Category Archives: Arkansas Is Kind Of A Big Deal

“Everybody should have a boss.”

I don’t know if serving as the grand poobah of the CFP’s selection committee has gone to his head, or if it’s something else, but Jeff Long wants you to know he’s the man, damn it.

“It comes down to a simple thing. Many times, these coaches have been allowed to be their own bosses and take their programs and operate it as a single entity more powerful and more important than the rest of the athletic department or university. That’s wrong. Our coaches know it. I don’t say this because I’m some big tough guy, but our coaches know they have a boss. They have to answer to me. They know we’re going to keep things focused the right way.

“I have a boss. I have a chancellor, I have a system president, I have a board of trustees. Those people are my bosses, and they’re going to keep me in line and make sure I’m running our program the way they want it run.”

Long believes you see schools getting in trouble when that hierarchy isn’t in place.

“I think our profession is guilty of allowing certain high-profile individuals become larger than the program, larger than the department, larger than the university, and that’s wrong. I think that’s where you see these coaches and programs get into trouble,” Long said. “I don’t puff out my chest and say I’m Bret Bielema’s boss, but I am.”

Easy to say when Nick Saban isn’t your head football coach, dude.  Too bad Bobby Petrino didn’t get the message.


Filed under Arkansas Is Kind Of A Big Deal

Calling Pork Rind Jimmy!

Hard to believe, but one day Arkansas fans may look back on the Houston Nutt era as a period of relative calm and stability.

With a little work, Jeff Long could be the new Mike Hamilton.


Filed under Arkansas Is Kind Of A Big Deal

Bert. Bert. Bert. Bert. Bert. Bert. Bert. Bert.

Ah, hell.  Felt bad about the game when the fumble call was overturned near the end of the first half.

Congrats to Missouri, who did it the hard way.

Next time, don’t take Florida lightly, Dawgs.

On to Tech.


Filed under Arkansas Is Kind Of A Big Deal, Georgia Football

Boss Hawgs

I mentioned in my SEC Power Poll post that Georgia’s wins against Arkansas and Missouri look better with each passing week.  The computers agree.  Georgia is now second in Sagarin’s rankings, helped by a 5-1 record against teams in his top thirty.  Georgia has also risen to third in Football Perspective’s SRS rankings.

People are just falling over themselves about Arkansas, a team fresh off two straight shutouts of SEC West opponents.  You’d think that would make for a strong perception of Georgia.  After all, the 38 points Georgia scored in the first half against the Razorbacks was a record under Richt.  It was the last game of this season, at least to date, in which Arkansas was dominated.  But if Bruce Feldman is any indication, that’s not how the game is being seen in retrospect. Oh sure, Georgia won… the first half.

After the debacle that was Bielema’s first season at Arkansas, much of the talk was how suspect the defensive personnel was and about how dismal Bobby Petrino’s final couple recruiting classes had been. Enter Smith, who brought with him his quarter-quarter-half D and a premium on tackling fundamentals based on a system his old boss Greg Schiano had devised almost a decade ago at Rutgers. After allowing 45 points in the opener at Auburn, the Hogs started to show progress. In mid-October, they held Alabama to just 2.1 yards per carry and only 227 total yards in a 14-13 Crimson Tide win. Smith, though, says the moment he feels the Hogs turned the corner was earlier this month in a 17-10 loss at No. 1 Miss. State.

“We got back from the Miss. State game and there was a sense, ‘It’s time,'” Smith said. “We tackled the best we had tackled and we communicated really well. We really only had one communication problem, and that had led to a touchdown.”

Smith’s sense was spot on. Since then, they’ve outscored their opponents — LSU and Ole Miss — 47-0. But the defensive transformation had been in the works before the wins started to come. In their last 10 quarters at home in SEC play, Arkansas has outscored three ranked opponents — Georgia, LSU and Ole Miss — 73-7. Even more impressively, in their last 14 quarters in the SEC, facing four ranked teams, the Hogs have allowed just two touchdowns.

That’s some pretty nifty cherry picking going on there.  It’s almost as if that first half in Little Rock – and Nick Chubb’s 202 rushing yards – never happened. Sure, the Dawgs relaxed a little in the second half, but it’s not as if the outcome was ever in doubt.

There’s a certain amount of irony in all this.  It’s great that Arkansas is generating more respect as the season closes out, but what if that doesn’t carry over to the Dawgs in the public eye?  (Note that Feldman doesn’t even mention the Arkansas win in his summary of #9 Georgia.)  If the computers like Georgia more than people do, how does that play in to what the selection committee thinks? Especially if Arkansas beats Missouri Friday?


Filed under Arkansas Is Kind Of A Big Deal, Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

Wednesday morning buffet

It’s a Gurley-free buffet, if that helps.

  • This is awkward.
  • Steve Hummer’s assessment of the psyche of Georgia’s fan base is pretty good:  “Georgia people habitually expect the worst. They can never relax. They can never wander the sunflower fields of blind optimism. They just know deep down that around every corner awaits a kick to a most sensitive area.”
  • The advanced box score of the Florida-Missouri game is as amazing to see as the game was.
  • And the advanced box score of the Arkansas-Georgia game is just what you’d expect.
  • Devin Gardner’s comment about the number of racist fans he’s encountered this season puts me in mind of Randy Newman’s “Rednecks”.  Hang in there, Devin.  You’re a classy kid.
  • “We found out that ball is an incredibly important part of the game of football and we didn’t secure it the way we needed to on offense and it paid off for them,” Arkansas offensive coordinator Jim Chaney said.  Better late than never, I guess.
  • When it comes to scoring this season, Georgia is a damned efficient team.


Filed under Arkansas Is Kind Of A Big Deal, Big 12 Football, General Idiocy, Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles, Stats Geek!

A couple more details about Arky-Georgia

That thing about Arkansas spitting the bit against SEC teams in the fourth quarter… turns out it’s an “it’s in their heads” thing.

Arkansas spent two weeks working on its fourth quarter flaws after suffering a 35-28 overtime loss to Texas A&M. The struggles — at least on offense — didn’t end in the 14-13 loss to Alabama in Razorback Stadium last Saturday.

Arkansas was scoreless in the fourth quarter against a Southeastern Conference opponent for the third time this season. Auburn, Texas A&M and Alabama have now outscored the Razorbacks 38-0 in the fourth quarter and overtime.

“I saw drives that didn’t get going, drives that stalled out,” Arkansas coach Bret Bielema said Monday. “It’s kind of been a continuing theme for us, unfortunately in SEC play, and it’s something I’m really began to hone in and be aware of last week and tried to make certain adjustments. But it’s something I’ve challenged our offensive staff with, and our players. Obviously, the biggest failure for us overall is to not put points on the board in the fourth quarter, and to win close games.”

The Razorbacks could manage only 35 yards on 16 plays against the Crimson Tide, struggling to move the ball with the game on the line. Arkansas had four possessions, but went three-plays-and-out twice, was stuffed on fourth down on its third chance and quarterback Brandon Allen threw an interception at the end.

“That’s where most of our mental mistakes are coming,” Allen said. “We have a lot of mental errors in the fourth quarter and you can’t do that if you want to win games. It’s up to us just to polish things off and going into the fourth quarter and staying mentally sharp and doing things we’ve been doing the whole game.”

The fourth-quarter struggles in SEC games go back to last season, when the Hogs also lost late leads against Mississippi State and LSU. In all, Arkansas has been outscored 62-0 in the fourth quarter and overtime of its past five conference games dating back to the 2013 season. The Hogs led in the fourth quarter of each one.

But tight ends coach Barry Lunney Jr. said the issues aren’t limited to one theme.

“It’s a myriad of different things that have popped up for us,” Lunney said. “I think whatever it has been, whatever it should have been or could have been, when we play a good fourth quarter and we win, that’ll be our answer. So we’re working towards that and hopefully it will come sooner than later.”

Arkansas offensive line coach Sam Pittman said the ongoing struggles are frustrating for everyone involved. But he added the coaching will attempt another tactic when the fourth quarter arrives against Georgia on Saturday.

“We’re going to coach them in the fourth quarter like we did in the first three and see if that will help,” Pittman said. “I think that we’ve become a little tighter with the players and I think they’ve become tighter when we do. So we’re going to coach them to go out there and have fun just like they did in the first, second and third quarters. We just need to be more upbeat and more positive with them at that point.

“If you play three quarters of ball a lot of things have gone right and some things have gone wrong and you’ve got to flush it. We’re going to start the fourth like we start the beginning of a game and see if that will help us. I bet it will.”

I’ll take that bet, Sam.  It’s the kind of thing that’s a lot easier to say than it is to do.

It’s definitely something to keep in mind if Georgia enters the fourth quarter in a tight game.

Also, the Georgia has been ridiculously good managing field position thing?  It’s even better.  In fact, it’s the best.

Give me another dose of that and positive turnover margin, and I like Georgia’s chances on Saturday a lot.


Filed under Arkansas Is Kind Of A Big Deal, Georgia Football

Friday morning buffet

Get your feed bag on.


Filed under Arkansas Is Kind Of A Big Deal, Crime and Punishment, It's Just Bidness, Political Wankery, SEC Football, Wit And Wisdom From The Hat