These are Clay's notes from Jeff Long at the TD Club

It is his birthday. Jeff was presented his favorite cake by the TD Club. Jeff knew that it was Bob Holt’s birthday, too. So Bob was brought up to get his picture made holding the cake with Jeff.

Bo asked Jeff about the play of this year’s team:

“Our defense is getting better,” Long said. “That was the question about this year’s team, was the defense good enough. The defensive line makes a secondary better and this defensive line is making plays. The defensive line pressure and the play of a secondary go hand in hand.”

On sliding in the mud at soccer, Jeff said, “I had to do it. They (the players) were chanting my name. I will say this, if you haven’t stomped in the mud in a while, you need to do it. I was sliding across the water and thought, this is joy.”

On finding a replacement for Michigan, Long said it’s a tough situation.

“We are asking three or four others to change their game,” he said. "As you are doing that, you feel bad because you are doing to them what Michigan did to us and you don’t want to do that to another team.

“There is a sense of urgency for us, but there isn’t that sense from the teams we are talking to.”

Bo asked Long about the Florida AD job.

“I don’t understand all of the questions I’ve gotten about that,” he said. "The last guy (Frank Broyles) had this job for 50 years so why do people think I am going to run out of town.

“I don’t comment on searches of other universities. It’s not appropriate.”

There was a long conversation about what it’s like to be at Arkansas with smaller resources and in a state with just 3 million people.

“I think it’s more fun to fight as an underdog,” he said. "Now, I know some probably don’t view us as an underdog. But I do like fighting at Arkansas. We want to win at the highest level.

“I think it feels better to win at Arkansas. I think it does. When we beat the Alabama, Ohio State or LSU teams, it means more. While we aren’t an underdog to many people, I do think we have a chip on our shoulder.”

There were thoughts on the accountability factor with Bret Bielema.

“I love Bret,” Long said. “He is a players coach. He cares about players. But he has accountability. He has discipline and cares about character… We suspend a player for being five minutes late and other programs don’t for having a run in with the law.”

In the Q&A session with fans, Long was asked about parking in lot 44 during construction of the north end zone.

“There will be cranes there,” he said. “People who are parking there are going to be moved next year. I’ll let Scott Varady and his people at the (Razorback Foundation) tell people where they are going.”

In looking for a replacement for Michigan, what type of criteria are they looking at other than a Power 5 team?

It appears that there are some options in the ACC such as Duke, Georgia Tech, and Miami - they have open dates in 2018 & 2019.

I have heard that due to the circumstances and timing of the Michigan welch Arkansas may be granted an exemption from the SEC for scheduling a power 5 team. If that happens, couldn’t we schedule a home/away or neutral site with one of the independents? Notre Dame or BYU possibly?

I know that the Athletic Administration at Arkansas has probably vetted out all of the possibilities, so…what am I missing? Why haven’t they moved on one of these options?

Notre Dame and BYU count as Power 5. They are just special.

I think the only two criteria are it has to satisfy the Power 5 scheduling requirement and the opponent must guarantee a return game. Independents like Notre Dame, BYU and Army meet the scheduling requirement. I don’t see Arkansas scheduling Notre Dame, but could see a home-and-home with BYU. Those independent teams have a lot of flexibility in scheduling; much more than teams with conference affiliations.

You mentioned those ACC teams. While they do have open dates, all already have other Power 5 teams on the schedule - Duke has Baylor and Northwestern in '18, Notre Dame in '19, for instance. Georgia Tech has Georgia every year. It has shown the willingness to play multiple SEC teams each year, so maybe it’s an option.

For the most part, though, teams already have their Power 5 nonconference opponent and don’t want a second one. It’d be like Arkansas scheduling TCU and Texas Tech in the same year. Some on here think the Razorbacks were crazy to play one - let alone two - on top of the SEC schedule.

That’s why there aren’t a lot of choices. The most likely scenario is that Arkansas will buy-out an existing contract between two teams. I’m told it has already offered that to a handful of programs with no takers.

The other dynamic here is that a program has to want to play Arkansas. Jeff Long can’t force someone to play the game. Coaches have a say in this, too, and there are some who want no part of the SEC.

I believe Michigan left us for Notre Dame, so that game now being our open week, I think they’re out. I say forget P5, SEC said ok. Schedule NDSU. Right now, that game might be a lot better and a lot better for us committee wise than those you mentioned. Plus, I’ve never been to Fargo.

If we get a Power 5 waiver from SECankey, I would love to see us schedule Houston. Another old SWC rivalry, Herman will likely be gone by 2018 and Houston could very well be a power 5 (Big 12) team by then, anyway.

Currently, they have Rice, Arizona, & Texas Tech as their non-conference schedule. Texas Tech could be a conference matchup by 2018 and they could replace that with Arkansas as non-conference.

btw - thanks for the quick response Matt!

GentryRzrbk: Special (said with a long stretch like Spaaaeeee-shul) :lol: