Talent level

I know there are mixed feelings especially around here on the current talent level for the team.
Last night while listening to Chad Morris at the Texarkana Razorback club meeting, I got the feeling he doesn’t think it’s very good. He made a couple comments while speaking and to me as well when I got the chance to introduce myself to him that made me think this.

My favorite was along the lines of, if the last coach had done a good job of recruiting, I wouldn’t be here.

Speaks volumes to me on how Bret really just didn’t do much at all well. I know he won some battles in recruiting, but over all did not recruit the right players with the right talent level.

I think Chads going to need a few recruiting classes to fix this mess.

Agree. All I have heard from him indicates he does not think the talent level is very strong. How many of these guys would play for Auburn, Bama, LSU etc?
Not many at all. I really liked Bret, but each SEP. when I looked at the talent level of the team, I became more discourged. We could just play with teams that an SEC team should completely blow away. They were barely up to the level of Coastal Carolina.

My biggest complaint was the lack of overall team speed. It showed again in the Spring Game. People talk about keeping things simple and I am certain they did. Had no problem with that, but you do not keep speed under wraps.

It is going to take some time and alot of strong recruiting of the right type players to become SEC ready. I sure don’t see it on campus this year.

[quote=“TheQ”]

I know there are mixed feelings especially around here on the current talent level for the team.
Last night while listening to Chad Morris at the Texarkana Razorback club meeting, I got the feeling he doesn’t think it’s very good. He made a couple comments while speaking and to me as well when I got the chance to introduce myself to him that made me think this.

My favorite was along the lines of, if the last coach had done a good job of recruiting, I wouldn’t be here.

Speaks volumes to me on how Bret really just didn’t do much at all well. I know he won some battles in recruiting, but over all did not recruit the right players with the right talent level.

I think Chads going to need a few recruiting classes to fix this mess.

[/quote]I don’t view the talent level as abysmal. In fact, I feel the first unit could be fairly solid. I’m thinking the issue is the QB position; i.e., we don’t have an experienced QB who can run Morris’ version of the spread. Of course, if we can’t find/develop a QB quickly, it’ll be a long season.

It would be nice also to add another DT through grad transfer

The defense is ahead of the offense imo mainly because of the disparity at QB

Right.

He mentioned the team speed as being too slow.

I’m very worried about the OL, I have a feeling it’s going to be really, really bad. Last year Frank helped probably more than we understand, and now that he’s gone we are left with maybe 1 SEC level OL, in froholdt.

It’s going to be tough sledding.

He sounded the most excited about Mike Woods, Freshman WR. Said he would be all SEC, no doubt.

I’ve never seen any new Arkansas coach, or for that matter any new coach, fail to say that “we need to recruit better”. It’s on a par with “we have to play them one game at a time”. Obviously CM and staff covet speed at most positions, and while we have some team speed, we clearly don’t have enough…

But…CM has not really said anything substantive about what he thinks he can do with the talent he has to work with for the coming season. I think that even if CM thought the talent level was great, he’d be smart enough to minimize expectations going into the first year with very different offensive and defensive schemes.

Spring practice really did not give a good read on whether we have enough talent to effectively run the new offense/defense. I read somewhere where the OC was saying only 35-40% of the offense got installed, and you would have to expect that the pressure-heavy defense also is still in the toddler stage. New schemes in the spring always cause more thinking than knowing, and that leads to poorer performance that typically improves with repetition and coaching. So the talent has a very real chance of looking better once it actually gets comfortable with doing what the staff wants done.

I also think that some guys who did not do well in the previous regime will look a lot better next fall. We saw some glimpses of that this spring, with previously forgotten guys flashing some good stuff. I also thought it was fascinating that the staff spent a couple of post- Red/White practices “installing” the summer unsupervised workouts. There is clearly an expectation that the team will work hard not just on S & C, but on building and refining their skills/unit cohesion during the summer. Which in turn provides a springboard for marked improvement in August over the end of spring practice.

And the process will continue in the first two or three games. We need to see how they play, and how much they improve with game action. So I am skeptical of any one saying the talent level is awful at this point. We do need more talent, but I am not convinced that justifies some of the low expectations post-spring.

I don’t think the cupboard is completely bare. I think the defense could be better due to our DC and some of the defensive staff.

But, I am not going to be pushed into the idea of giving CM and his rookie staff a 3 year free pass. The guy is supposed to be known as a recruiting genius. All I’ve seen from him are a bunch of catch phrases, photo ops, and our worst recruiting class in modern history. And to start off this year, the only real talent we were getting has de-committed. The other players are fringe 3 star kids. Malik Chavis may be a really nice player, but the OL’s are puzzling to me. One is too big, and the other is too small. Sure, it’s early, but we really need to be a lot further down the line with commitments.

Ole Miss has a new coach, is on probation, a bowl ban, had senior transfers, and scholarship reductions. Hasn’t seemed to hurt them. We have a squeaky clean program and can’t even get a 3 star DL to stay.

Again, the problem WASN’T the offense last year. It was the D. For this coach to overlook that would be insane.

And I know it’s nice he knows the state of Texas. Great. But this isn’t SMU, and it takes more than taking pics with rappers. Endearing yourself on social media, and talking a good game won’t be remembered if we don’t have a marked improvement in recruiting. And that means the next class.

He also said on the radio last week that he didn’t see how last year’s team only finished 4-8, so which is it? He’s a coach, they’re a little bit like politicians, they have to play to the audience they are addressing, and to set the bar where it makes them look the best.
As far as talent, we aren’t devoid of it, but we need more, you always need more.

Right, I’m not saying it felt like he was saying we don’t have enough talent to win some games but rather that the talent level isn’t what you need and expect in the 5th year of a tenure. As to what he said on the radio that’s also how I took it, that in your 5th year there’s no excuse for 4-8. There’s no excuse for t period. I think he knows there’s enough talent to go to a bowl game, but not to compete in the west.

Yes they have to hit the right notes, but what they say 1 on 1 is the most telling.

You raise some good points.

As far as the OL being too big or too small, I’m not sure how 6’5 is too small? Yeah he’s light but he will gain weight. I’m not going to pretend like I know more than a guy who was an all conference Ol and played in the NFL. He played with the best of he thinks they have it, his opinion is better than ours.

I watched Bret get some highly recruited guys who never amounted to anything. So I’m out on the Ol recruiting predictions.

We all agree that talk is cheap, but I do think chad is much more aware of what needs to be done and how to do it.

I don’t question the guys they offer, if ron cooper thinks Chavis can play safety, so do I. He’s a fantastic Safety coach.

The fact that Chad sees the problems and is atleast trying to address them gives me hope.

Well, it isn’t like the one on one conversations stay private, lol. I’ve read about a few comments he and his staff has made about their “situation” on the Hill. Sometimes , it’s best to say nothing.

The talent level is not where it needs to be to compete for the SEC title.

It also is neither the bottom of the barrel.

I would say it is about where they finished last season - 4-8 - with a few new guys added in like Dorian Gerald Myles Mason and Mike Woods - all of whom I expect to see significant snaps this season.

I think TB depth and TE depth are really good.

Obvious question is how OL will improve and can someone step up at QB.

The new offensive scheme - which once again was not unveiled in LR - will help.

I also think the fact that Coach Chavis will bring pressure from everywhere - as he did in practices - will improve the defense as will an improved back 7 (or 8) at times.

I think it is mostly an issue of depth more so than starters. I contend if Ryan Pulley would have been available the entire year CBB is still here.

Right.

That’s why I haven’t mentioned what he said to me. Wasn’t anything groundbreaking, but t was one on one and I still believe in not spreading things that others say regardless of how good or bad it is.

Just say what he said to the crowd. It’s along the same lines usually just with a different demeanor sometimes.

Yeah, depth is the real issue. There are some good players, but then there’s a big drop off.

To be honest, that statement, coming from someone who probably knows more about our talent level than anyone else not on the staff, scares me. While I guess 4-8 isn’t “bottom of the barrel”, it is close enough to see the bottom! I was holding out hope that our talent level was better than what we showed last year. :frowning:

I think there is a pretty good argument to be made that the W-L record last year underperformed relative to the talent level. I still think the team broke mentally in the last two games of 2016 and never recovered in 17.

The big question in my mind is whether the new staff can get most of the returnees to develop and play better than what they showed last year. Physically there is enough talent there to have a good first year and go to a bowl, without counting on the newcomers to do too much heavy lifting. Mentally… well that’s why CM and staff make a lot of money.

But it’s also kind of a free shot for the new staff. Expectations are low. If things are not going well in mid-October the staff can use the rest of the season to experiment all they want, recruit like hell, and take their lumps. On the other hand if we go into November with five wins, most folks are probably going to be feeling pretty good about where we are headed.

[quote=“nlrbuzzard”]

I’ve never seen any new Arkansas coach, or for that matter any new coach, fail to say that “we need to recruit better”. It’s on a par with “we have to play them one game at a time”. Obviously CM and staff covet speed at most positions, and while we have some team speed, we clearly don’t have enough…

But…CM has not really said anything substantive about what he thinks he can do with the talent he has to work with for the coming season. I think that even if CM thought the talent level was great, he’d be smart enough to minimize expectations going into the first year with very different offensive and defensive schemes.

Spring practice really did not give a good read on whether we have enough talent to effectively run the new offense/defense. I read somewhere where the OC was saying only 35-40% of the offense got installed, and you would have to expect that the pressure-heavy defense also is still in the toddler stage. New schemes in the spring always cause more thinking than knowing, and that leads to poorer performance that typically improves with repetition and coaching. So the talent has a very real chance of looking better once it actually gets comfortable with doing what the staff wants done.

I also think that some guys who did not do well in the previous regime will look a lot better next fall. We saw some glimpses of that this spring, with previously forgotten guys flashing some good stuff. I also thought it was fascinating that the staff spent a couple of post- Red/White practices “installing” the summer unsupervised workouts. There is clearly an expectation that the team will work hard not just on S & C, but on building and refining their skills/unit cohesion during the summer. Which in turn provides a springboard for marked improvement in August over the end of spring practice.

And the process will continue in the first two or three games. We need to see how they play, and how much they improve with game action. So I am skeptical of any one saying the talent level is awful at this point. We do need more talent, but I am not convinced that justifies some of the low expectations post-spring.

[/quote] agree what do you expect him to say: the last guy left me a lot of talent so I expect to win 10 games & make it to the SEC championship? It’s Coachspeak & Chad is very good at it

Exactly. We could have easily won three more games, all in conference play: A&M, Moo U and Misery. Couldn’t get the job done in the fourth quarter in any of the three, especially on defense. And 7-5 + bowl/4-4 in SEC, Bielema would still be here. But he’s not. So Left Lane does get a free shot. And I do think we’ll be running his system better in November than we will in September.

By the way, the schedule sets up nicely for us. We could be bowl eligible by Halloween. Three winnable games in September, hope to steal one from Auburn-TAM-Bama, then three straight home games (OM/Tulsa/Vandy).