What I see (after the Auburn game)

I read what others think they see and some have some real ideas. This is not to put down their vision or thoughts. They could be right. But it’s probably not exactly what I think is happening in a 1-3 start to Arkansas football.

First, the most important position on the field is quarterback. When you are not sure who you should play at quarterback, there is trouble at the heart of the team. And, I don’t think anyone knew or understood exactly what should have been done at the top position on the team. And that is just now starting to work out.

Was it Cole Kelley or Ty Storey? Most thought it was Kelley from reading this site the last 10 months or listening to some on the street. I thought it would be Storey. But I wasn’t sure. Clearly, it’s going to be Storey now, until something happens to make that wrong, injury or poor play.

Unfortunately, there are other issues within this team that are going to prevent Story from playing with a full deck. The offensive line is still undermanned and in poor shape because of depth. That’s just plain poor recruiting.

I’d say it’s poor recruiting at quarterback, too. You might say that running back is a case of poor recruiting, too, although I’ve just taken that approach lately. It’s easy to see after four games that Rakeem Boyd is the best of the running backs and it was one of the big gets late in the recruiting for Chad Morris.

There cannot be an offensive line that had to practice this August camp with only eight players on scholarship, as Arkansas did. Line coach Dustin Fry should get a medal for trying to mix and match just to get through a practice, much less a game.

What do you do if you don’t have 10 offensive linemen for a practice? Do you ask some to practice with both the ones and the twos? Do you just sit down and rest them for a bit? That’s only a stretch by a little bit.

That’s fewer players than most high schools in the state of Arkansas can put on the field for a practice and they can’t even recruit. It’s almost impossible to practice with just eight offensive linemen.

So anyone – anyone that knows one thing about Power 5 football – can say this team has some talent and I’ll just laugh in their face. You can’t have a football team without talent at quarterback and offensive line. You can’t.

Chad Morris and his recruiters know they need more scholarships given to offensive line talent. That’s the mission now. Morris said this summer that he wants at least 15 to be on scholarship in the offensive line. I might up that one or two.

But he said you can over sign in the defensive line and convert some of those players to the offensive side of the ball. Many good defensive linemen play both ways in high school so it’s not a stretch to do that.

Defensively, there is more ability there than in several years, mostly because there were a few more hits in evaluation. Dre Greenlaw, Scoota Harris, Randy Ramsey, McTelvin Agim, Derrick Munson, Kamren Curl, Santos Ramierez, Ryan Pulley, Dorgian Gerald, Michael Taylor and a few others have true ability. Is it at the top level of the SEC? Probably not, but there is more here than on offense.

Then, here is the crux of the talent void? The bottom of the roster is not good enough to field a proper group of special teams without playing a lot of walk-ons. Starters on defense (and the best are coming off injuries) must help there when they should not have to because of conditioning. Greenlaw and Ramsey could or would play on special teams, but can’t right now.

There is lack of talent with the kickers. Connor Limpert is the best, but it’s really not close. None of the other punters/kickers are even remotely close in ability. Limpert does not have the ability to kick it deep into the end zone. The punters are horrible.

Yes, protection was bad against Auburn, but had it been good, the punting net average would still have been in the low to mid 30s. It was a great night to punt with a cross wind, something that carries the ball. But the Arkansas punters were just lucky to get a punt in the air against the rush. They need better protection with more top line athletes to help I maintain that’s lack of team athletic ability.

Great ability at placekicker and punter would correct some of these faults and must be addressed. Find great kickers. It has been done for 50 years at Arkansas. If you don’t know how to find them, go talk to Ken Turner, the best of the UA special teams coaches now in retirement near Bryant.

I understand the decision of Jonathan Nance. The passing game isn’t good enough to consistently target any wide receivers. It wasn’t that they did not want to throw to him. You have to protect and also have consistency at quarterback. That hadn’t happened yet, but it did seem to be better against Auburn because of Storey’s willingness to compete.

It doesn’t surprise me when a junior college player bails. He hasn’t been here long enough to know what he should do or have a loyalty to anyone. I will say that he wasn’t the most heralded juco receiver in that recruiting class. I think there should be some appreciation that Arkansas did want him. If I remember, his first college stop was Southern Miss and the coaches there thought he was a cornerback.

There is good news in all of this. Chad Morris and his coaches are working to get top effort on the field each week. That’s the top item in coaching. Most think it’s about drawing fancy plays. No, it’s about effort. I saw good effort at Auburn and that’s a good sign for the future. It’s also clear that he’s working hard and getting some positive results in recruiting. Recruiting better talent – along with coaching effort – should get Arkansas on the right track.

It’s about the jimmies and joe’s, not the x’s and o’s. There have been a lot of misses in recruiting with our highly rated guys who are not nearly as good as were rated, but some lower rated guys have played much better i.e Ryan Pulley, Scoota Harris. The o-line recruiting needs a lot, and by the looks of the 2020 class the potential is there if we can land some of our targets. Another issue has been specialists. We had a highly rated guy in Cole Hedlund, but a good coach would have done everything to build the kids confidence, and look at him now. Jonathon Nance was a db at Southern Miss. Even they didn’t think he was a good enough receiver.

good read clay and i agree. questions, how many offensive linemen do you feel should be on scholarship? how many more this year should we add to the roster. do we go the juco route until we reach optimum numbers on offensive line? and with the plethora of defensive line recruits coming in, what defensive linemen might make the move as capps did to the offensive line? would farrell. who we have heard little about, be a possible candidate or does he still project as a defensive tackle? and lastly, what is a realistic time frame for morris to get this fiasco straightened out? i think we need 3 years recruiting like we are having this year or better before we are a threat again.

also i think the wideouts morris was left with were not as talented as previously thought. looks like he is correcting that immediately with this upcoming class…

and kickers, who knows. we need both punter and fg kicker in the worst way.

The sad state of affairs we are witnessing is the result of nothing short of a clown show that’s been underway for years and will take years to recover from. I don’t expect Arkansas to be respectable - not great - just respectable until 2020 and that’s provided Morris recruits well (easier said than done given our awful brand) and gets a few breaks.

I hope in the future when it’s obvious things are in decline we’ll ( admininistrators, boosters, fans) all embrace reality and deal with it head on. The thread linked below is an interesting read and walk down memory lane. The decay and rot within the program was clearly underway, but not everybody was willing to accept it and to ask the hard questions and contemplate the poor answers to those same questions. It’s happened at many other places besides Arkansas too, but we need to learn from our mistakes from this painful lesson going forward lest we repeat them again.

BakedHog 19741 - when you post I will ALWAYS pay attention. Your ability to cut through BS, identify the problems, and forecast where things were headed was spot on!

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Here is the thing Jackson. The day (the DAY) CBB was hired, I said it was a mistake and bashed him, and the Allen’s. I said if Bret didn’t run them off (all three of them) then he would show he wasn’t a good coach and both him and Long would be gone in five years. That was in Dec 2012, neither was here in Dec 2017. But I defended Bret last year because he recruited for “his” type of players. When many, including yourself had been very supportive of his firing and bringing in this type of offensive minded coach. I warned, that we wouldn’t have the type of players on the roster for this year. I was told I was wrong. Now, this year was one of the easiest schedules I can remember. Over the next three years it gets harder. Next year instead of Vandy we get KY, the following year Tenn, and the following year (Morris year four) GA. As for OOC, this year we had four non P5 opponents. In 2019 we get Notre Dame, in 2020 we get Texas. So, over the next few years, Morris may get his guys, but the level of competition increases as well. I don’t think (and I said this when CBB came on board) the fan base will be willing to wait until Morris will have his guys and an easier schedule.

Now, I bring this up because of elmo, the things he being blasted on are very similar to my complaints about CBB and the waiting that would be needed. Elmo doesn’t want to wait, and I respect that. Some of the people that are badgering him are the same ones that’ll be calling for Morris’ head in year four, and telling him he’s still wrong and they never thought Morris was the right fit. If we give the guy 10 years, Morris may provide stability and a winner, but I don’t think he will be here in 10 years (success or not).

But if I’m right and people are frustrated again in 2020, then a change not only in coaching will occur, but people will want a change in philosophy which will handcuff us for another “wait until he gets his guys.”

I really hope I and elmo are wrong, but I fear we aren’t.

I think ND is in 2020 and Texas in 2021.

Otherwise I agree with you apart for the late support of Bielema!

Getting fans to be patient is difficult because we’ve been down for so long. I think Morris needs 5 years, but don’t see any way he gets it unless he’s good in year three which will be hard. I will continue to support him because I wanted change and believe in his offensive philosophy.

Very depressing situation though - biggest rebuild IMO we’ve ever had.

To correct your OOC schedule, we go to Notre Dame in 2020 and play Texas in 2021.

Yep, correct. I know we play TN and Notre Lame the same year, and Texas and GA the same year, just deleted the 2019 schedule even though I remembered KY

Razor, I think you have to be careful when you recruit offensive linemen in the juco ranks. Yes, you might find a few, but it’s a pretty low percentage of hit and misses in O-line play. Sebastian Tretola was a hit. There have been a few others, but not many. As far as numbers, maybe somewhere around 15 is the right number. Not sure about Billy Ferrell as an O-line propsect. First, he has to get healthy.

IMO its a combination of Talent ,Depth and putting kids in position to where they can succeed… this is not a very talented team with. Proven QB but I still contend there are things we could be doing that would give them a chance to succeed raring back and throwing bombs is not one of them they are very low percentage passes Especially when the defense is blitzing you every third down that you have.

The kids gave a great effort but we are going to have to change how we approach offense IMO because this offensive line is not going to give them time to throw the ball deep down the field on a continual basis we are going to have to find a way to keep the chains moving, short quick passes that will give the quarterback some confidence.
I think you will see that more this week

I like what Boyd has flashed so far, but I am not down on our other backs. I think some patience is in order for Chase Hayden, since he’s coming off a bad injury last year and looks to be feeling his way back a bit. I would like to see M. Williams get some more touches, as he’s flashed a bit as well.

Whaley clearly does not have the burst of Boyd in short spaces, and that makes it tougher for him running behind that line. He’s paid the price for having to be the grinder, and not surprisingly he’s now hurt. He’s a better than average back who would look a lot better running behind a good OL.

I’m puzzled why you say there were no quick and short passes. There definitely were. I did not see lot of deep throws against Aiburn. I did see two swing passes work and two more where QB missed the receiver, one maybe catchable. I think they will keep throwing those, too.

There were a few short passes to the sidelines but only one over the middle that I can remember and it was a beautiful pass to Jones for a big play we never came back to it. I am assuming we were trying to go deep on all those sacks They were blitzing us on every third down we never ever tried to hit a hot route to a tight end off the line of scrimmage or hit any slants across the middle all those are very easy passes and almost impossible to get a sack on Wii through one screen pass and he dropped it and we never came back to it those kind of plays are deadly against a blitz. I watch Bama and Oklahoma for the ball across the middle all the time and I don’t know why we arent doing that

This is a really good back and forth exchange! I respect everyone who has posted. I’m of the opinion Coach deserves a chance to fix the mess he inherited!

Don’t know if others (or Clay) will agree with this or not, but that reminded me a great deal of OH’s “rant” after Nutt got the job over Tuberville - in it’s tone, not content. Not Clay’s usual even-keel approach; there was an edge - you might even say, some angst and frustration - there that you don’t usually see in Clay’s work. I almost always avoid comparing Clay to OH in any way, because I think it’s done far too often (and usually, IMO, inappropriately) here. But in this particular case, that’s the column I was reminded of as I read it.

For those of you who may not know what I’m talking about, read this:

Note: Link deleted because the original post on another site was a violation of copyright laws.

Baked, I enjoy your posting too but have a question of clarification. You were against the hiring of CBB in the beginning but wanted to keep him after year five?

That’s where I am. I know there are real problems on offense but when I say there is some talent on the team (and Clay may laugh in my face) I’m pointing to all those same defensive players he named.

Is that enough to be a good team? No. But I think it’s enough to be more competitive than we have been and closer to Clay’s and others’ preseason prediction regarding W/Ls.

At this point I’m just looking for effort and basic competence in all 3 phases. If we can get to that point it’s a start.

The OL is a mess. That is a combination of Bielema not recruiting enough, the higher-rated guys not panning out, and 2-3 retiring unexpectedly in the last year. Not many mention that. It has hurt, also.

But, that’s history. Now we have to dig out of this and it will only happen when our players start playing like they’re motivational tweets.

While the talent level here isn’t at P5 standards, it’s my opinion that there was enough talent to beat EIU, CSU and at the least not get blown out by NTU.

I think CCM missed on evaluating the existing talent from the time he was hired until now. I believe he coaches every game by the seat of his pants trying to find a winning combination while mistakes before the snap and ST continually bite us in the rear. Penalties for too many players on the field, coaching.

I’ve met CCM and I truly like his demeanor. I think he’s in over his head at this point in time and that if improvements don’t happen by this time next year, some of the SMU mafia might need to go.

I really want him to succeed and keep that Texas pipeline hooked up. After 52 years I suppose I’m getting grumpy and impatient, especially after the last 2 years.

Oh well, I’ll be heading to Arlington this afternoon and continue to do what I’ve done for 52 years and continue to hope and CALL THOSE HOGS!

my .02

There are coaching issues with every coach at every level in every game. I do recall Nick Saban’s team getting penalties and making mistakes last year – for having too many players on the field and for other penalties that you say “how can that happen.” No one has perfect games. Not in college and not in the NFL, and that’s the top coaches by anyone’s standard.

Clay, I agree about coaching issues at every level, but to me in the first three games, it was more about a lack of coaching than a coaching issue. I know most will probably disagree, but it didn’t look like anyone really knew what they were doing, and even worse like they didn’t care. Now, against AUB, kids looked like they knew what they were doing and cared. Since, you brought up Saban, if one of his teams played the way we did against North Texas, he would have had a stroke from the level of mad he was. I haven’t seen that with Morris, I know you’ve been to the games,and may have seen him getting on guys, but I haven’t. If you watch a Bama game, you’ll see Saban do it, and I have to imagine he’s worse when the cameras aren’t on.