Many of us see the season this way.

Food for Thought before we get started.
Vegas odds makers said we should have only won 4 games this year. We only lost to one team we should have beaten in Mizzou. Vegas odds makers said that we should have lost to TCU, Ole Miss, Florida, and Misstake.
I think I know why we had so many problems this year

Our Offense is supposed to be our best Defense.
Our offense holds on to the ball for long drives and limits the opposing teams possessions. The RUN game is key to our OFFENSE since it opens up the play action passing game. The play action passing game in turn helps the run game by keeping safeties back in coverage. Enos has created a great offense last year and even this year in spite of the Offensive line. Austin Allen was comfortable much quicker and played much better than anyone anticipated. He was so accurate that it made us more dangerous and difficult to defend.

The Offense and Defense tanked in the same year.
This year’s Offensive line was incapable of dominating without Tretola, Kirkland and Smothers. Our Oline could not create running lanes to open-up our play action passing. Austin Allen had to pass in obvious passing formations and downs. Our WR and TE players are phenomenal but even they can’t over come the lack of protection of our QB. We had to use max protection way too often which also reduces receiver options. Austin Allen was hit so many times I am amazed he is able to play. Many other QB’s would not be on the field, but he showed strength, toughness and guts.

Over the last 4 games, the most important Oline development is Johnny Gibson starting at RG. This will relieve Raulerson to heal his terrible ankle injury. Wallace is an under achiever that finally got it together the last 4 games, but we had to play Jackson too soon in his place for a few games. Thank God for Raulerson or we would have been in trouble early this season. Raulerson was too light for the SEC but he will gain some muscle in the off season. Jackson is going to be a good OT in the future.

Austin Allen found open receivers or put the ball on the money perfectly to over compensate for the lack of protection and run game. NOTHING worked on offense at other times. We couldn’t sustain drives against the good Defenses and gave the ball back to the opposing offense….thus exposing our DEFENSE. We are not a good team if we can’t run the ball to use play action.

Why is the Oline in such bad shape?
Pittman’s exit cost us Garrett Bolles and Denver Kirkland (supposedly) that would have probably been our starting OT’s. Pittman leaving damaged our OL recruiting efforts with multiple recruits. We have signed some good Oline talent BUT Koehler and Boyd never saw the field. We have 2 more new JC transfers (Ramirez and Malone) that were Redshirted/never saw the field this year. If Ramirez and Malone would have played to their potential we may not be starting Froholdt too early and one of the tackle positions may be supported.

CBB has a history of good Olineman and nationally recognized for putting Olineman in the NFL, so I think he can recover from the recent misses better than anyone. Don’t forget the change in coaches from Pittman to Anderson causing a problem in recruiting.

We have 8 OL that are freshmen, redshirt frosh, or sophomores. Heinrich, Jackson, Merrick, Jake Hall, Rogers, Froholdt, Gibson, and Wallace. 6 of them need time to learn the system and mature. Gibson and Wallace are just now ready. Froholdt should have Redshirted. All of them will be better next year, but some will show us during bowl prep and spring. Guys like Wallace, Gibson and Rogers could do even better.

OL – CBB’s Oline scholarship recruits:

2013
Skipper, Kirkland, Koehler, McClure.
2014
Wallace, Pruitt, Allen, Tretola, Ragnow.
2015
Rogers, Jackson, Froholdt, Merrick.
2016
Ramirez, Heinrich, Raulerson, Malone.

2017
Wagner, Clenin, Adcock.

DEFENSE meltdown
Robb Smith’s defense is LBer focused but we have not had SEC quality linebackers since Spaight left. Our opposition knows Ellis is too slow to cover any receiver and Greenlaw has trouble against the run game. If we had a LB that was combination of Greenlaw and Ellis; they would clean up a good portion of the problems like Spaight did. Arkansas isn’t fast enough at safety, CB and linebacker.

Conventional defenses are not built to handle quick SPREAD players in space. Our defensive coordinator doesn’t appear able to change to accept how the game needs linebackers to cover and blitz more like safeties. Robb Smith didn’t change the defense enough in the off season, so our opponents were able to break down our defense since then. We didn’t change so their breakdowns isolated the weaknesses of our players.

The World We Live IN
We are in a conference with schools that have history, image, recruiting territory, and many of them are willing to cheat. We have very little of that. period. The SEC was good for money and helped us build beautiful facilities. The SEC was a good landing place to get away from the Texas corruption in the SEC, but that “good” was quickly replaced by the control of Bama and the historically elite programs of the SEC. The SEC has been bad for us in that we are not able to compete unless we have a miracle class of recruits from Arkansas.

Bama has cheated since the 40’s to win and developed an image of winning. Now with Saban they don’t even have to cheat. A&M, LSU, OM, and AU have built in advantages of demographics and population. We have to steal from out of state EVERY year to have the talent for starters, and can develop in-state kids with consistent RS program. The SEC West is beyond crazy in regards to talent, willingness to blur lines of ethics and resources. I am not sure I like to admit it, but we don’t have the population or demographics to give us a baseline of in-state recruits to build upon. The implosion of the LR and PB area schools is the most damaging to our in-state talent.

Under Saban, the SEC has been overwhelmed by Bama and multiple schools have fired coaches in thoughts they may be able to beat Bama with a different coach. Nada. I am not a fan of the SEC and its culture, influence by Bama and a few others, and the fact that a 4-4 record in the SEC West is not given credence over a 4-4 record in the Big12, AAC, etc

PROGRESS
Records since BP.
Season SEC Notes
2012 4-8 2-6 JLS takes over what was left after BP
2013 3-9 0-8 CBB takes over what was left or left early for NFL.
2014 7-6 2-6 Texas Bowl, Beat TEXAS
2015 8-5 5-3 Liberty Bowl, Beat Kansas St.
2016 7-5 3-5 Bowl Eligible

CBB is 2-14 in the SEC his first 2 years
CBB is 8-8 in the SEC the last 2 years
I had us pegged for 8-4 before the season
We have had a very good Offense for 2 seasons but a historically BAD Defense that negated the value of the Offense.
This year was compounded by an Oline that could not compete against the good teams
Our Offense suffered against the good teams when it couldn’t run the ball
This year was a combination of a BAD defense and an offense that was not good against the really good teams.

Butch Jones in trouble
<LINK_TEXT text=“http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2678 … e-hot-seat”>http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2678376-tennessees-loss-to-vanderbilt-puts-butch-jones-firmly-on-the-hot-seat</LINK_TEXT>

SEC teams records
<LINK_TEXT text=“http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2678 … re-in-2016”>http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2678415-theres-no-way-to-sugarcoat-it-the-sec-is-mediocre-in-2016</LINK_TEXT>

Bama is the only one that is in great shape.

Amen to your post!!

Hey thanks Angler, I put a lot of facts in their that will be hard to dispute. We need to improve but we have the right guy to get us there.

<LINK_TEXT text=“https://www.seccountry.com/arkansas/hog … es-futures”>https://www.seccountry.com/arkansas/hogs-for-breakfast-hurry-up-and-wait-arkansas-now-determining-players-and-coaches-futures</LINK_TEXT>
Season Review

<LINK_TEXT text=“https://www.seccountry.com/sec/2017-sec … comparison”>https://www.seccountry.com/sec/2017-sec-football-results-future-big-ten-acc-comparison</LINK_TEXT>
“For a while, we’ve fed on the narrative that the SEC is where college football’s elite play and coach on Saturdays. Looking at the overall picture of the sport since 2006, that’s probably still true. But there’s no way around it: Every team not named Alabama would like to shove 2016 under its bed and forget about it for a long time.”

Team Report Card
Arkansas
The good: Austin Allen and Rawleigh Williams. The Hogs were inconsistent and painfully thin at certain areas, but man do they have a good QB/RB combo. Williams led the SEC in carries and yards rushing, while Allen led the league in yards per attempt (8.5) and was stellar for a first-year starter with little to no pocket protection.
The bad: Speaking of the offensive line, its pass blocking ranged from barely competent to woefully insufficient in 2016. The Razorbacks allowed 29 sacks — second-worst in the SEC — and watched Allen take hit after hit after hit. The pass rush remained pretty weak, too.
The ugly: The run defense, which allowed 350-plus yards to LSU and Texas A&M, and a school-record 543 against Auburn. There were injuries along the front seven, but for a Bret Bielema-coached team to be that bad at stopping the run? Shocking.
MVP: Austin Allen, with a hat tip to Dan Enos

Agree Hog Treat. Good post. Lots of time and effort went into it.

The “rest of the pack” SEC can only hope that Coach Saban rides off into the sunset in the next 2-3 years but I don’t think he will. He really has it rolling down there. Teams that have significant weaknesses certainly won’t beat them. A good defense is a MUST!

Thanks Q,

I think we will be ok on offense once we stabilize the Oline. It could be a strength again if Ragnow stays. Our WR graduations are going to hurt but I see us going to a lot of multiple TE sets. We have a lot of TE’s and a bunch of green guys behind Cornelius.

The Defense we currently have has to have great LB’s and that isn’t going to get fixed easily without some SR transfer. Greenlaw, Harris and Ramsey return to form a stout group of starters that could be good.

The secondary is equally as important with the graduation losses. Pulley, Tolliver, Ramirez, Coley, and Liddell return. We get Richardson and Tutt back. We had 2 pretty good HS kids that we Redshirted and Montaric Brown coming in.

Our record since 1992, the year we entered the SEC:

Arkansas: 166-137-2. 6 seasons at 9 or better
Ole Miss: 160-140-0. 6 seasons at 9 or better
Miss State: 147-151-2. 4 seasons at 9 or better
Auburn: 207-100-2. 11 seasons at 9 or better

Data from http://www.sports-reference.com/

Thanks to GentryRazorback for the Data!!!

The big slip in the offensive line was a critical area that plagued this team in all of the ways you listed. I think it probably effected the way the team practiced. Your defensive line would be better if it went against maulers every day in practice. It didn’t. That’s the thing that has to change. The offensive line has to become maulers again. I believe it will get there. I like Kurt Anderson a lot. There are some good ones in the pipeline. I do believe Paul Ramirez and Deion Malone will be good players in the near future. I think there is a lot of ability with Colton Jackson, too. Those three are maturing under Ben Herbert’s system.

Would you agree that our Oline could be VERY good next year if Ragnow stays?
Jackson
Froholdt
C Ragnow or Rogers
Gibson
Wallace

Vegas oddsmakers don’t make predictions…they book bets. Their only purpose is to divide the money and make a profit. The over/under at the beginning of the season was 7 1/2, this is closer to the thought by bookmakers of how many games the Hogs would win, but same deal, the purpose is to make money from the public.

I figure the Miss State game was a pick em. Yes, State was favored, but only because it was on its home field. And, you are right, the object is to get folks to bet. The power rating by ESPN had the games set along the lines of the oddsmakers. Most had Arkansas losing by looking at the power ratings, or index. I had been encouraged by some things I saw this season, discouraged by other things.

The most encouraging thing was the play in the fourth quarter by Austin Allen in these games: Louisiana Tech, TCU, Texas A&M (to some degree), Alabama, Ole Miss and Mississippi State. The only time I thought Austin really came up empty was the second half against Missouri and he did some things in the fourth quarter to give the Hogs a chance.

The discouraging things was the overall production of the offensive and defensive lines. Those groups were not good enough in a league of great linemen.

Clay, thanks for the thoughts…fact-based and thorough… as usual.

I think we all struggled with how the season played out… having games that showed the best of the hogs and games that showed the worst. I think your thoughts helped explain most of this (Mizzoo being the outlier). In games where we were able to be balanced on offense, we looked good… and in games where the other teams defense prevented that balance, we looked bad. The link between our offensive performance and the impact it had on our defensive performance is “spot on”, imho.

So going forward, I’m encouraged that the potential key could be the offensive balance that Enos seems so good at achieving (with an effective OL)… and CBB has a reliable track record in this area. Unless Ragnow leaves early, this yr should have been the low point for the OL development. Even if that happens, we’d have 3 starters returning and some talented although inexperienced youngsters behind them (sounds like this yr).

To me, CBB got us back to respectability (no more 0-8 records, recruiting has improved each year, off-field issues at minimum) and is now working thru the obstacles you outlined to get us where we all want to be… competing for a top 20 team and recruiting class each year, with results on Saturdays that show we can compete each week in the SEC West… and for me at least, it is important we do it the RIGHT WAY.

I’m not saying the info on demographics, population, etc. are not true… and relevant. However, everyone has issues to overcome and you accurately listed ours. They do not mean, imho, we cannot be successful… it might take a bit longer and the peaks may come less frequently, but I refuse to believe they rule out any chance of Arkansas having success in the SEC. To me the biggest issue we have to overcome is “having success”, which breeds more success. HS players like going somewhere that provides a quick opportunity to play, but the really good ones don’t worry about that… they want a place that wins, goes to good bowls, plays in a good conference, is on TV a lot, etc. CBB is moving us in that direction with an approach that if successful, could be sustainable for us despite the obstacles we face. When CBB arrived the best he could offer was a chance to play early… now he can at least show we are moving toward those other enticements AND a chance for early playing time.

I like that CBB seems to have a “process-based” approach that is foundational to his program… Uncommon Man, 5 Edges, … Organizational tenets can help steer thru times of questioning and frustration. Used properly they can help keep focus on the actionable tasks at hand when the noise around you wants to detract from the things that are truly important to moving forward. I think CBB has an approach that he believes in and is committed to going forward. After 4 years, he’d be the first to admit we are not where we want to be yet… and if he was really honest, he’d probably tell you it was not very realistic to think we would be by now. However, I think we’ve made undeniable progress in the time he’s been here… and I still believe in the direction he has the program headed.

I’m not “disappointed” in 7-5, although I thought 8-4 was more likely… and actually had a “heart-based” prediction of 9-3. I was however very disappointed in the 2nd half of the Mizzoo game. This was so out of character given the competition, I still cannot explain it, but I’ve seen nothing to cause me to lose faith. I hope we see them bounce back in the bowl game, finish off another nice recruiting class, coach up the young talent with extra practices prior to the bowl game and come out swinging again in 2017… when, oh by the way, we likely still won’t be “there yet”, but should be continuing to build a stronger program… with improved results… and doing it the right way. Go Hogs!

Thanks for a thoughtful, (to my mind) incisive post. I probably think that because I agree with you. :slight_smile:

CBB started with an abandoned team. The JLS year was not only a disaster on the field, it was one in the recruiting venue as well. It took time to recover from that. Those who talk about Coach B’s record and include the first two years as a demonstration of his coaching fail to account for that. I may be a sunshine pumper, but I’m willing to give Coach B an opportunity to prove himself. That said, the time allotted for proving himself is growing short.

No, I don’t agree… they were like a sieve this year, at times.

Very good post Hog Treat

It helps me settle down

But I’m still scratching my head how you lose to a team with 0 SEC victories

That is embarrassing

In fairness Missouri beat Vanderbilt two weeks prior to our game.

That doesn’t help the embarrassment much

  1. It was the only game we were favored in this year
  2. It’s still a loss to the dead last team in the SEC - that alone deminishes your team
  3. The loss affirms thise SEC pricks
    in the front office was right - Ark is no better than Mizzou

Just think about that - your rival defines you

I’m still struggling with Arkansas being defined by Mizzou!?

If we are I’m afraid we just accepted 2nd tier status because Mizzou brings even less national attention and respect than we do - oh my the SEC screwed us badly

Only way to fix it is win

Just win so we are in no way defined by this Astro turf rivial -

I appreciate that Boar. I hate to say it but I think one of the reasons we lost to Mizzery is the back 7 on defense are frustrated in the scheme. LB has new people learning and Ellis has trouble covering receivers in spread offenses. Pulley, Tolliver, and Collins
are not bad even though Collins looked bad in this game. Something happened for them to just fall apart that bad.

Good analysis. It seems to me offense will be better next year with new comers and experience gained this year. But the defense has too many problems to overcome. Can not rush QB’s, defend the run and surely defend the pass. That is not going to resolve from one season to another. The core issues are there, lack of talent, speed and scheme. There has to be some sort of SEC realignment in the future.