Sudden Thought..."Thank goodness!"

I know and understand that many (most?) are tired of looking backward at our recent coaches, and prefer to look forward to Sam’s era. In general, I’m right there with them.

But for some random reason, I just thought of something I hadn’t before, and it kind of put a chill down my spine (not in a good way).

During the course of this pandemic, we’ve all had things we value, love and cherish (in a variety of ways) taken from us and our loved ones. Of course, the really, really important ones relate to the health of our family, friends and loved ones along with economic impact to that same group and our local community in general. And that’s plenty, to the point that we often don’t get beyond those thoughts on a day to day basis (over the last 3-4 months).

Secondary to those concerns is how the flow of our lives has been dramatically altered from the life all of us have known for our entire existence. Even the routine of just getting up and going to work or school has been ripped away from tens of millions. Those fortunate enough to still have work now (mostly) do it remotely, and kids have had to adjust similarly. And then there is the social impact - no work/school means no personal interaction with friends and associates we’re used to seeing on a daily basis. Same with church community. Meals now consumed 100% at home, even if picked up somewhere else. No leisurely meals out with friends, or trips to the movies, etc.

For sports fans - and that’s most of us, in one way or another, there has been the additional “mourning” of losing the ability to follow your favorite team. Heck - to watch any games at all…even involving teams you don’t like! When you’re a BIG sports fan (as I would categorize most on boards like this), this is especially difficult. Some of us (raises hand) are older and at a time in life when there is little family around. For “us”, the Razorback community fills a large part of that void. Sure, you’d rather win but even if your team is losing, it’s something to be passionate about, follow, discuss with others and then see what happens.

For me, personally, I never realized how much I would miss the 25-30 times a year I’d connect with my Razorback watching buddies here in DFW to watch games. It turns out I not only miss the games themselves, but I miss the interaction with the guys and the continuous dialogue about what just happened, what needs to happen and the associated debates (kind of like we have here). Boards like this are good therapy, but I do miss actually going to watch the games.

Really, all we’ve had is the hope that things will improve enough that we can start playing real games again this fall (football). We’re all anxious to see what kind of product Sam puts on the field, and that normal anticipation for a new coach has been increased because we didn’t even get to see a spring practice period for a preview. The only thing that has buoyed us at all is the promise of improvement, the positivity coming from Sam, his staff and the comments of these kids he is recruiting. No, it won’t happen over-night. But I think almost everyone sees that improvement - tangible improvement - is coming sooner than later.

So this is the sobering thought I’d been too busy with more important things than to think about. Not exactly Einstein stuff - but something that occurred to me this morning.

What if we had NOT fired Morris at the end of last season? How would Razorback Nation have come through this dark period without even the glimmer of hope that hiring Pittman has given us?

Had Morris and his staff imparted ANY noticeable improvement to the team during his 2 years, he’d be back and most would still be willing to have kept him - understanding as we did when he came in that he had a big turnaround job to do.

But, they didn’t. In fact, they were arguably worse at the end than they had been when he first got here. Up until the last 2 or 3 weeks before he was canned, I was in the corner of saying “we just CAN’T fire a coach after just 2 years”, but the fiascoes coming down the stretch vs. MSU and especially Western Kentucky changed my mind. He HAD to go.

I never root for us to lose, for ANY reason. And I didn’t then. But in retrospect, I can say that I’m SO glad that we let him go and brought Sam in. So I’m thankful for whatever it was that made that happen. I shudder to think of the state of Arkansas football after this pandemic if Morris were still at the helm. Thank goodness he isn’t.

Morris was without a doubt the worst hire in Razorback history. Well, at least in my memory. Looking back, I’m afraid if we’d won 4 instead of 2, we’d have probably kept him. In the long run, we’re better off losing all 10 if winning another meant we kept him.

The off-season with Morris still in place would have been awful. No one would have expected any real improvement this year. The prospect of a shortened season (that still might happen) would have had us looking at a possible 0-fer season. There would have been no need for social distancing within RRS. We’d have had no more than 20k–if that.

I have nothing against the guy. I’m sure he’s a nice enough person, but for reasons unknown to me, the players had virtually no use for him. Less even that for CBB or John L. Smith.

I just hate that Sam has to begin his HC career in the midst of this weird pandemic

I think it was CBB. He started in better shape and destroyed what was there. He left virtually nothing for Morris, meaning Morris started at the very bottom. Now I agree, Morris looked more like a deer facing headlights, but he didn’t destroy, he just couldn’t build it up…or build it up in only two seasons.

Can’t really argue with you, but CBB started the year after John L.

Either way, I’m more than willing to put CBB & CCM right together as the worst hires. (I don’t really count Smith because he was an interim & we had very few choices at the time.)

Everybody keeps forgetting that we looked like we were going to have a nine-win season at halftime in the Missouri game in 2017. 7-4 record, big lead against a bad team, maybe a bowl win (if we beat Mizzou we don’t play Tech in the Belk Bowl). Then in his last 13.5 games everything fell apart. And Morris frankly made things worse.

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Aloha,

Perfect summary.

GHG!

Hold on just a minute there, SF. Not “everyone” (and by the way, the games you reference were played in 2016, not 2017…when Bret went 4-8). I’m well aware of it; and it’s outside the scope of my OP anyhow. I know you’re directing your comments to some who reacted to my post, but tap on the exaggeration brakes just a little.

The relevant point is that, even after blowing those two games in 2016, then dropping to 4-8 his final season, Bielema’s record was seen as the “floor” from which we would rise. Sure, many understood that re-tooling from Bret’s style to Morris’ envisioned-but-never-seen fast-paced offense might lead to a transition season of treading water. But not a 2 win season “dip”; and not for TWO straight seasons.

That, ultimately, doomed Chad.

“Thank Goodness”

What seemed to doom Chad was his failure to recruit the players that he inherited. I don’t think that the importance of that for a new coach can be overlooked. Sam has made a huge effort to do that. How it turns out remains to be seen, but we did see what happened to Chad when he failed to do it.

I absolutely agree

Kind of a “fun” (not really) conversation to have. In my life the following have been hired as HC of the Hogs football (JFB was hired before I was born):

Holtz
Hatfield
Crowe
Ford
Nutt
BP
Smith (do you count that one?)
BB
Morris
Pittman

Pittman is unknown, can’t say on him, Holtz and Hatfield for sure not in the “bad hire” category. No matter what you think of Nutt, he won way to much to be in the “worst ever” category. Ford, did not work out great, but, I don’t think you can put him him the debate. Bobby P, as bad as it ended, he won WAY WAY to much, in my opinion to put into the debate, but I know some will say the damage he caused should put him in consideration. That leaves:

Crowe, Smith (if you count him), BB and Morris.

All were bad hires in my opinion. I will say that I was not opposed to the Crowe hire at the time (and Lord I hate to admit this) I was not opposed to the Smith hire at the time, I was opposed to the BB hire and the Morris hire (for the record, I was not blown away by the Pittman hire, but apparently we really didn’t have a lot of people who wanted the job).

I think the worst hires are 1. Morris 2. BB 3. Crowe 4 Smith (just because it was intended to be temporary and we had basically NO choices)

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What doomed Chad was not being able to put together a staff that could mesh. I think the offense and defense were on separate pages and they weren’t good pages.

A coaching friend of mine described it well when he said the previous staff (Morris) was comprised of “old goats and teenagers.” The old goats coached the defense. The teenagers coached the offense. And “coached” is not the right word.

You have to coach up what you have and bring them together. That staff (and I don’t just say it was Morris; it was the whole staff) did not bring them together and at least play up to the modest potential.

It’s easy to see things in hindsight. Not so easy as it’s happening.

You’re correct Clay, it just seemed everybody from Chad on down and all around were on a different page in the wrong chapter. That turd just rolled downhill onto the players.

What gives me hope is the staff that Coach Sam has put together. We have no idea just how they will be, but as you go position by position, you would take this staff over the previous. I think it was Guy who said they act like mature adults who know what they are doing. BB’s first staff had some solid guys, but every time he had to replace one, he had a step down (so it seemed to me), and it caught up with him. Other than the DC (who concerned me because of what he could not do at A&M), I did not know CM guys. I hoped they were good, but did not know. I know most of the ones now know their stuff. Don’t know if they can mesh.

Pitman can coach an Oline as good or better than anyone and that goes a long way, but can he coach (manage is probably a better term) a team? We will see.

I just like the fact that we’ve got linemen over 300lbs again. At times, our lines reminded me of the old pitcher and the stone story.
Whether the stone hits the pitcher, or the pitcher hits the stone, it’s going to be bad for the pitcher.

BB and Chad made a lot of fans very happy… fans that never in their wildest dreams thought they would beat a SEC team.

I did not have Coach Pittman high on my wish list to replace Morris. I’m an old military retiree. When one leads soldiers into battle, they have to believe in you. I’m hopeful for Coach Pittman’s ability to lead based on former players wanting him to be our head coach. I think the present players will want to follow his leadership into battle. I think they will become Fighting Razorbacks-fighting to win.That mentality will lead to wins, maybe not as many as we like the first season, but I think the players will respond to his honest leadership and put forth the extra effort to win. I’m glad we have Coach Sam Pittman and his hand picked assistants. GHG!

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