I thought at the time of the hire that CBB was a big coup. Until the 2016 Auburn blowout, I was on the CBB bus. It’s been a crash since then. According to DD, CBB is a great guy and has the best character since Coach Hatfield. Dramatically improved the culture of the football program from the CBP era. However, the results on the football field are telling. Looking back, what do you think are his biggest mistakes which led to his bottoming out this season? My list:
Failure to recruit Texas.
Spent too much effort recruiting too far away (CA, FL, upper Midwest, etc…)
Firing OC Chaney and eventually losing Pittman.
Moving away from physical dominating teams.
Failure to recruit enough physical lineman on both sides of the line.
Failure to make any specific coach responsible for the kicking game. Other than himself.
I’m sure there are many more which the insiders are aware of.
When I saw your title I thought "oh crap here we go with another ignorant trashing of CBB.
However I think your list overall is solid and I would like to comment on them.
CBB has done a good job at getting RBs out of Texas. He is starting to pull a DB or two that are highly regarded. But linemen and LBs have been lacking.
I agree that overall the FL athletes have been a waste although Kirkland, Collins and Pulley have been solid to great. You could fill number 6 with all the misses on Florida athletes.
I strongly agree that the loss of Pittman appears to be the turning point of the program. I also do not see that we have gained in the Chaney for Enos exchange. I have no problems with Enos though. The offense has not overall been the problem with this team.
I am not sure this has been intentional. I think it is the result of major misses in recruiting and the loss of Kirkland a year too soon. Losing him forced us to play players out of position and too early in their development. Had he stayed it would have been better for the team and probably for him. We also have recruited far too few tackles and have continuously played guards in though spots although CBB would never admit it.
Not only physical, but quick both in their feet and their reaction times. This team is in general slow. I don’t care what the 40 times say. They are slow across the board both physically and recognition and react wise.
I strongly agree with this. It appears despite the lack of success this was never rethought by CBB. Reading the recent interview with Ken Turner it is clear that kicking, etc can be taught, but not if you don’t have someone that knows how. Turner did say that he had to stay after practice because not enough time was allocated during regular practice. So Turner was the key and one of my favorite assistants of all time.
Thanks for your list.
Failure to recruit SEC speed all over the field. CBB’s program has been decent at bulking up players, but you can’t coach elite speed. We don’t have it right now & speed can make up for other shortcomings.
I agree with the other points made in the OP. Especially about linemen & defense.
Not sure I agree with #2. The lineman that we all love that Pittman and Bielema recruited were from Colorado, Minnesota, Florida. You have to get outside of Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas if you want the lineman that will make a difference.
Go find some more Ragnow, Skipper, Kirkland’s wherever they happen to be.
The speed issue has been addressed (somewhat late) with players on both side of the ball. But most of these guys either got injured or did not hit the field this year. There is still an overall lack of speed but their is hope with folks like Brown and Pulley and others hitting the field next year. But D-Line and O-Line must be addressed in the off season. Much need there.
When he’s officially gone I look forward to asking the insiders about culture in the football building. Tyler Wilson was on a talk show recently and talked about how laid back things seem in there now as compared to his playing team. He said the lack of attention to detail is a problem with this program and suggested that it is a leadership problem starting at the top.
What are the major differences between CBB and Bobby Petrino?
Brett is a nice guy who is well liked as a person. Bobby is a foul mouthed jerk.
Brett cannot light a fire under his troops, especially at halftime. Bobby can build a real fire under his troops.
Brett has trouble recruiting really talented skill players. Bobby knows talent and can recruit skill players.
While Brett comes across as a likable coach and one players might like to play for, his name does not catch the attention of extremely talented players. Bobby has a name that rings loudly with talented recruits.
I say all this not as a great fan of Bobby Petrino but just as an analytical old man.
1- ast coach hires… His intial staff was not bad… His RB coach was a bust on the recruiting trail. But his hires of Rory and Kurt were not SEC level…, should have begged Steve Caldwell to stay or come back! Should have done whatever he could have to keep Sam Pittman!
2- recruiting:… He had no earthly idea on what he needed for the SEC, or where to find them! He had no clue!!! Look at his quotes when we signed recruits from Tulsa last year “I had no idea Tulsa was that close to UA”.
3 - focus, guy hired his buddies and entertained his wife more so then build a football program… Hell he wanted to go do a summer camp in the Bahamas for local high school players… Huh?
Add all that up, every bit is on the Head Coach and in all honesty the AD… long should have seen all this coming.
This is a great topic, guynhawii!
I want to fill in #6 with coach B’s qb choices. We have had slow drop back qbs. To beat the the elites , we need dual action qbs. The same dual action qbs that we can’t stop like Hurt, Malones, Manziel , etc. We can’t defend them but don’t use them?
I disagree on two topics. I think Coach B made a mistake inTexas arguing over his type of Offence vs the spread. I would rather recruit in Louisana than Texas any time. What school has more professional players than any ? LSU. Where do they cone from? Louisana.
Secondly, Chaney for Enos was one of Coach B’S best moves. Chaney didn’t develop our qbs. Enos has been good. BA in the pros is proof. Pitman was a diff story.
Some of this is good. Some of it is not on target. The only “friend” he hired was Robb Smith. They lived together when they were at Iowa and Robb was a GA, working under Bret.
But, I don’t think the Smith hire was bad. There just wasn’t enough defensive talent. His scheme wokred when they had NFL talent on defense. But this year’s defense has proven to be a similar defense to Robb’s last two and it’s because of lack of defensive speed and top shelf linemen.
I don’t know that a single other coach on the staff is particularly one of Bret’s close friends. Correct me if I’m wrong. Over and over when I look at background, there just isn’t much there of a common thread as far as Bret and the background of these coaches. He told me once that he tried not to hire friends because it was too tough to let them go.
As far as the overall culture, the practices are difficult and tough nosed. Bielema can be tough on players on the practice field and in meeting rooms. As far as Tyler Wilson’s comparisons, he’s matching Petrino and that culture to Bret’s culture. I would think that Bret is somewhere in the middle. Petrino’s culture is on the other end, as tough and nasty as anything you could find.
I know that Herbert establishing some things in the strength and conditioning that’s as tough as you will ever see. In comparing him to Veltkamp, I’d say what Herbert does is tougher. That’s at the basis of a program culture. Both are good strength coaches. Herbert does a much better job of stressing proper nutrition.
It all comes down to the players. Clearly, Bret’s way of establishing a culture can be effective with the right players. I will say this now and then won’t have to revisit it later.
Thanks Guy. Good list and pretty spot on. As you said, there are others and some have listed them.
To me, it all came down to recruiting the wrong type players. He did not get SEC linemen plain and simple. Look at the game last night. How many of our linemen would have played in that game? Center who is hurt - Sosa? I don’t care where they come from, but I think Texas must be a strong base.
The team is slow and has been slower. You will not make it in the SEC (or most any league) like that.
Now some of the problems in recruiting may go back to the wrong assistants. Look at who we have. How many of them have relationships in E. TX. How many have recruited SEC players in the past. You don’t have to do that in the NFL. I think Assistant “leakage” has been a big problem. (This is not an original thought on my end, but something I have heard that makes a lot of sense).
If MSU can recruit SEC players, then there is no excuse for Arkansas not to be able to do it!!!
Clay, he made the statement that he did not like to hire his friends because they were to hard to fire after he had to help Ribb find a new job and Rorry find employment right? That is when I first remember reading that quote was after that. Now if he said that before off the record, that still would not change my opinion of the weakness of the “buddy” more then “SEC head Football coach”…
I think Coach B has been here 5 years, he had Robb Smith as DC and Safety coach for 3 of those years. And I am sorry Robb’s system worked somewhat his first year.
Also, Kurt Anderson. I’ve seen where they are going to concerts in Chicago and going up to Chicago to recruit,… Ok to me that is hiring a buddy and not an SEC level OL coach. I would love to hire a beer drinking buddy to go up to Chicago to recruit.
I just don’t think he took a serious approach to the staffing and the culture of the program. I think it shows on the field and I think it’s a weakness of Coach B.
I don’t know - just passing along what Tyler said. Thought it was very interesting to hear him compare the “vibe” in the complex. He described it as a professional, business like atmosphere during his time and, in his mind, too laid back now.
I thought Santos Ramirez’s comments yesterday were interesting. Some players thought they “ had it won” after one good half of football. Really?!? De’Jon Harris talked about players not playing as hard after halftime. Why?
To me that lack of uregency we’ve seen time and time again in the 2nd half of games is a reflection of the program’s culture. Culture starts at the top.
Totally agree, especially about the recruiting ineptitude. I think there would always be a speed/conditioning problem given our lack of depth and mainly because we run a Pro Style offense. During practice, (1) the lineman can lumber back to the huddle and line of scrimmage awaiting the next play and (2) the defense can lollygag it’s way into position all while enjoying 40 seconds of rest and relaxation before the next play. We are gassed every time we play an Ole Miss, Missouri, Auburn, TCU, Texas Tech, Mississippi State or any other fast paced team. I’m sure the coaches try to duplicate the no huddle, fast pace, but usually with a limited amount of talent. We just aren’t built for that conditioning process. (Think Nolan’s successful teams that literally wore a team down by the pace they dictated.) That said a Pro Style could work and I wish it would, but I wonder if the type of systems run by the high schools lend to the type of recruits this system needs