Pavel, I get your frustration. That was a bad loss yesterday, and I guess we can at least partially blame it on the poor judgment showed by two starters who nonetheless poured in 37 points combined off the bench after being held out.
Rickey Scott and Mardracus Wade are just worthless out there. I don't want to be too negative, but it's a fact. They provide nothing, and seem uninterested in contributing at all. If half this team played as hard as Haydar, we'd be ok.
The Collins drama underscores a very interesting disagreement between the NCAA and common law: while 18 years is the age of majority, and therefore the minimum age where someone can be contractually bound, the NCAA requires a "co-signer" in the form of parent or guardian on an LOI for any athlete under the age of 21.
Naturally, this sort of thing never becomes a source of public concern or discussion until something truly bizarre happens. Regardless of where Collins winds up, it's unfortunate that his signing day memory is tinged with family discord.
No disagreement with Michael Roberts' conclusion. I do think the hole is deeper, as you mentioned, but the SEC now may not be much better than the SWC was back in '85.
Anderson is doing the right things, the good things. I like the "image" of the program now much more than I did only two years ago. Heath and Pelphrey did not command the respect of their players, it seemed, and Anderson strikes a much different chord. He's an authority figure, but not an authoritarian. The fans just need to fight their innate urges to be impatient.
@sandtrap: Your comment actually underscores why the Times' brass selected Long as Arkansan of the Year and charged me with writing the feature piece. Please don't misinterpret this distinction as "Philanthropist of the Year" or "Humanitarian of the Year" or anything of that stripe. The choice of Long was rooted in the feeling that Long was constantly a newsmaker, for better or worse, because 2012 was a uniquely high-profile year for the Razorback football program that (like it or not) is a substantial slice of the state's culture and economy.
It is worth noting, though, that when Long dismissed Petrino in April, he was roundly embraced by those inside and outside the state for not kicking principles to the curb, which many would see as the epidemic of the win-at-all-costs era of college athletics. As the article states, Long made news in 2012 because he did some things that not a lot of "...athletic...director(s)" would necessarily do.
Mississippi State is a true wild card. Hog fans have constantly feared playing in Starkville, and cultivated a myth about Scott Field being some kind of terrordome: The Hogs have lost in Starkville twice in the last 15 years, the controversial one-point defeat in 1998 and three-point loss in 2008 when Alex Tejada missed a field goal that would have forced overtime. Yes, the Razorbacks have played poorly there at times and won, but I think there's no legitimate reason to fear the place. As for the team, the Bulldogs may be 7-0, but they have reached this mark against some pretty paltry competition, and this three-game stretch you mention is either going to embolden or cripple them. The Hogs can beat a 7-3 MSU team that has been battered, but I'm not sure how they'll fare against the Dogs if they manage to be 8-2 or 9-1 by kickoff. Tulsa is also winning games against an awful schedule.
Didn't mention either foe due to space constraints and fear of putting the proverbial cart ahead of the horse. The Hogs have beaten one FCS team and the two worst SEC teams. Hard to gauge whether there is true improvement until we see how they fare Saturday in the Rock.
Saudiwoof, to your point about the bye week being good for healing purposes, it is worth noting that Chris Gragg will return against Ole Miss. That said, Arkansas may ironically have found its offensive rhythm due to Gragg's absence--Wilson was basically forced to pick out other targets, and I think it benefited the offense greatly.
The beginning of this season reminded me very much of Petrino's first squad, the 2008 team that moved the ball very well but often bogged down in the red zone. Casey Dick developed a comfort zone with DJ Williams, but often at the expense of bigger gains downfield. Eventually you saw Dick throwing the ball more to the likes of Adams, Wright and Childs as the season progressed.
That's not to compare Wilson and Dick at all. Tyler is far more capable in every way, to be sure. This team also has more weapons across the board, and the offensive line is improving. And if you've watched South Carolina the past two weeks, noticed that Mississippi State is beating up weak sisters, and seen the Mettenberger brand of offense at LSU, you can't help but feel a little bit more encouraged about the Hogs' chances to salvage something from this season. More on that in a few days, though...
A follow-up here:
@Perplexed, I think the early kickoff actually did help the Hogs for a moment. Night games are just more boisterous as a general rule. Arkansas never seemed intimidated by the crowd...just completely overmatched, undisciplined, poorly-coached and possibly disinterested. But not intimidated, by God! :) Still, your point is taken--Kyle Field is a challenging venue, to be sure, and it's not going to be easy on a team that's already as broken as the Hogs are.
@eLwood, I would have never anticipated that JLS' personal financial straits would have been this weighty. Coaches have gone through divorces and other personal difficulties during the season, but when it became public that his debt-to-equity ratio was so lopsided, I think it explained a lot. Most people perceive JLS as being alarmingly disengaged, and given the circumstances, I could certainly understand that. The problem is that his job demands paramount attention and focus, and he's clearly incapable of giving it.
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