New facilities, same old results.

As I answered Swinefinder, for years we have been told by the Hill and their acolytes in the media and sports radio, our facilities was a big reason we can’t get better recruits. While facility upgrades was needed, these problems have been or are being addressed. Stadium improvements and a new basketball practice facility being recent examples. So with our upgrades, why are top notch recruits not beating a path to our campus? I know Coach Anderson has 2 nationally ranked recruiting classes coming in, so at least on the men’s basketball program we potentially see a brighter future, but on the football field, we have clearly taken a step backwards. This ridiculous notion of winning SEC West Titles with primarily 3 star players has failed. I realize that getting top classes like the Tide, LSU, and A@M are not realistic, getting classes ranked at or near the bottom of the league is unacceptable. Your telling me we can’t out recruit Ole Piss, Miss. State, or even Kentucky?! CBB’s plan of recruiting mostly 3 stars instead of going after 4’s and 5’s has failed. Yes, I know we probably won’t get most of them. But you at least need to TRY to get them. And you just may get just a few. CBB’s plan to also only sign 20-22 players per class and gambling on JUCOS and transfers for quick fixes has failed. CBB needs to upgrade his recruiting classes in a significant way next year, or we will continue to face diminishing returns on the football field. Yes, BCC’s buyout is problematic, but if we have another season like this or worse, the fan base may force Long and the boosters to act.

Let’s be realistic here - why does a kid pick Arkansas versus anyone else in the country? When have the Hogs ever fielded excellent recruiting classes on a consistent basis? They haven’t - not in the modern era where scholarships are capped at 85. Hell, back when Bama was wining NC in the 50’s / 60’s, and so on, there were no caps on scholarships so they could just throw money at anyone and they did. The Hogs have no shot but to get primarily 3 star recruits - that is what the State of Arkansas produces regularly. There aren’t a bevy of 4 and 5 star players that come out of the state and there is no JUCO programs to recruit from in state. With such, and the fact that most college players mostly stay within 250 miles from home, how can anyone ever do better than what we’ve been getting? I have a copy of every recruiting magazine from 1985 - till now; and at no time have the Hogs done better than 14, and usually fall within 20-30. So, please expound on your baseful recruiting knowledge and provide us with the insight that will help. I see that most 4 & 5 star players have an offer from the Hogs - so how do you convert those players?

You are correct, Ark has never been able to recruit top players because we don’t produce any. I do think that JUCO players will generally go across the country to play because they might not have any other options. So we need to continue to recruit sound 3 star players and find those gems at the JUCO level.

Agreed Smash. Hogs need to be able to hit it big with players from Juco like Spaight and Tretola.

Agreed Smash. Hogs need to be able to hit it big with players from Juco like Spaight and Tretola.

So just because we haven’t got many 4’s and 5’s in the past, we really shouldn’t try. This is the classic “This is Arkansas, and being average at best is all we should aspire to”. I did not say don’t recruit 3’s, just try for more 4’s and 5’s. But that would require risk and a little effort. Perish the thought. The University is a Land Grant Institution and our tax dollars help support the University. I’m just a little weary that my involuntary contributions have been used to upgrade our facilities and yet have not seen a return on my investment on the court or field. Maybe finishing 4th-6th in the West is good enough for you, but not me. Playing in mediocre bowel games and getting blown out in the second half for two straight games doesn’t bother you, but it does me. I’m not going to be the classic “I’ll back the product no matter how mediocre it is”. Would you continue to hold on to stocks that are underperforming for a decade or two in hopes the product magically improves? Yeah, me neither.

But we have soooo many players that had totally committable offers from Alabama. Totally.

Sir, recruiting involves EFFORT! Saban didn’t start off his coaching career as “SABAN”. He worked his tail off on the field and recruiting trail. He showed these upper level recruits how much he wanted them in his program. Saban also informed these recruits he had a plan for his program and the recruits would play a crucial role. He informed them that playing for him would get them noticed by the pro scouts and they had a chance of playing at the next level. What makes great coaches is outworking the good coaches.

They do try - they try all the time. Last year’s class had 18 4/5 star recruits come and visit between Dec-Jan. We landed a few. Each year the staff works to get interest from tons of kids. They spend, nearly, $1M in recruiting alone. That is a huge amount of resources to recruit players from all over the country. However, if a kid lets you know they aren’t going to visit your school, then you don’t need to waste more money and time. There is only 24 hours in a day, and most coaches sleep 5 hours during the season. So spending time recruiting has to equate to results. If you spend 4 hours a day recruiting, then you best focus on people you have a chance at getting.

Saban didn’t win crap for 20 years. He got the head coaching job at LSU, and got a ton of great recruits from Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, and Alabama - then he won a National Championship. He went to the NFL and busted out. Then goes to the school that has the most rabid fan base the country has ever seen. He used his NFL connections to provide high-school coaching clinics that made those coaches show up and started showing them why they should send their kids to Bama. Then, he still recruited the southern states, but hired as many high-level coaches that he could. His institution pays for those high priced assistants, and they all do well coaching and recruiting the best. Saban didn’t just make this magic happen - he had the money to spend on it. Nobody can work more per hour in a day - it doesn’t happen. You have to have assets, and the ability to provide a niche or some historical reason for kids to play there. Arkansas does not provide those opportunities nor does the historical factor of the program help.

Lack of SEC quality facilities and location of the campus have always been the classic excuses as to why we have not been able to land top 15 recruiting classes. In my view, facility upgrades have been made to the point that the facility excuse is now moot. As far as location of the campus, there are now 500,000 people living in Northwest Arkansas, another half million in Central Arkansas and about 750,000 in the Tulsa area. While this is not Atlanta, Birmingham or Miami these population centers can and do produce several 3 star and 4 star athletes as well as an occasional 5 star talent like Darren McFadden. Remember, Felix Jones was from the Tulsa area. Furthermore, with I-49 and XNA, getting to Fayetteville has never been easier. So, in my opinion, the location excuse might be slightly more valid than facilities’ upgrades but still pretty weak.

In 1964, the Hogs won a national championship with lots of Arkansas guys on the roster like Ken Hatfield and Jerry Jones. In 1975, we won the Cotton bowl over Georgia 31-10 led by a guy from Jonesboro named Scott Bull. In 1978, we beat Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl with a roster dotted with Arkansas kids like Dan Hampton, Jimmy Walker, and Larry Jackson. Admittedly, Ron Calcagni was from Youngstown Ohio but he thought enough of Arkansas to stay around here along with his brother and raise families. In basketball, Marvin Delph (Conway), Ron Brewer (Fort Smith) and Sidney Moncrief (Little Rock) in addition to Corliss Williamson (Russellville) were Arkansas guys who led the Hogs to the Final Four and the National Championship over two coaching era’s of Eddie Sutton and Nolan Richardson.

Make no mistake, Bret Bielema and Mike Anderson have to leave our state for “arms and legs” but both have to recognize that the “heart and soul” of both programs has to come from Arkansas. It seems to me that this reality does not really register with Bret Bielema because he refused to offer an Alabama commit who played his high school football about 4 blocks from Razorback Stadium. Contrary to popular opinion, high school football in Arkansas is very good. Two seasons ago, I watched Bentonville put it on Valor Christian (a private school in the Denver Colorado area whose claim to fame is Christian McCaffery and his brother Dylan who is a Michigan commit). Bentonville finished third that year and Valor Christian was the state champs of Colorado. If were are, in fact, relegated to just 3 star guys then let’s get the kid from Arkansas (like Drew Morgan) and forego the kid from some other state far away. I would rather lose with a “fight to the end” Arkansas boy who bleeds Razorback red than some kid that has little, if any, appreciation for Arkansas’ tradition.

At least Anderson recruited Allen and Monk hard to the bitter end. Bielema seems content to let the Fayetteville kid leave town without putting up much resistance.

The bottom line is that neither coach has been properly supervised or motivated by our Athletic Director. He seems to want to do the fun part of the job (building stuff) but not the hard part of the job and that is to lean on our coaches making them feel the pressure to produce a product that we can all be proud.

You made more assumptions than any of my old colleagues at the FBI. Every bit of your recruiting info is based on a 3rd party report - never do you hear Bret discuss recruiting or his action, because he can’t. Yet you assume he wants to let the Bama commit just walk out the door as if he isn’t needed. There is a reason he didn’t offer the kid, but that is his own internal reason. Since it is his program, then he gets to make that decision.

You are right - in 1964, Arkansas was declared National Champs by one publication. In the same era where scholarships weren’t an issue, and nor was buying players. My Uncle played then and I know what all he received for playing for them. But you are referencing an act that happened 53 years ago. If it happened 53 years ago, then maybe we’ll see it again within the next 47 years (Cubs fans will understand that); but you have nothing else to declare that shows the Hog’s success. Again, you are correct, Arkansas produced one of the most electrifying players in all of college football, and still no championship to show for it. Three of those running backs played in the NFL and there is no championship ring to show forth. I believe they even lost the bowl game to Bret (Wisconsin). So much for having the best player and still losing. The point is the population base is not strong enough to produce a national championship roster. We saw what having those great running backs did for the institution, but the team still didn’t produce a championship. Also, having those three on one tea was a miracle in its own. How ofter do you get that? Even if Bret convinced that kid to come play, will his contribution be better than someone already on the team, or coming in? This doesn’t look like the year of the DL for the Hogs because they are not pursuing a lot of them. I think one is committed.

" I would rather lose with a “fight to the end” Arkansas boy who bleeds Razorback red than some kid that has little, if any, appreciation for Arkansas’ tradition." - that is your quote; but did you ever think that this Arkansas kid does not have the desire to do the things that it takes to “Bleed red?” If the coach saw that something was missing from this kid’s heart, and he didn’t want to offer him because of such would you not agree with his position? Unfortunately, he isn’t allowed to discuss that due to NCAA recruiting rules.

I get what you are saying, and fielding a quality basketball team from the state is easier than fielding a competitive football team in our conference. And for the foreseeable future, I’m willing to bet that this will continue to happen as parents will encourage their kids to play sports with less contact. I mean hell, even Arkansas State has to get the majority of their team from outside the boarders. No matter how many demographic charts we review, there is only so much of the population that plays the sport of football, is better than most other players, desires to play college football, has the grades to play and be a student, and can run as fast as other kids in the conference. It just isn’t there. I don’t care what happened 53 years ago. This is today and now. The Hogs get 85 scholarship players, and there are over 100 Division I schools to compete with. Being in the SEC is a blessing and a curse, and as much as I love Fayetteville, and the surrounding area, there won’t be a growth rate that populates this team’s roster for decades to come. I don’t care how fast it grows.

Happy New Years

The biggest issue is getting the players you really need when you really need them to have a complete team instead of deficient in a area. We have suffered through this year after year and is tough to overcome for anyone. That’s the thing about Alabama and few other teams each season they have a talented group in every aspect and depth to back them up to cover for injuries. It will strictly be a uphill battle no matter who’s coaching here but you keep fighting the good fight and that may mean a coaching change at some level. WPD

Did we really need 4/5 star recruits to beat Mizzu?

Or hold off a 35 pt second half debacle agsinst V tech?

Far more internal issues on the hill than recruiting and “being Bret” better start to figure it out