Reviewing the carnage of the 2016 season is just bewildering. Including many damaged reputations. If I miss any, please jump right in…
CBB. The marketing major’s reputation took many body blows this season. His fourth season at the UA was very uncommon from his previous years. Leadership, accountability and adjustments were glaringly missing. He couldn’t adjust during the season and most definitely not during the games. Building “it” the right way is highly questionable when the fourth season was such a disaster. He will most definitely need to exert his best recruiting and coaching efforts this season and his remaining time at UA to salvage his “national” reputation.
“Sticky Fingers” Jeremy Sprinkle and “Spittin’ Mad” Drew Morgan. Two seniors who took a dive at the end of their UA careers. In the Navy, we have a saying, "One “Ah S*** can ruin a thousand attaboys.” It applies to this dynamic duo. They shined brightly during 2015 and provided outstanding effort in 2016. Only to implode at the end. A Greek Tragedy.
Coach Dan Enos. Greatly missing were second half adjustments and being a QB whisperer. QB AA’s performance gradually declined during the second half of the season…with a big Thump! at the end. Enos was never able to turn AA’s performance around or stop the decline. Additionally, the much vaunted Arkansas offense reached its high water mark against Bama and slowly receded from there to a dismal three points in the second halves of the final three games of the season.
OL. Totally miss fired all season. Despite many changes and adjustments starting back in August, CBB’s calling card became paper mache. It took many hits this season…including the lack of UA wins and many defeats due to poor pass blocking and inability to sustain blocks for the running game. The OL never truly became an effective cohesive unit and horribly regressed. It’s reputation went from OLU to SACKU. Can you imagine giving up SIX sacks in the second half of the Belk Bowl???
Seniors. I can’t think of another UA senior class which under performed as players and leaders as much as the 2016 unit. The only senior who can truly hold his head high from this season is our punter Toby Baker. Everywhere else I scan I see marginal 2016 results and or actions.
Kody Walker. I sincerely feel sad for KW. His injury plagued reputation maintained constant bearing and speed. Unfortunately his injury reputation could never be changed.
Coach Rob Smith. Wow. Besides CBB, name another coach or player who’s reputation took a bigger hit than CRS? Set all sorts of the wrong kind of records this season. From rushing TDs allowed to rushing yards allowed to greatest margins of defeat and greatest lost leads. From a huge success in 2014 to a unmitigated disaster in 2016. But was it truly all his fault? How much of the Defense’ lack of productivity also falls on CBB?
Austin Allen. Outstanding High School credentials. Many MVPs. Great guts and determination the first half of the season. Magnificent TCU win and arguably had the finest of any QB performance against Bama this season. However, AA regressed from the Bama game. He repeatedly failed to protect the football. He repeatedly threw stupid interceptions into double coverage. He repeatedly failed in the red zone and within the shadow of his own goal posts. He must have set a UA record for pick-sixes. The QB’s number one goal is to protect the darn ball. No turnovers. Then direct the offense. At one time he was the master of handling adversity. The pillar example for all to follow when the going gets tough. But perhaps the battering of constant sacks took its toll on AA. Perhaps the frustration of being treated like a WWE practice dummy just wore him out. Perhaps the countless hours of ice tub encounters of the worse kind finally froze his skill set. Whatever the reasons, AA’s inability to protect the football, inability to check out of a bad play and constant interceptions sullied his once fine reputation. At one point in mid-season, he was receiving serious consideration as the top SEC QB. Not anymore.
Overall, the UA’s national reputation was also scared from this season and the Belk Bowl. Arkansas’ inability to perform in the second half, the Auburn rout, Sprinkle’s brain freeze at the Belk Store and Morgan’s spitting received a lot of negative national coverage. The football program has been sprayed by one pissed off skunk and it is going to take a lot of hard effort to extinguish it’s repugnant foul odor and restore the UA’s and football team’s reputation.