Some perspective

I’m a business strategy guy, so I tend to look at things through that lens. I read a lot of comments here, notably how CBB has under performed (in the most brutal division of the most competitive league in the country) and how the latest coaching hires have been ‘underwhelming’. I think it is useful to post this, not to throw stones, but to provide some perspective.

AR is ranked 8th in the league in coaching salaries. Our stadium is ranked 9th in the league. Our recruiting is 9th. We are 8th in the league in total football budget. To give you a few comparative data points: LSU’s budget is $25M more than ours, Auburn is +$18M, Alabama is +$35M. By the way, our football program made a $17M profit in 2016, one of the most profitable programs in the country. This is good for our university overall, but accounts for why others can ‘afford’ to invest more in their programs-- we invest less and put more back into the university. One thing we can really brag about is our facilities, which ranks in the upper tier. But I think you get my overall point.

Last year’s win-loss record was tied for 8th in the league overall. In 2015 we were tied for 5th. In 2014 we tied for 12th. That’s an average of about 8th, which lines up pretty close to our ranking in the resources we invest. In other words, in a competitive market you usually get out what you put in.

So why do we keep expecting to out-perform others with below average resources-- because we are special? Well I’m here to tell you, all the other teams think they are special too. I know we love our Hogs and, as passionate fans we hope and expect great things, but there are a majority of other programs in our league who are loaded with talent (players and coaches) and invest greater resources than us. I like CBB and the program he’s building. I like the kids in our program and enjoy rooting for them. I was happy with the steady improvement and was really hoping we could notch one more win this year and continue that trend. I hope that 2016 turns out to be a temporary setback and that we can continue to build a solid, steadily improving program that can get us into the top tier of the conference in the next 3-5 years, but we need to take off the rose colored glasses and realize that it will take significantly greater investment of resources to get there. The best thing we can do to improve our program is invest more resources into it. Until that equation changes, we need to stop expecting reality to be different.

Don’t forget the stadium is currently undergoing expansion. While it won’t be one of the largest still, it shouldn’t be because of its location in the state, but it will be one of the nicest. It’s also pretty loud, ask around in the opposing QB rooms.

We definitely need to invest more money though, especially with coaches. I’m a fan of up and comers, but big names get big names (players). We need the best of the best to propel us to winning seasons and get this thing moving with some real momentum.

Now as far as HC I’m not sure that BB will get to see those days. Unfortunately I think his seasons are numbered because he simply gets out coached too often. Now, that being said I do like BB and wish he’d get it going this season.

So if BB isn’t in the future we need to pay the money to get the coach, and leave the excuses of so and so didn’t want to come here because it would be too hard for this and that reason. Bologna, you offer me a big enough check I’ll do my absolute best to do whatever is necessary. There are still guys out there who aren’t afraid of an obstacle, and understand that the reward is that much sweeter when so many doubt you or say it’s not possible.

I think you make some good points. Personally, I would not have had a problem with our season but for the last two games. Those collapses in the 2nd halves were unacceptable.

I am optimistic about changes to the 3-4 but I don’t expect it to be perfect in September either.

I would like for college football teams to be able to set up a couple of scrimmage scenarios - one in the spring and one in the fall - where they play another team. I wouldn’t do it just like a game but rather each team gets 10 possessions on offense then switch. Do a few series of plays that way. I don’t even care if it is closed to the public or media. The way I see it, we scrimmage each other and don’t really get a good enough feel for what needs to be improved until the season starts.

I do think we need to have perspective about who we are and where we are, not using that perspective as an excuse but having realistic hopes and expectations. When CBB came here, he said he wanted to give Arkansas something it had never had before: an SEC championship. The mere fact that we’ve never had it means it’s not going to be easy to obtain. Whether we ever see it under CBB or not is questionable. That said, I hope we give him ample opportunity. It’s a lot easier said than done to throw money at a new big-name coach to get them to come here. First of all, when have you ever known Arkansas to throw that kind of money for any coach in any sport? And second, a big name does not necessarily equal big results. If we run off a coach like CBB without giving him ample opportunity, then attracting a “big name” will be harder to do no matter the money. Let’s give CBB a little while longer and see what happens.

Excellent post and analysis–I agree totally. I also continue to think we have an excellent coach to lead our team and develop our players in football and life. I think we are fortunate to have him.

Excellent post, great perspective! I believe if we could see a 10-win season then Jeff Long would probably invest more in the program (due to increased revenues); however, that is not commonly used for new coaches, but to give raises to existing coaches. If CBB doesn’t get it done, then I don’t see us getting an upgrade in a coach (b/c the resources won’t be there unless the Razorback Foundation can foot the bill which requires more donation $ which requires more wins). We’re kind of stuck, so I really hope CBB and his staff can recruit and develop us into a 10-11 win each season type of team. (I’d gladly take 2 10+ win seasons followed by an 8 win season then back to 9, 10+ wins for a year or two - see Coach Frank Broyles pattern). If we don’t get there in the next two seasons, it is time to move on and I’m a Coach B fanatic…

Coach Broyles paid top dollar for assistants and hired the best in the country over and over. Hayden Fry told me when he got head coaching job at SMU, he took a pay cut. He said Coach Broyles was first to have dealer cars for assistants. First to have radio shows for assistants. All to add money to assistant pockets. They were paid at the top of college football. It is not that way now.

It seems to me when you have less Jimmy’s and Joe’s than the competition - and Arkansas will always have less than many of our conference mates - you’d better pay top $ for assistants to maximize the production of the talent you do have.

What am I missing? What we’ve been doing is not working and while I hope the new coaches succeed it’s more of the same.

Top dollar for assistants is now more than $1 million for coordinators and near that for other assistants. Don’t know that Arkansas can afford that as in the Broyles days. We do, though, need to put a premium on getting the very best we can get.

Regardless of what the investments are, Arkansas should have won 9 football games last season, left two easily winnable games on the table. Don’t do that, we’re not having any disputes at all (being optimistic here).

mind explaining? CBB relieved non-performing coaches and brought in hopefuls. Are you saying he did the same last year, and that’s more of the same?

Fred, now I’m a little confused. You have that quote attributed to Clay in the box on your post. You are aware that was a Jacksonreid quote, not Clay’s right? I would assume Jackson was comparing the exiting coaches with their replacements. Obviously, he cannot know they are the same quality of coaches until Dec. of 2017.

yep. The Clay quote was a mistake. I intended to delete all but what I wanted and am surprised that the quote thingy brought the Clay Quote down also. My mistake. I was axing JacksonR for clarification.

Keep in mind we could immediately increase our football budget by $17M a year (putting us in the upper tier of the league) if we simply decided to retain all the profits the football generates each year. This would allow us to pay top dollar for all our assistants with money left over for other things. We could do that if we had the will.

Well, I’m pretty sure our expenses for football will go up this year, it does every year. And, that profit helps support our other sports, that’s just the way things work. Do you know of any coaching hires we wished to make that turned us down over money?

All that would have done is keep the haters off the board temporarily. They’d still be hatin’, ready to pounce at the next opportunity.

please explain how he was out coached.

He replaced a guy on the DL that had little P5 experience when he was hired with another guy with very little P5 experience. Segrest was an “up and comer” in terms of college coaching experience and so is Scott. I hope he turns out to be great, but would prefer a more established coach.

Rhoads is an upgrade - Smith had no experience as a P5 DC when Arkansas hired him.

For better or for worse it appears for the most part Bielema is hiring unproven assistants as opposed to proven coaches with track records at the P5 level. My guess is some of that is due to $$.

That $17 million is what allows us to have a track team, and golf and tennis, and all the women’s sports. Keep in mind that Division I requires a minimum number of sports for each school and we aren’t far over the minimum, never mind Title IX issues. Ditto for Bama’s $35 million; it goes to pay for everything else. Either football pays the freight for the “non-revenue” sports, or the general university and the students get soaked through subsidies and fees. We don’t do student fees and hopefully we never will. Auburn does anyway, despite that huge football profit. So does Florida.

Swine, question on this. You mentioned track. Every time I see an AR track meet (when they’re shown), the place is jammed packed. Same with baseball. Could those two (and basketball) not pay for themselves? I know that football is the “BIG” money earner, but seems that we have a few sports that could be independent.