What to expect versus A&M

The Hogs will play impassioned football and over and above their abilities, A&M will be flat after a loss to Auburn and uninspired to play a team that loses to San Jose State.

And it will be a close game – like all these A&M games.

I expect A&M to win by 2 to 7 points.

Then many of us will have hope again. More likely than not, the “hope” will be short-lived, but at least we’ll have it for a couple of weeks.

Obvious question that will never be asked by the media – how can a team that plays a ranked A&M team down to the wire, one week prior not get the job done and beat San Jose State at home when they are favored by 21 points?

I agree with you about this being a close loss. I’ve always expected that.

As for SJS I also expected that to be a close win. Unfortunately, we didn’t. Some of you guys need to pay attention to how games are actually played and not what the media is saying about it.

Heck one of the betting sites had us picked to lose a close game to Portland St. someone you mentioned being upset about by barely squeaking by.

Our team is young, talented (yes they have more talent than SJS) and made a young team mistake, they looked ahead and gave SJS no chance, I’m guessing you did too. That’s always a way for a young team to lose. AR also seems to play to their opponent, bad team = us looking terrible, good team = us playing good. Another young team issue.

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If we are close in the 4th quarter against A&M, I think we win. They know they can do it, just haven’t shown it a lot in the last couple of years. It’s the first 3 quarters I’m worried about this time. I want to see us moving the chains in a steady, grinding game and not trying to hit the home run on every swing.

I can answer the question. Emotion. As I wrote last week, the team had no fire for one whole half. I explained it last week, too. You probably didn’t get that down in the slough.

Based on limited practice reports that indicate the coaches have instilled an expectation that performance has to be better and Coach Morris saying he expects the team to play very well this week against TAM, I would expect the team to be emotionally prepared and ready to lay it on the line given next week is an open date. Having said that teams that depend on high levels of emotions have to avoid getting hit in the mouth early and having all that pep leave like air out of a ballon. Emotion cannot off set execution but with it then it can be very helpful. I can see a win, close game or absolute blowout. I want to see all out effort and playing as coached. Can accept the outcome if that happens but not showing up is unforgivable.

100% agreed

I think Jimbo has the score of the Hogs Vs SJS wrote on the chalkboards in team meeting room,dressing room-stating this is what happens when you look past a team no matter how big a favorite you are going in. I do think we will be more focused and should play better with getting some injured players back, not sure that will be enough for a win, we may have to be happy just to be competitive for now. WPS

Aggies O line, while not great is still better than our D line. Thier D line has legit Pro prospects on it. Our best O lineman is a true freshman offered at the last minute. Aggies dominate. Jimbo will make sure they don’t look past hogs. This game won’t be close. Aggies win bit time.

Clay is right. If you work with college kids you know that emotion is everything. Especially to this generation, which is a very sensitive “wear your heart on your sleeve” generation. Example…my choir went on “retreat” to the beach together last Friday. Just ate and played silly games (that they made up…) and talked about what music meant to them.

Monday and Wednesday have been the best rehearsals of the year. By far. not even close. Nothing had changed. Just their mindset.

Now is the coaching staff at least somewhat responsible for the team being flat against San Jose? Yes. Does any leader of college kids have complete control of their mindset? An emphatic no.

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Maestro, I understand your points completely but Mr. Saban comes very close and Dabo seems to have the. skill set to get this generation to perform . Very few today could handle a Bear Bryant or Wilson Matthews in their prime.

That makes sense and that’s a reason, and it may be the reason. I love your columns, Clay, and have for years, but down here in the slough, I did not read any of the coverage of the game pre or post; I saw enough on the television. I find more and more that I don’t read the coverage pre or post game; too depressing and too much fluff and spin. But the Hogs clearly were flat and playing without emotion, and to me – when the team is flat and not ready to play – that goes back to coaching…

The HC at the U of A has to win the non-power 5 conference games – it’s unacceptable to be 4-3 in those games (understatement) in his first two seasons; especially when in the previous regime, the record was 14-1.

Actually to put it in perspective, go back to 1998 when Nutt revived the program – 61-3. Arkansas was 61-3 against non-power 5 teams in the 20 years prior to Chad Morris.

People can passionately argue their opinions that Arkansas football has sunk so low that it cannot be expected to win non-power 5 non-conference games; or that Arkansas of late is always losing to non-power 5 teams, and that’s the program Morris inherited, but the facts don’t even come close to supporting that position. It’s just not true.

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Ah, I am starting to see your point. But Nutt and Bielema are not coming back. They are gone for good reasons. I kind of figured you for a Nutt/Bielema guy.

Put me down as a Hatfield-Nutt-Petrino-Bielema guy.

You know I was with Nutt until the bitter end, but I’m way past all that.

Bielema – I believed in him and his program, and it was very disappointing how it ended. I supported him until he, well, you know…

I’m not one of these fans with unrealistic expectations, who comes on here flaming and blowing things up when the Hogs are winning. Surely we don’t need Nutt or Bielema to come back to win non-conference games and compete in the S.E.C.

Morris has 8 games to change a lot of minds. As unlikely as it appears he can do that, we all know better, it can happen, anything can in college football.

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Clay agrees with you - he said your resume is wins and losses and Morris’ resume, to date, is in his words “ no good.”

Will it get better?

Hopefully but I’m skeptical

I agree that there are rare personalities that can motivate college kids to a level higher than 99% of the rest of us. But those people are super rare. Saban is one…plus he has a keener eye in practice…with an ability to correct mistakes and teach detail…than probably anyone.

Dabo is a very unusual dude. Crazy levels of charisma. I know many many people that know Dabo well. I don’t think he has Saban’s football mind. But he makes up for it with the rare “it” factor.

You want those types as your coach. But not only are they rare…but determining who has that sort of ability is difficult until they are immersed in a situation…and we aren’t in a position to compete for the coaches that have proven that are that rare type of leader. We once were. But we blew that with the way Hatfield, then Nutt were treated, IMO. And with the mess Catdaddy Bobby created.

I thought Bielema was a miraculous hire…and then he bombed.

Can you clarify what you mean by saying “until he, well, you know”…?
I read these boards for my info…but living a 1000 miles away I always feel like I am not quite “in the know” with all the wink wink stuff about Bret.

Is it the drinking rumors/allegations? Or something else?
I too supported Nutt and Bret…but I admit I knew the Nutt family (albeit not well) when I was a kid in NLR…and I just liked Bielema’s personality and running the damn ball style of football.

who knows what to expect against the aggies. we usually play them close, but this team, the last few years, is fairly predictable. one of two things will occur i think.

  1. we hang in there and make it close. we fight to the bitter end.

  2. we get punched at some point and throw in the towel and get blasted.

who knows what moxie this team has? aggies have a more experienced head coach, across the board on the offensive side of the football. mond is accurate, and our defense is porous. They could easily play keep away all day. defense is just a huge disappointment. colorado state and sjs hit us with huge plays right off the bat. will aggies do the same? they have a disappointing running game so far. can we stop their below average run game? if so, can we at least hold our own against their passing attack. i have no doubt fisher has found numerous holes in our defense on film. Can we move the ball against them. other than a couple of big plays, they actually played fairly decent defense against both clemson and auburn. no doubt they have more talent. who the heck knows, but im trying to prepare mentally for the worst.

No one knows what to expect…other than a loss. Coach Morris has not shown he can manage a game and pull out a win when the going gets tough. The Aggies played pretty solidly against Clemson, so I am expecting a butt kicking. Logic says when you lose to a team like San Jose State, that same team will get pounded by a solid SEC team.

I do think we will make it a contest if Nick Starkel plays well. If he plays poorly, then this season could descend into another lost year.

Thanks to all for comments here. Good to read different thoughts to test one’s own assumptions , conclusions, and beliefs. There ar lot’s of knowledgeable people on this site.

My gut belief is that young players and change of culture have had most to do with the results of the past two years ; however, coaching is equal in the success or blame for the results. One thing that is within the control of both is to play all out each week and then you can access if it is talent or coaching. There is talent there as Chavis has stated but the results indicate coaching has not done all it could to enforce expectations, make in game adjustments or determine best use of some of the players or schemes to maximize the talent on hand. After last weeks games, there should be a clearer picture in the remaining eight games of whether it is talent or coaching to the blame. Players have to grow up and coaches have to perform at higher level too–both parties stated as much in interviews this week . Time to show me to borrow the Missouri state motto.

Yes it is true. Clint Stoerner, Grant Garrett, and many, many others know far more about this team and football in general than you or I do and they say Morris inherited a dumpster fire in terms of SEC caliber talent. You feel you know better than they do and you have the privilege here of exposing that ignorance all you want. Here are some facts for you to ponder:

  1. Once Pittman left, O-line recruiting went down the tube. Late in Bielema’s reign the starting right guard was a true freshman, walk-on, who turned down only Tulsa at the last minute, walked on at Arkansas, and went right past all of the previous recruits at his position to start the first game.

  2. Once Bielema went to the Texas High School Coaches Convention and told 90% of his audience that they were stupid to be using their spread offenses, he was suddenly surprised he couldn’t recruit in Texas.

  3. He swung for the fences one year, only offered 4-star cornerbacks, went down to the wire, and they got zero, no corners at all that year.

  4. When Bielema left, the best QB’s he left on the squad have now gone to bottom dwelling programs and they can’t get on the field there.

But, you think they got lots of talent and it is just bad coaching and any of your favorite coaches (probably starting first with you) would be undefeated right now. I respectfully disagree. JMVVVVVVVVVVHO