The Program (s)

When you see what the men’s and women’s Arkansas track programs have done, it helps put in perspective why Bama is Bama (and other elite programs). We can be told that Arkansas is difficult to recruit to because of the location, the airport, whatever. But the ARKANSAS track program is getting it done! I know scholarships and the sports are different, but the location is the same. Elite runners WANT to come here because of the dominance of the program. CJM started it and created a elite program, even more than Oregon with Phil Knight’s Nike money.

I not going to argue whether its harder to build a football program than a track program. There are definitely more moving parts. But LOCATION can’t be an excuse or we wouldn’t have the track program we have.

Bama gets what Bama gets because of their success(es). It certainly isn’t because kids want to live in Tuscaloser! Arkansas must continue to improve every year, incrementally decrease the difference between the haves and have nots, and catch lightning in a bottle for a year or two, then build on that success. I don’t believe location is a valid excuse.

Location is something that has to be overcome. For McDonnell, for Bucknam, for Harter. And for Bielema (and Anderson and Dykes).

It’s not quite an oranges to oranges comparison, by the way. Track has 12.6 scholarships for men, 15 for women. Those are split up pretty well, but you can have a really good track program with 40 athletes (I counted 51 on the 2016 men’s roster, about 60 on the women’s, but many of those may be redshirting). Heck, you can win an NCAA title in track with just five or six studs. Five or six studs on a football roster gets you killed in the SEC.

Basketball, of course, has strict roster limits. Two or three 4- and 5-stars can get you to the promised land.

Hey swine, pull your head out and tell me where I said it was oranges to oranges. And the point was I don’t believe location is an excuse. It’s not like the track team put together 2-3 good years - it’s a FREAKIN DYNASTY up in the hills of the Ozarks.

I Posted earlier that the Track program was OK, and then Broyles hired this guy from Ireland (he was on the staff). They started wining and haven’t stopped. Location? A lot of those early teams were made up of guys from across the Atlantic… Did what it took and Drake Field was the Airport with Scheduled Skyways. JM didn’t complain. He just got it done.

You say Arkansas to a track recruit and they are immediately intrigued. That’s from years and years of winning titles. That wasn’t the case for CJM and the point he built a great program in the same place as the football team is well taken. But in my thinking, the emphasis in those days on track was probably not what it is today. I don’t remember reading stories on it like I do today, but then again I’m older and don’t remember well. When you say Alabama to football recruits, their ears perk up. Maybe not so much as Arkansas. I don’t think venue can be an excuse, but we do know (according to Richard Davenport, I believe) that some recruits who would like to take unofficial visits here have a hard time lining up airfare because of limited flights and costs. Excuse? No. Fact? Reportedly, yes.

I’m not an apologist for SF, and he can defend himself; but I must ask you why you resorted to that type of hostile response - is there some history between the two of you? “Pull your head out”? Are you 14 years old? There was nothing like that aimed at you or anyone else in his post, that you responded to. You asked a question - and he gave his thoughts in return. No reason to get feisty.

Argue the point, not the person. You could have made the exact same post WITHOUT making yourself look silly by instead just asking “Where did I say it was oranges to orange?”

Wiz, you beat me to it. Nothing more to say, and no further point in engaging someone who can’t debate without personal attacks.

Whiz, I, and others, get tired of his condescension; and he’s supppsed to be a mod. It’s like a rent a cop who gets a little authority and then treats others like crap. If “pull your head out” is too much for someone who clearly didn’t read all of my post without being smug in their response, then TDB!

HogQ, I get where you’re coming from. Sometimes, I pick up a little of that in SF’s posts. Now, before someone complains about this being a “pot, meet kettle” post, or me throwing Jeff under the bus - I’m fully aware that MY posts sometimes (frequently?) rub people the wrong way too (I see many heads nodding up and down as they read this - lol). IMO, both of us can come off as a little “preachy” sometimes. In both cases (SF and myself), it’s rarely if ever intentional. But I also understand that sometimes a post will come off differently to the reader than the poster intended when typing it out. Especially on a fan board like this.

That said, I just don’t see any of that in the post he made in this thread that you reacted to. You may have some built-up angst against him due to some prior exchanges - I don’t know. But I will say anyone reading this thread will find reason to criticize you, not him. There just was no reason to snap at him, based on his post here.

Wiz, respectfully, I really don’t care if anyone finds criticism with my post or not. I’m tired of him half reading posts made by other people on this board and acting all smug in his replies. I get along with most people however I don’t tolerate condescension or smugness just like Capt. Gus McCrae didn’t tolerate surliness in a barkeep.

Location is always a factor in building a program, but other things can overcome them. Bama’s location isn’t what makes it great; it’s the winning tradition that began in the 1920’s & became legendary under Bear Bryant. After that, it required bad mismanagement to hold down. Notre Dame has inherent advantages today–it’s THE Catholic school for football, but it became that under Rockne, continued under Frank Leahy and, like Bama, has only failed under a few coaches.

Our track program came about when very few schools really cared about it, but we happened to get an uncommonly great track coach. He started by getting top runners from Ireland, his native country. Soon our location didn’t matter, we became the destination for all the greatest track stars. That hasn’t happened to us in football. It’s harder for it to have. Destinations already existed for football for years–USC, Austin, Tuscaloosa, South Bend, Columbus, Ann Arbor, to name a few. Most of those places have inherent population advantages. We don’t.

So can location be overcome? Of course. Is it a disadvantage? Of course. If the coach doesn’t overcome it enough to suit the fans’ expectations, should he be replaced with “someone who will get it done”? Of course not. At least not if the fans want to build as good a program as can be built. CBB is doing very well. He’s not doing it as fast as any of us would like. He might never get us an SEC or National championship. However, I like our chances with him as well as I like them with anyone who is even remotely available & I like our chances with him a whole lot more than I like them with almost anyone we might replace him with. And I know just how badly ANY change sets a program back. There comes a time when a coach needs to go, but it’s not when his upward track just isn’t high enough to suit people who believe failing to win big enough is always because the coach is at fault.

This is a great post.