This Gus Malzahn-to-Arkansas thing is only going to grow
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.
Gus Malzahn to Arkansas is possible, folks
Can you even imagine? It’s long been lingering in minds of fans and, frankly, in the minds of media members, too.
But Thursday provided the first real concrete suggestion that former Springdale High coach, Arkansas offensive coordinator and Fort Smith’s own Gus Malzahn could truly return “home.”
“Home” is in quotations marks because if it happens, you’re going to see that phrase used ad nauseam in marketing materials.
The reality of the situation is far from a lead-pipe cinch. USA Today’s Dan Wolken floated the possibility as legitimate Thursday morning. SEC Network’s Booger McFarland followed in the afternoon by stating his knowledge of Malzahn’s love of the Natural State.
All of it makes sense. Malzahn cuts his teeth here. He joined the college ranks at UofA. His athletic director at Auburn is on his way out. The expectations of that job are, honestly, far too demanding.
The thing doesn’t have a lot of legs right now, but those legs are going to be growing in the next handful of days. This ought to be fun.
No, Arkansas doesn’t need an Arkansas native
That doesn’t mean a Natural State native should be disqualified from consideration as University of Arkansas athletic director. It just means no one needs to be hired because, or partly because, they are from the state.
The next athletic director needs to be a competent professional who can raise funds, schmooze the right people and make good hires. Being from Arkansas is irrelevant.
Sure. Super simple. Couldn’t be easier. Jeff Long did one of those things fantastically, one fairly well and one not whatsoever. Long is now out of the gig.
Given the information above, in the first section, this one becomes more complex.
Here’s how Bret Bielema compares with other coaches recently fired
The end of the Bret Bielema era at Arkansas sure smells near, doesn’t it?
These numbers suggest it is, too. Our Trent Shadid took a look at how Bielema stacks up with some other “name” SEC coaches in the final year they were running the show at their respective schools. Forewarning, things aren’t good.
They’re Gene Chizik-level bad, in fact.
Arkansas would lose recruits if Bielema exits
Don’t let anyone with an agenda or a rose-colored glasses paint it any other way. Some good players will go elsewhere if Bielema is fired. The question is whether Arkansas could make a hire to keep others who will waver and whether the new coach would bring some of his own commits from the school from which he is departing.
Maybe, yeah, it does balance in the end. But it sure won’t balance in December, when the new early signing period hits. No way, no how.
Shadid, our recruiting guru here at SEC Country Arkansas, breaks that down and more in this week’s recruiting mailbag.
- Arkansas views 11 a.m. kickoffs as ideal for recruiting purposes, Shadid writes. I view them ideal for getting over with and continuing on with my day, personally. Nice.
- What are the winning qualities for an athletic director at Arkansas? Our John Nabors says in Thursday’s edition of the Borderline Erotic podcast. Unfortunately, we are still unclear what the word “winning” means, though.
- For yet another week, none of the three of us on staff at SEC Country Arkansas are predicting a Razorbacks win over Mississippi State. You can find exactly how close we have the game, though.
- The interim athletic director at Arkansas, Julie Cromer-Peoples, is a bit of an unknown around Razorbacks circles, but she is far from unknown nationally in athletics circles. This story from WholeHogSports.
- Arkansas basketball seeks a 3-0 start Friday when Fresno State visits Bud Walton Arena. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. CT.
Tweets and the like
Real talk, Arkansas’ uniform (second from the right) looks terrible. Those things look like practice jerseys from the 1990s.
Uniforms for the PK80, the Phil Knight basketball tournament next week pic.twitter.com/Jn8ZUiS1Vm
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) November 16, 2017
Booger is a smart man, repeating precisely what I wrote Wednesday.
— Bo Mattingly (@SportsTalkwBo) November 16, 2017
Should it be troubling to Razorback Nation the Chancellor named an interim with much less experience than several of the assistant/associate ADs already on the payroll?
— Wally Hall (@WallyLikeItIs) November 16, 2017