Jeff Long, University of Arkansas can breathe relief — no guns at games after all
With your bacon, have some Hogs for Breakfast. It’s SEC Country’s weekday column and roundup on all things Arkansas. Opinion, numbers, inane babble and more! And now with ironic exclamation points. There is no place like it on the Web.
The state of Arkansas won’t have to suffer any further embarrassment.
Well, with guns.
Natural State legislators came to their senses Thursday, signing SB 724 into law. SB 724 is an exemption to HB1249, which allowed guns into state-funded facilities across the state. The exemption allows for state colleges and universities to prohibit concealed weapons from sporting venues.
It does not allow schools to prohibit them elsewhere on campus.
The exemption passed by a vote count of 71-20. Lawmakers practically had to address HB 1249 after immediate blowback from citizens. Twenty-four hours after the initial law passed, the state made national news in both politics and sports. And when Arkansas players had their first opportunity to publicly speak on it Tuesday — the start of spring practice — they were concerned with the idea as well.
Reasonable attitudes prevailed Thursday and, hopefully, we are all finally done with it.
Finkel or Einhorn? Storey or Kelley?
The battle for Arkansas’ backup quarterback job is between two players this spring.
Sophomore Ty Storey, the 4-star, in-state recruit from Charleston High who served as the backup is one option. Redshirt freshman Cole Kelley, the 6-foot-6, “gunslinger” from Louisiana, is the other.
The way coaches spent most of the last calendar year talking, Kelley would be the favorite to get snaps if starting quarterback Austin Allen went down. But as of Tuesday, he and Storey are neck and neck.
“There’s really no favorite right now,” offensive coordinator Dan Enos said (to some surprise).
My views, with full disclosure:
I am the same writer who, when Storey was a senior, wrote that I thought he was the best quarterback in the state, period, that season. Clearly, that was incorrect. But it wasn’t exactly an uncommon thought among lots in the state that year. Storey was highly regarded. He has the body. He is the son of an athletic director. His problem was playing Class 3A football in Arkansas. Storey was so much better than most everyone he faced, the speed of the game was overwhelming when he got to college and his decision-making ability was lacking because of it.
Bottom line: If Storey has shown real improvement, don’t expect him to bow out of the competition very quickly whatsoever.
Johnny Gibson in trouble?
Arkansas right guard Johnny Gibson hasn’t taken any reps with his teammates in the couple of spring practices the Razorbacks have had so far.
Gibson is working through a “team issue,” according to offensive line coach Kurt Anderson. Anderson declined to give specifics, but suggested Gibson made some sort of off-field mistake and is being punished for it.
Gibson, a junior, is a former walk-on who earned a scholarship just more than a year ago. He worked his way into the starting lineup just after the midpoint of last season, replacing Jake Raulerson.
The Arkansas offensive line returns four starters, including Gibson, from a unit that surrendered the second-most sacks (35 in 13 games) in the SEC last season. Arkansas also was only 10th out of 14 teams in the SEC in yards rushing per game last season.
The unit needs as much continuity and improvement as it can get, so Gibson’s absence is a bit troubling. Raulerson, Jalen Merrick, Deion Malone and a batch of freshmen would expect to fill in there in the meantime.
Early Thursday morning, Cole Cubelic, a football analyst based in Alabama, tweeted a video of Allen from the Texas A&M game played last season. If you remember, Allen was absolutely destroyed by the Aggies’ defense.
Not sure how Austin Allen survived this A&M game. His toughness cannot be questioned. pic.twitter.com/qQv236xTqV
— Cole Cubelic (@colecubelic) March 29, 2017
Well, Carson Shaddy didn’t question his toughness. He just enjoyed the video.
Arkansas’ second baseman, and one the baseball team’s best hitters, is a Fayetteville High grad, just like the Razorbacks quarterback. They were one year apart during their time together at FHS. Shaddy sent his own response tweet by re-tweeting Cubelic’s video with his own comments.
— Carson Shaddy (@Cshaddy245) March 30, 2017
What makes it worse (better) is that Allen’s brother, Brandon — Arkansas’ quarterback before Austin took over — clicked the favorite button on Shaddy’s tweet.
- Arkansas center Frank Ragnow’s father died last year during the middle of the Arkansas season. This is his first spring without his dad and he’s working through those emotions, writes our Jason Kersey.
- If you haven’t gone fully into baseball mode yet, know this: The Diamond Hogs are in first place in the SEC West. On top of that, they’re looking like one of the best teams in the country. Here are 5 reasons why they could host a regional come late spring.
- Speaking of Arkansas baseball, the Razorbacks head to Alabama this weekend for a three-game set in SEC play. The Crimson Tide have the exact opposite conference record as the Razorbacks (5-1 to 1-5) and are in last place in the SEC West.
Skip Breakfast? C’mon. It’s too important. Catch up with previous versions here.