Two minutes to Tulsa | Arkansas Blog

Monday, January 15, 2007

Two minutes to Tulsa

Posted By on Mon, Jan 15, 2007 at 8:33 AM

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I see the D-G got in a squib on Tulsa reports (cited on this blog in the wee morning hours by one of our insomniac readers) that Hog assistant football coach Gus Malzahn is taking himself and his high-flying offensive scheme to Tulsa. Is a move from ranked UA to Tulsa a move up? Maybe it is if you're not getting to run things they way you'd hoped.

Inevitably, now, won't folks wonder if a certain quarterback might head west, too?

Do the footballers among you care?

Here's the Morning News confirmation.

And here's Brummett's instablog take.

On the jump, a column by free-lance sports columnists Robert Shields, whose work we've run from time to time.

ROBERT SHIELDS COLUMN

Good Night, and Good Bye
 
Robert Shields
 
First, you must consider the whirlwind of attention and drama that surrounded the recruitment of the kids from Springdale, as well as the hiring of their high school coach to be offensive coordinator at the University of Arkansas.
 
Now you must ask yourself, what have any of these people given to the program and the state other than a self-centered soap opera?
 
And before you crucify the head coach of the Razorbacks for letting your Das Wunderkind get away, I ask you to reconsider the wise words of defensive coordinator Reggie Herring, shortly before the bowl game as he praised Wisconsin:
 
“They are not worried about selling tickets. They are not worried about selling offenses and gimmicks and things of that nature. They are worried about winning and having a winning tradition.”
 
Was Herring longing for the same in Fayetteville, and did he foresee the change coming and ponder why so many fans were in a frenzy for such a gimmick offense that devalued the best running-back tandem in the country and the need to control the clock and keep the other team’s offense off the field?
 
Last year when I expressed concerns about the hiring of Gus Malzahn, I received lots of e-mail calling me moron and demanding that I offer him an apology when he succeeded. I would reply that I did not owe one because I never said he would fail. I contended that it was just a big risk to move a guy from high school to offensive coordinator in the SEC.
 
Malzahn is now moving on in what appears to me to be a demotion to co-offensive coordinator at Tulsa. Most would see moving from Arkansas to Tulsa as a step back.
 
You have to wonder now about all the rumors throughout the season and their validity even though they were denied by everyone including Malzahn, Jim Lindsey, Houston Nutt, and Frank Broyles. You also have to really wonder if there was any truth to the rumor that Malzahn offered his resignation last spring. At any other university, this would have been laughable, but not at the UofA.
 
You now have to also wonder about the rumor that Malzahn asked when the hurry-up no-huddle offense would be run and the answer was never. We know from the father of tight end Ben Cleveland that he claims to have heard Broyles say that the offense would not work in the SEC after consulting with experts.
 
This offense was so dear to Malzahn that he wrote an 88-page book on the subject. So if he desperately wants to run it, then he would probably move anywhere to do so. In fact, you have to wonder if running this offense was more important to Malzahn than winning, and much more important than being a Razorback. If that is the case, it may be good that he is gone.
 
One of the Springdale four that signed with the Hogs is already gone to USC.  A safe bet is that speculation around Mitch Mustain and his future will arise again as well with the departure of Gus. The same can also be said about Cleveland after the comments his father made after the infamous Springdale freshman parents meeting with Broyles inquiring about the direction of the offense. You have to wonder how close these parents and these kids are to Malzhan. Maybe too close. Maybe the Springdale mafia is too close to this program as well.
 
You will never know what is going on in Malzahn’s mind, but I figure he must consider his job situation to be really bad at the University of Arkansas to jump ship to a program like Tulsa, not known as a bastion of football.
 
You have to wonder how all this played into bowl preparation. This Razorback team looked horribly prepared for that bowl game as a record number of penalty yards and other failures marred the game for the Hogs. Maybe the coach given the job of coordinating the offense had his mind elsewhere.
 
I believe it’s a safe assumption now that Malzahn was not happy.. Maybe now I should roll up to Frank’s office and talk about the direction of the offense and that I really want to see the wishbone and option attack with this team. This program has been one drama after another since Ken Hatfield’s boring offense left for Clemson.
 
One other important factor to consider: Let’s not forget the Malzahn hire always had the feel of being forced on Houston Nutt by The Powers That Be. History repeats itself. The “shotgun wedding” hire never works. Either the head coach leaves or the forced hire leaves. Sometimes it is both. Anyone remember Kay Stephenson, what also had the feel of a forced hire put on Danny Ford a season before he was fired?
 
The Gus Bus has left town. And the drama continues.
 
 
Send your speculation to fromthebench@yahoo.com.

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