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Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long

Arkansas could be kicked out of the SEC if this keeps up

Eric Bolin

With your bacon, have some Hogs for Breakfast. It’s SEC Country’s weekday column and roundup on all things Arkansas. Opinion, numbers, inane babble and more! And now with ironic exclamation points. There is no place like it on the Web.

Greg Sankey isn’t one to go diving into other people’s affairs. The SEC commissioner hasn’t shown himself to be one who interjects himself into political discourse.

Tuesday, however, because he did, you get the impression things must be serious.

Sankey had a statement Tuesday about HB 1249, the Arkansas bill recently passed that would allow concealed firearms inside state university athletic venues (among other places). The Arkansas state senate passed an exemption to the bill last week that would remove places like Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium from having to allow guns, but the measure still must be passed by the Arkansas House and then signed by governor Asa Hutchinson.

It’s been almost a week and nothing yet.

Although a week isn’t all that long in political time, Sankey thought it prudent to provide an official statement from the league. It isn’t a statement proponents of allowing guns inside DWRRS and the like will enjoy.

The University of Arkansas is a valued member of the Southeastern Conference and has a long history of working with public safety officials to provide a safe environment for intercollegiate athletic competition.

It is our desire to see athletic events and sports venues exempted from HB 1249.

Low-key: Sounds like Sankey is telling Arkansas, the state of, to fix things or Arkansas, the university of, might not be in the SEC for too much longer. It’s like that thing when a general manager is talking about a coach on the hot seat: “We value the work so-and-so has put into this organization.” Everyone rolls their eyes.

But good for some entity associated with Arkansas athletics to take a stand. Still not a word or peep from the athletic department at U of A; though, to be fair, we all have a pretty good idea where they stand. Unofficially, of course.

Arkansas football: A Disney princess and an 80s hair-metal band

The Arkansas football team is a lot like Cinderella this spring. No, not the Disney princess character who loses a glass slipper and finds Prince Charming. You know, the other one, the 1980s rock band.

Actually, both, now that I think about it.

Arkansas-Frank Ragnow
Arkansas center Frank Ragnow by Trent Shadid/SEC Country DRC_0059

The band, of course, being known for their seminal 1988 track “Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone).” Arkansas center Frank Ragnow thinks the way last year ended was a bit like that. The Razorbacks were feeling somewhat high and mighty heading into the final game of the season against Missouri and came out losers. That followed with another loss, another second-half collapse, in the Belk Bowl against Virginia Tech.

“If we had won that game, we would have been all happy, high-tailed about it,” Ragnow said.

Instead, the Razorbacks are not only provided a sense of internal motivation to not let it happen again, but the rest of the world remembers it, too. When SEC Media Days roll around this July, don’t count on Arkansas being picked any higher than fifth in the SEC West. In fact, I’d bet they’re sixth… or seventh. Coach Bret Bielema’s team will be like Disney’s infamous stepdaughter: unheralded.

None of that means a whole heck of a lot right now, in late March. Tuesday was just the first day of spring practice. But things have already been made clear between Tuesday’s player availability and Bielema’s first news conference of the new “season.”

This is an Arkansas team focused and on task, built off last year’s bitter end.

The “4” in the 3-4

The first details about Arkansas’ new base defense are coming out. Well, personnel wise, anyway.

Dwayne Eugene was the available linebacker after practice Tuesday. Eugene, a senior, saw his playing time increase toward the final third of last season after a few years of spot duty. In the team’s first practice of the spring, Eugene found himself starting.

Arkansas linebacker Dwayne Eugene takes down Alabama RB Kenyan Drake

This is how the first- and second-team units looked, according to Eugene, for the bulk of Tuesday:

RAZOR – Randy Ramsey   MIKE – De’Jon Harris   WILL – Eugene   HOG – Michael Taylor

The second team:

RAZOR – Alexy Jean-Baptiste  MIKE – Josh Harris  WILL – Grant Morgan  HOG – Dee Walker

No real surprises among the group. Expected starter Dre Greenlaw, a junior, won’t take part in spring practice as he rehabilitates a foot injury he suffered during the season last year then had a setback on over the winter. The “Razor” and “Hog” positions are the outside linebackers. The “Mike” and “Will” are inside. Bielema said Monday he anticipated Eugene working inside and outside as the spring progressed. Eugene was all inside Tuesday.

The “Razor” and “Hog” positions are the outside linebackers. The “Mike” and “Will” are inside. Bielema said Monday he anticipated Eugene working both inside and outside as the spring progressed. Eugene was all inside Tuesday.

“I actually enjoy the 3-4 better than the 4-3, because one, we’re able to move to the ball,” Eugene said. “I feel we can make more plays in the passing game as well.”

No warm-up after all

Arkansas
Arkansas outfielder Jake Arledge (Courtesy Arkansas athletics)

The Arkansas baseball team was originally scheduled to get a tune-up Wednesday against Grambling State. A bout of bad weather has canceled those plans.

Razorbacks-Grambling State has been canceled for Wednesday and no makeup date has been announced. One likely won’t be, either, as the game was a simple one-off, keep-sharp game.

Instead, Arkansas will next play this weekend. The Diamond Hogs travel to Tuscaloosa for a three-game set with last-place Alabama. Arkansas sits in first in the SEC West at 5-1.

ICYMI

Skip Breakfast? C’mon. It’s too important. Catch up with previous versions here.