You can gripe about Bret Bielema for several things, but not this
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Arkansas needs to go, go, go
First of all, let’s drop this silly notion that Bret Bielema is the only coach in college football loath to change things. That’s how coaches get to where they are: a system. Usually, it’s been honed over years. Things are plotted over the long term. It takes a ridiculous attention to detail and changing any part of it, significantly, requires a near restart.
So, quit it with the “Bielema is too bullheaded to change” stuff. Nothing to do with that.
Now, all that being said, yes, Arkansas seems to be better off when it goes up-tempo. The quickness helped the Razorbacks move the ball against Alabama on Saturday. When Bielema was asked Monday if he planned to make that a bigger part of his game plan, he said no, not really.
Our Trent Shadid thinks they should and wrote about all the reasons why in this piece Tuesday.
Most of them I buy. But more, I take the side of Bielema. Not in the sense that he’s right to say, “I’m not doing that.” More of what coach would? With all that rhythm and consistency that’s been built, to go out and completely change a game plan to something wholly opposite of most everything you’ve ever done as a coach, that’s tough. It isn’t as simple as flipping a switch, despite what people think.
Should Bielema and Arkansas go more up-tempo? Sure, they should. Is it as simple as that? Not a chance in the world.
Brandon Martin is coming
About three weeks back I both wrote and said on our weekly “Sound Off” series this was coming: “Eric-Stradamus.”
Arkansas is going to be looking more toward wide receiver Brandon Martin the rest of this season. The 4-star junior college transfer was the most highly touted newcomer on the roster in the offseason. Many thought he could step in as a complement across from Jared Cornelius. Injury and time in the doghouse limited Martin’s early impact, though.
Now, however, after a 4-catch performance against Alabama, it appears Martin is now a part of the rotation. It’s reminiscent of Arkansas’ last big-time JUCO transfer, Dominique Reed. Reed took exactly half the season to break out — same as Martin has — and then had a huge impact in the back half of his first season in Fayetteville. We won’t mention, for the fans, what happened in Reed’s second season.
For now, though, Martin is trending in the positive direction of all that.
Auburn sans a playmaker against Arkansas
Things at Arkansas are not going well right now. No one argues that. But they might be even worse at Auburn.
Arkansas’ opponent Saturday has lost just one SEC game and two overall. In both games Auburn was in a position to win. Maybe that’s why things seem so tenuous with Auburn coach, and former Arkansas offensive coordinator, Gus Malzahn. For Auburn, the Arkansas game is awfully close to a “must-win.”
And things didn’t get much better for Auburn on Tuesday when it was announced wide receiver Kyle Davis was dismissed from the team for a violation of rules. Always vague, those rules violations. Can’t be anything good, either way.
It remains to be seen how impactful the dismissal is for Saturday’s game (probably not much). But like when Arkansas was saddled with the news of a Martin-Devwah Whaley fistfight, it definitely can’t be a move in the right direction.
- The best #ProHogs roundup on the web belongs to one Andrew Hutchinson over at 247Sports. Well, best NFL one, anyway. Check it out if you’re looking for how Hogs in the NFL are doing.
- Zach Rogers made his first career start on the offensive line against Alabama. Jimmy Carter at WholeHogSports wrote about his patience.
- Cole Kelley is saying all the right things in anticipation of his second career start this weekend, wrote Clay Henry at WHS.
- Bobby Portis, a former Arkansas forward, got into a fistfight with Chicago Bulls teammate Nikola Mirotic. Mirotic had to be hospitalized. Portis is expected to be suspended, per the Chicago Tribune.
- You’d be hard pressed to find anyone who thinks Mike Neighbors won’t have success as Arkansas’ women’s basketball coach. But it isn’t coming this season in Year 1. The Razorbacks were picked to finish dead last in the SEC on Tuesday.
Tweets and the like
• So much going on here. First of all, the person spent money to get yard signs made. Second, the person misspelled Bielema’s first name. Tremendous.
If you’re going to put signs in your yard, you might want to make sure you’ve spelled everything correctly. pic.twitter.com/lPkmpSHhHS
— Bart Pohlman (@SportsTalkBart) October 17, 2017
• If you start out depressed, everything is a pleasant surprise.
Staples: This Arkansas-Auburn game is more important for Gus Malzahn, because if he loses, it’s bad. Everyone expects Bielema to lose.
— Bo Mattingly (@SportsTalkwBo) October 17, 2017
• My old boss, Scott Faldon, has jokes. Got a chuckle out of me, anyway.
A parachute team is going to land in Razorback Stadium before Saturday's game? So fans will see a touchdown!
— Scott Faldon (@ScottFaldon) October 17, 2017
Skip Breakfast? C’mon. It’s too important. Catch up with previous versions here.