

A fractured fan base is what we had when Houston Nutt was the coach. Half the fans still liked him and the other half couldn’t stand him. It is like our political parties today. Now that is fractured.

Unfortunately it’s part of being in the SEC West. Auburn fans were the same just a few weeks ago. Now it’s a completely different board.

Ohio State fired Jim Tressel for poor ethics, went through a couple of NCAA probation years and is back on track with a new coach, albeit an all-time great. Penn State is on a similar path, but on a smaller scale. The point is, when a coach wins, people forget about what they were upset about before he got there. If Bielema wins, fans will stop bringing up the past, or at least they should.

I think you are right for the most part. If BB wins big, nothing else will matter. That said, in our case (not totally unique, but different from average) we have an ex-coach who is still coaching and winning big time. That makes it easier for some fans to be divisive. If we were 8-0 or 7-1 right now, it wouldn’t matter what BP was doing, you are right about that. It was that way the first two years after Nutt left. A very large pro-Nutt faction was very loud in how we had messed up. Nutt was winning at Ole Miss and BP was not winning his first year, and doing only OK in the second. By the next two years? The pro-Nutt people had shut up for the most part. Nutt wasn’t winning at Ole Miss and BP was winning big time at UofA. Then BP had a wreck, and the crap started back up again.

If BB could get us to winning 9 to 10 games a year (or better) there won’t be much division.

But for now, it is unique that we have a fan base that is not just “the old coach vs. the new coach” but old coach 1, old coach 2, guy who was never the coach and current coach camps. That appears to me to be unique.

you are exactly right. every fan base is going to have factions in it that want this or that coach (maybe no Alabama), and then losses occur those frustrations are vocalized. if they fan base was truly fractured, then we would not be filling the stadium. Winning cures everything.

We have a VERY unique situation with portions of the fan base fighting for their favorite coach. It would help if everyone would think Hogs first like the other part of the fan base does when they complain or brag.

A much bigger threat to the program is poor recruiting, lack of development, poor retention, etc. This program may be doing a good job with keeping players out of jail on the honor roll, but it’s falling behind on the field with respect to talent.

Agree Matt; if a coach can win 9 to 11 games two to four times a decade and always be competitive (winning seasons) the fans will all get on board.

Tried to post something similar much earlier in this thread but got locked out and have just been able to get back on the board.

I see record sell out crowds. I see renovation projects left and right in almost every sport. I see our football team contributing the majority of those funds. I see no fracture. I see some disgruntled fans, but you’ve lost your mind if you think the Arkansas faithful is fractured. That’s just crazy talk.

We just lost 56-3 and every Arkansan knows it because we aren’t fractured. If we were fractured 1/2 the state wouldn’t even know we played or who our DC is that gave up 545 yards. Everyone knows because EVERYONE CARES!!

We’re no different than any other fan base. Go read OM’s board & Tennessee 's board last week.

Exactly

It’s laughable or sad that everyone on here acts like the fan base is fine. You can talk to the fans all around you DWRRS and they all talk about the Malzahnistas and BP lovers that stir the pot and cause trouble. You get on here and it’s almost like group think.

Hog Treat, I don’t know about your Hog social circle but in mine, there is no fracturing of the fan base. Nobody likes getting beat by 53 points but I don’t know anyone calling for a head coach change or even doubting CBB. There seems to be a lot of folks saying we need a different DC but that doesn’t equate to fracturing.