Welcome to SEC Country’s weekly Arkansas recruiting mailbag with reporter Trent Shadid. In this edition, we discuss the December signing period and the impact of potential coaching changes.
How will the new early signing period in December affect coaching changes? Not only at UA but nation wide. — @LandisSM13 via Twitter
The new December signing window for high school recruits should impact coaching changes significantly.
Athletic departments shouldn’t go through the December signing period (Dec. 20-22 this year) with a coach who will be fired soon after. That wouldn’t be doing right by the kids.
It also wouldn’t be wise to fire your coach and not have a replacement hired at least a couple weeks before the period rolls around. A school would run the risk of missing out on retaining its commitments or missing out on several potential targets who already would have signed elsewhere after the December period.
Because of this, I would image nearly all of the firing and hiring decisions will take place in late November/early December.
That’s not totally out of the norm. For instance, Texas fired Charlie Strong last Nov. 26 and hired Tom Herman on Nov. 27. Oregon fired Mark Helfrich on Nov. 29 and replaced him with Willie Taggart on Dec. 7.
On the flip side of that, UConn waited until Dec. 26 to fire Bob Diaco and hired Randy Edsall as his replacement Dec. 28. Cal fired Sonny Dykes on Jan. 7 and hired Justin Wilcox on Jan. 14. Such instances are more likely to be few and far between now with more schools following the timeline Texas and Oregon took last season.
Do you think there is a chance there is a move done before the end of the season ?
— zach mitchell (@therealzachm) October 25, 2017
I don’t think Arkansas would fire Bret Bielema before the end of the season, no matter how bad things get. I just don’t believe it’s athletic director Jeff Long’s style to do that unless his hand is absolutely forced. Wins and losses aren’t what would force him to do that during the season.
However, I do think it could come immediately after the season. Even as early as the weekend following Arkansas’ final game against Missouri on Friday, Nov. 24. This, of course, all depends on how the Hogs finish the season. By no means do I think it’s a foregone conclusion Bielema will be gone. Not yet.
But if the Razorbacks are going to make a move, they’d almost certainly have to do it before the December signing period for the reasons stated in the above answer.
To submit a question for recruiting mailbags, email Shadid13@gmail.com or send a message to @Shadid13 on Twitter.