Of course, Clay does not fully uncover what went wrong with Arkansas’s defense this season. He mentions several injuries that had to make a dent. Reading between the lines, I sense that Clay’s hinting at some chemistry problems, perhaps a leadership void. Maybe a lack of players who pursued excellence all the time.
As for the offensive line - I wish we could have seen what would have happened, had Skipper, Froholdt, Ragnow, Gibson and Wallace been lined up as starters back in March, developed from there. It took too long to find the right five. Even after they were set, they too had some issues in the second half against Missouri. How they reassemble the line next spring will be just as important as how damaging it was this season. Cannot afford to waste so much time going in the wrong direction.
It’s difficult to estimate how much damage was caused by the failure to assemble a good Oline unit in spring and August, but Clay makes good arguments about how that failure probably affected the development of the defense.
How your seniors play determines so much each season. Most coaches will tell you, how your seniors go, tells how your team is going to go. Some of these seniors did not play their best football. Not pointing to anyone specifically. It wasn’t just one or two.
As far as the offensive line, Brian Wallace was put in several spots in the spring to see if it would take. It didn’t. He was a starter at several points in the spring and didn’t take hold. Johnny Gibson was out there all of the spring. He was given chances in every practice I saw. He didn’t take hold of a spot, either. Finally, they did.
I would love to be able to be in a situation where I could hear the coaches address a few things without having to worry about coachspeak, etc.
I’ve never seen so many times where a defensive lineman (or LB or CB for that matter) would just run by an OL who doesn’t seem to see them at all. I can understand an inexperienced OL maybe not knowing which guy to initially block, but if you’re just standing there doing nothing at all and a guy is obviously going to run past you to the QB, how do you not at least attempt to block them? Even if it’s not “your man”? Over and over.
I can count of one hand the number of times a DB looked back for the ball in coverage. In the past few years - not just this season. Surely they are coached to look for the ball sometimes? Aren’t they? Are our DB’s just not able to run with a receiver and also to play pass defense.
Our safeties often take terrible angles, watch the other guy run past them, and then slowly turn and jog a few steps before they watch them run down the field.
We have had different position coaches at times, and the problems seem to always be there. So, is it just mis-evaluations of players?
Coaching has alot to do with this mess and it is why changes have to be made. Question is who and how or if at all. I think as general statement , we need to simplify things , which was big issue on defense last year , and now it sounds like the same to a degree is taking effect on the oline. Part of our lack of speed is not physical but trying to think versus reacting and just playing. Since we do not see practice and only hear in house takeaways via press conferences we have to rely on what we see on Saturdays and the coach speak afterwards. There is also a coaching fundamental aspect that is lacking on this team—it shows on defense due to big plays usually being in space and highlighting the player but things like turning to find ball in pass coverage, setting edge to turn offensive players back to center of field, tackling and blocking is so basic as to wonder if the talent is that questionable or whether we are coaching it too fine. Not sure college in five years is enough time for development of these basic skills if we are this lacking after four years.
Winning bowl game would be nice for seniors but given how much we will be depending on redshirts and new comers , we will not have much faith or confidence until they have played about three games in Sept 2017 before we know if the culture change has been affected. Simply put this team is soft which should be an affront to Coach B’s prior history. I am reminded that you usually get what you emphasize and that a dog with fight will bite you as a puppy or early on.
I thought Clay did a very good job or recapping the story. Now we see how the program responds to the issues.
Clay, I thought it one of your better columns. I continue to believe there is a player chemistry or attitude or lack of player leadership issue that at least contributed to some of the issues you mentioned. The upper class laden DL that was so disappointing this year is very telling IMHO.
Unfortunately I think Clay needs to address what affected the team’s lack of heart and passion during their losses to the Tigers (all of them) and the Aggies. Losing to Auburn and Missouri this season rank as CBB’s worse losses of his UA career. The Hogs totally failed to show up against Auburn and just laid down and got their asses kicked to the moon and back. Against Missouri, in the second half they were out coached, out hustled and out played by a losing team with no bowl aspirations and minimal crowd attendance. There is something wrong within the team for such behavior and results. I would like to know what caused such pathetic performances besides lack of offensive line talent and what CBB is going to do to fix it.
Those two losses were devastating and will affect our national brand, recruiting and local, state and national support. UA fans, donations, recruiting and wins will accumulate with superior coaching and outstanding hustle and effort. However, when a team gets beat like the Hogs did this season, it is an indicator of some serious flaws within the team and coaching staff.