it's about recruiting

I remember a couple of years ago Rob Smith being considered so great that he should be paid whatever he wants to keep him around. Then we lose a couple of guys to the NFL, and people are wanting him replaced. Miss St. a couple of years ago was the number 1 team in the nation towards the end of the season. Notre Dame and Oregon were both in the NC game not that long ago. Now those teams, with the same head coaches, are greatly struggling. Strong was winning 10 to 11 games a year at Louisville, and now he may be let go after three below 500 seasons at Texas. And those are just a few of the virtually endless examples. So, what happened? Did all these coaches just forget how to coach? Because if coaching matters as much as everyone tells me it does, then I guess that would be the only explanation. I think the more probable answer as to what has happened to these once successful and winning coaches is that coaching is overrated. The only thing that has changed is the players. It’s not so much about coaching. It’s about recruiting.

I am no football coach, I cannot bully anyone around with X’s & O’s while discussing the merits of any football coach. However I can watch a football game for 10 minutes and recognize a well coached team from a poor coached team. You watch Alabama play Ole Miss and LSU, the Alabama RB’s go down after taking a good lick just like any RB in any old game. When Alabama plays the Hogs, the Alabama RB’s look like superman while shedding off missed tackles by the Hogs. That is bad coaching. I will not argue the value of good recruiting with you. However a team must have both, good recruits & coaching. I don’t know about the Hogs? Maybe they are missing both but I can see the coaching deficient with the Hogs. Not aggressive tackling.

Yet Rob Smith’s first year as DC, our defense was one of the best in the nation. Why could they coach then but not now? If the only difference is the players, then that tells me it’s the players.

You wish to get into all the analytic gears of why so good one year and then lousy thereafter. There are many factors that could come into that picture. Maybe just as simple as a coach that was highly motivated to have a job in the SEC and then cooled to that challenge which could be in itself attributable to many factors. Then you have the fact that the first defensive unit Smith coached at Arkansas had been previously coached by Chris Ash & Charlie Partridge and most in that unit had probably also been coached by defensive coaches of Petrino’s staff. That defensive unit had a lot of coached techniques & methods from many football minds to fall back on in any football defensive situation they found themselves in on the field.

Anyhow, tackling is just hitting hard & wrapping up. You do that at 200 pounds and over, any RB is going down. Failure to do so just looks like poor coaching to me.

The defenses under CBP were never very good, and the two years after he was let go were even worse. The defense was pretty bad when Ash was the DC. Perhaps the previous coaching just started to have an effect by the time Smith got there. I guess you could also say that Ford’s coaching only started to have an effect right when Nutt got there, and that’s why we were so good Nutt’s first year after going 4-7 the two previous seasons. By the way, didn’t Ash’s Rutgers team get beat 78-0 by Michigan recently? Perhaps his coaching will kick in a few years from now, and they’ll have a good team. In that case, how does one explain why some coaches have good teams almost immediately, like Harbough at Michigan, yet other coaches have a very long delayed effect whereby the players only get good right when the coach is let go as you seem to be saying?

How can it be that a coach like Holtz can be so successful, yet be 0-11 his first year at SC? I wouldn’t think he would have cooled to the challenge in just his first year. If coaching matters so much, then how can a coach be so good in one season yet be so bad in another? The idea that their coaching ability just comes and goes and then sometimes comes back again doesn’t seem very plausible to me. The drastic fluctuations demand another explanation. What we find is that going from winning a lot to losing a lot is always correlated with turnover in the players. That tells me that the change in players is responsible for the wild swings, which would mean that coaching, important as it is, is nonetheless, overrated.

What I noticed their freshman looked juniors in school. While our freshman looked like high schoolers . Never really noticed that before! Wow!

Ford’s players and coaching sure seemed to have a carryover aftereffect on Nutt’s coaching ability in his first two years at Arkansas. An overall effect that even logically diminished from Nutt Year One to Nutt Year Two in team success. Those first two teams in Nutt’s first two season at Arkansas were the absolute only two that were two dimensional with Stoerner at QB. Nutt never developed a QB after Stoerner worth a darn as a passing threat in his next 8 years at Arkansas. Sure appears to be strong evidence of a coachiing carryover there. Just think NC with a Stoerner type QB plus McFadden & Jones in the same backfield with Hillis to boot.

I think coaching & talent are tied together as almost equal percentage partners in a winning program. Anyhow, after four recruiting cycles. Who is responsible for inadequate talent being here to coach? The same person responsible for both coaching & recruiting. The $3 Million dollar buck stops with Bielema.

Good post ! We have to tackle better on defense and the O-line has to protect the QB starting Monday morning in practice! WPS

I agree that it is sloppy play and 5 turnovers is directly related to coaching. We cannot expect AA to perform top notch if he is beaten half to death in a game. The OL must do better or change it or something! What we are doing now is not working against SEC teams. HOGS YA’LL.

You have to look at the offer list of many of the defensive players from Ole Miss and LSU and compare them to our current starters on defense. Homegrown and regional talent are big contributing factors in that both states are strong areas for recruiting highly talented players unlike the smaller populated state of Arkansas. We have the commitment of safety Montaric Brown from southern Arkansas. His talents are an example of the types of players you get out of those proud states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and Texas. We majority of the time just do not get access to these players in the same way unless they are from Arkansas. When the Hogs win or valiantly compete, it most absolutely have to do with coaching based on our recruiting rankings within the SEC, especially the SEC West. I have to believe that Coach Beliema is seeing this as a reality now after the A&M and Bama games whereas the Hogs stayed valiant in defeat to both very talented SEC squads.

My hope is not so much as his coaching as he is getting the best outcome with more 2nd half improvement on defense and the OL to come, but that he is also steadily exploring various recruiting strategies in order to move up in the SEC recruiting rankings.

Good post.

IMO losing players to injury or the NFL plays a major factor in our success.
We have some players. But we DO not have the depth that a team like Alabama has. They are just stacked with players that when one gets hurt you just put in another player.
When we lose one OL one year, a running back the year befor, 3 DL another year and a running back in another. That’s just covering 3 or 4 years. Sure the Tide can have 3 DL
or 4 go in the 2nd round but the difference is they have More depth. I guess I have finally come to the realization WE are a small state and only produce 10+ D-1 players every year.
I don’t know the average number per year but it’s by far the fewest of the teams in that upper group we are trying to reach. The question remains how do we get there?
Better recruiters and coaches. It was a perfect storm for the 1964 team in FB and the 1994 team in BB. Read that again folks. 1964 to 1994 to the present. A lot of coaches have never made it there.
Somehow we have got to keep every player in state. Then we need a few of those to be a D-Mac, OR lets say special. Then we have got to dig into some area like Texas or somewhere
and get not only better players BUT more players that are game changers. CBB IMO is a good man and a good coach. Examples, Frank Ragnow and being out in the middle of the field making a point to a ref.

Take our line from last year and yesterday’s game would have been different. Or grab the 3 special players from 2 years ago on defense and it’s a different game.
So our problem is we have no room for error or we’re in trouble.

It’s less about the X’s and O’s and more about the Jimmies and Joes.

We’ve had some good coaches in fifty years. The best finish we’ve had since the Broyles era was Holtz’s first year. That was forty years ago.

Holtz was fired for failing in recruiting. Yet he goes on to win a national championship at Notre Dame where he had no problem attracting better athletes.

Nutt benefitted greatly from two big time Arkansas athletes. Matt Jones, and DMAC. Just think if he had just a little more depth during that six year stretch. However his best team was probably in '98 with Danny Ford’s players.

Petrino ran into the same problem. He out coached most teams but when we were out matched physically we faltered mightily. The Bama and LSU games and even the Ohio State game we looked out matched physically.

By the way. I don’t think Petrino would have stayed very long here any way. He would have jumped to a bigger program by now. So those who worship him need to know he was here to coach and resurrect his career. He had no love for what it means to be a Razorback.

At least Broyles, Hatfield, Nutt, loved being Razorbacks and I believe Beliema does too. He certainly has made the effort to represent our program in an honorable way.
But I digress…

So here we are in the SEC west fifty years since we were really considered a top ten team. So arkansans need to ask themselves. Do you need to keep cycling through coaches here. Maybe Arkansas is what it is. A good program that may from time to time have a real good year. But still not a great program. Maybe if we can hang on to a guy like Bielema and maintain a consistent identity then just maybe we might have a chance to build up to top ten level again. Kind of like Tom Osborne at Nebraska.

That my take as someone who has lived through these five decades of Arkansas football.

If we start the talk of coaches being on the hot seat. Then no one will consider committing to us and then the cycle of mediocre will continue.

It has not been 50 years since “we were really considered a Top 10 team.” 50 years was 1966. Arkansas was a yearly Top 10 finisher with Hatfield in the late 1980’s. Just a little over 25 years ago.

Arkansas had Ford after Hatfield who was fired by Broyles after two 4-7 seasons. Then we had a scandal plaqued program for the next 15 years with Nutt & Petrino. Nutt always providing a one dimensional limited offense for a large part of that 15 years. I agree with Petrino not destined to be the Razorback coach much longer, I think the floozy motorcycle rides with his girlfriend were directly due to Hog Nation discontent.

Now after all that junk that gave us little chance to win big since Ford. We have this coach that can not develop an O-Line or SEC caliber of defense now going on four years. You say be happy with that. I say no way.

I’ll let the folks decide. We’ve have a few top ten finishes sprinkled in but we have NOT been considered a perennial top ten team since the late sixties. By the early seventies we were ranked early a couple years but had disappointing seasons. I liked Hatfield but we were not a great team nationally by the mid eighties. The SWC was already in it’s decline. We had one really good team and that one got manhandled by Troy Aikman and UCLA in the Cotton Bowl. I was there.

EDIT: We also lost most of our bowl games too which further makes my point

It has not been 50 years since the Hogs were relevant in the Top 10. Yearly was obviously my memory making the heart grow fonder. At least I do not want to write off a lot of good Hog football teams of the 70’s & 80’s just to alibi the poor performance of the present day Hog coach as you apparently wish to do.

Free, not trying to start anything, but Ash left here and went to tOSU as a DC. They beat Alabama and won the NC. Their D looked pretty good that year. So, he can coach, and apparently he can coach pretty good against Bama. The difference as someone said is players. Yes, getting good coaching matters, but so does talent. A good coach looks bad when outmatched by better team with better players.

Perennial top ten I believe is the key phrase. Perennial top ten means like Alabama, Ohio State, USC, Michigan. Being in the top ten more than your not.

I’m the one that says it’s mostly the players, and Ash having success at OSU just proves that what makes a winning coach is much more about the players they have than their coaching.

It’s not so much about coaching. It’s about recruiting.
[/quote]Basically that is true. Teams with better players win more. Arkansas does not have as good a recruiting base as even the top half of the SEC teams. Although once every 10 to 20 years, the Razorbacks may have very good players, normally Arkansas will be in the lower third of the SEC in recruiting and it doesn’t matter the coach.