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Arkansas put its eggs in the Malzahn basket when it should have been calling Kevin Sumlin.

Whiffing on Gus Malzahn should be wake-up call to Arkansas fans and brass

Eric Bolin

SEC Country reporter Eric W. Bolin will candidly answer your Arkansas Razorbacks sports queries each weekday in our Mailbag Question of the Day. Join the conversation by sending your questions via Twitter to @SECCountryHogs or by email to Eric at

Arkansas Question of the Day: Monday, December 4

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On Monday’s “Borderline Erotic” podcast, our host John Nabors asked me at what point do I proclaim Arkansas’ coach/athletic director search an unmitigated disaster. My answer is that if Mike Norvell gets an extension announced at Memphis.

But you’re lying to yourself if you haven’t figured out that Arkansas is a rudderless ship at this point.

Now the embarrassment isn’t simply contained to the state. Missing out on Gus Malzahn had national repercussions. So now, Arkansas — the fans, boosters, bag men and administrators — must come to a consensus on what the best road is.

If just the boosters and adminsitration had their act together, those associated with the program could have used Malzahn’s spurning of the Razorbacks’ advances as the uniting moment. Instead, the people firmly entrenched in the Malzahn-for-Arkansas camp were left hurt and disappointed. They return back to the flock to find those who were #NeverGus pointing and laughing.

“Ha! Ha! Told you he wasn’t coming! We need go to get [enter coach’s name here]!”

Inevitably, those being mocked find an alternative candidate and the division remains.

Mike Norvell. Chad Morris. Lane Kiffin. Mike Leach. Brent Venables. The state of the Arkansas football program right now, not a one of them is going to bring everyone together. Not in the fan base. Not with the donors.

It should have been, though. But Arkansas has carried this notion they need an Arkansas Man. Instead of getting the best candidate for the jobs, coach or AD, they seem to going after the best candidate with ties to the state.

Perhaps an athletic director with some chutzpah can unite. Maybe Derrick Gragg, or someone else, has this charismatic personality, enough to charm all segments of the Natural State populace. They can buy completely into his vision, back the same horse and make Arkansas football great again!

Uh huh. Yeah, right.

The truth of the matter is, the only thing that will unite Arkansas is football. This off-the-field drama was never going to bring people together. It was always going to fracture further, even.

But football. When spring practices come back around and some people on this beat tell you the Razorbacks have enough returning to get eight or nine wins, then happy times will be back again.

Of course when they get five or six, back we go to the depths.

Bottom line: Those associated with the program need something, anything, to feel good about. And that needs to happen soon, because the longer this thing drags on, the more Arkansas looks like, gasp…