Arkansas delaying announcement of its assistants is control tactic
Arkansas football rules the world of Razorbacks sports. So, with your bacon, have some Hogs for Breakfast and get caught up. It’s SEC Country’s weekday column and roundup on all things Arkansas … especially Arkansas football. Opinion, numbers, inane babble and more! And now with ironic exclamation points! There is no place like it on the web.
Time to call delay of game in coaching hire game
Waiting to announce John Chavis as Arkansas’ defensive coordinator is fruitless. No upside in it. In fact, it only serves to cheapen the significance of the hire. It also takes the first step in creating a divide between this Arkansas football regime and the local media.
Chavis is almost certainly the guy. We have known it for weeks. Now, Football Scoop casually said Chavis has been active with the Razorbacks coaching staff for a while. I mean, there are now reports of some position coaches on the defensive side of the ball. Those don’t happen without a defensive coordinator. They need to know who their boss is.
Yet, no deal has been announced (perhaps not yet even signed). That isn’t the unusual part. Arkansas has not announced a deal for *any* of the staff members for first-year coach Chad Morris. The difference is that most have been publicly active in acknowledging their positions at Arkansas. Chavis, not so much.
Morris is expected to announce his entire staff all at once. United front and all that. Some will eat that up. Yet another tactic to produce a first impression of control and discipline. Not a great start to an idea of even modest transparency in the Morris administration, however.
From a literal, on-field standpoint, none of it matters. No difference between the assistant coaches being announced in mid-December or mid-January. If they’re working with the players, they’re working with the players. However, the public should know when it happens. It’s the public’s institution, after all, and Arkansas is, as people often make painfully clear, “the state’s team.” Instead, the university is controlling the message, knowing full well the slight fear and frustration anyone feels now will be alleviated, if not completely forgotten, soon after.
By most, anyway.
Let’s get this show on the road, Razorbacks athletics.
Goodbye, Arkansas basketball
Just like that, Mike Anderson’s Razorbacks are out of the Top 25. Arkansas stayed just one week as a ranked team. The Hogs subsequently went out and lost both of their games after getting the coveted number next to their name.
In fact, Arkansas picked up just 1 vote for the Top 25 poll.
Now, being ranked at the beginning of January is no big deal. What is troubling, though, is the perception the SEC is giving the rest of college basketball. It isn’t good.
The league is improved. The middle is better than years past, so is the bottom. At the top, though, things are not exactly smoking. The league has three ranked teams, which is fine, but those teams are ranked 21st, 22nd and 24th. Doesn’t exactly give off the vibe of a powerful conference.
As such, Arkansas can’t afford to play .500 basketball in conference play if the SEC doesn’t up its perception in the eyes of the sport. That won’t be enough to get the Razorbacks into the NCAA Tournament. Or, if it somehow is, it won’t be as a seed high enough to satisfy.
- Arkansas’ home game against Texas A&M, which isn’t even until Feb. 17, has been announced as a sellout. Good for the school and all to get that money, but the Razorbacks better start winning to ensure Bud Walton Arena is packed that night.
- Three former Arkansas players will play in the Tropical Bowl on Sunday, a sort of collegiate All-Star game. They aren’t the three you’d think, either. Andrew Hutchinson has the details over at 247Sports.
- Had to make my way-too-early Top 25 predictions for college football next season. Four SEC teams in the Top 25. Three from the West and Georgia. Also did projected SEC standings for 2018 and have the Hogs pegged sixth in the West.
- The Razorbacks have just four scholarship running backs on the roster right now. Another commit in the 2018 class can’t hurt. They’re close to landing one, too.
Tweets and the like
• C-SPAN is in Fayetteville to shoot video for something. Can’t quite tell what exactly as I’m not familiar with the show, but, hey, any publicity is good publicity, right?
Our crew has arrived in #Fayetteville AR! We've spent the day shooting video of the city. Pictured here are producers @TheHummelsheim & @JOHNCSPAN taping outside the Pryor Center. We've met so many people & thank you all for the warm welcome. We're off to a great start!! pic.twitter.com/I3hj3MnQB2
— C-SPAN Cities Tour (@CSPANCities) January 7, 2018
• Bret Bielema is an outspoken guy. Apparently, from what I gathered Monday, the Barstool crowd is, too.
We had Coach Bret Bielema on today to talk about the CFB National Championship. Awkward moments in interview history…
— Big Cat (@BarstoolBigCat) January 8, 2018
• Holy smoke!
— AR Democrat-Gazette (@ArkansasOnline) January 8, 2018