Wednesday at the Northwest Arkansas Touchdown Club, Arkansas Athletic Director Jeff Long said he is committed to the current coaching staff through the 2012 season. Apparently, Long believes the young men on the team have been through enough controversy and upheaval for one year already.
Okay, so how is tacking on a devastatingly embarrassing losing season going to ease their pain? Arkansas is 1-3 and facing the distinct possibility of coming home from College Station, Texas, this weekend with the first 1-4 record since the ill-fated 1992 season when Jack Crowe was fired for losing the first game to The Citadel and Joe Kines was named interim coach.
The Hogs are double digit underdogs to a team they beat three straight years in Jerry World. Now, they have to face a Texas A&M team with revenge on their minds playing in front of arguably one of the best home crowds in the nation. The Aggies will be out for blood.
If Arkansas continues to play like they have so far this season and gets tagged with another humiliating loss, this team might not be able to recover. No matter how many times the coaches say, “We just need to get back to work and continue to get better. We’re going to continue to battle.” Wasn’t that the last thing Custer said at Little Big Horn?
If last week was the pivotal point of the season like so many people were saying, the Hogs are in big trouble. Hogmageddon is upon us. And it seems that Jeff Long isn’t considering at least trying to avoid total catastrophe. Has he really just written this season off in the name of “I’m looking out for the student athletes.”?
If you want to stay with John L. Smith as head coach (he makes you look worse for hiring him every week), go ahead. The entire state of Alabama, I mean Arkansas, may not like the results; but, you’re the boss. How about at least make Smith shake the staff up on the defensive side of the ball. I hate to think what A&M is going to do to a Hogs defense that has yielded 40+ points and 500+ yards per game in losing three straight after a shaky season opening victory over Jacksonville State.
Rutgers quarterback Gary Nova was averaging 185 yards and one touchdown pass per game coming into last weekend’s matchup with Arkansas. He passed for 397 yards and five scores.
A&M freshman Johnny Manziel is averaging 213 yards and 2+ touchdown passes per game. Who knows what that might translate to Saturday? Plus, Manziel has rushed for another 268 yards, averaging 6.9 yards per carry, and five more touchdowns.
Anybody still remember what ULM QB Kolton Browning did to Arkansas’ defense? How about 69 yards and a touchdown on the ground and 412 yards plus 3 scores through the air? You know Manziel and crew can’t wait to get the game underway. If ULM’s and Rutgers’ offenses can pad their stats versus the Hogs, think what A&M might do.
The answer can’t possibly be staying the course. Granted, there are so many things going wrong that it’s hard to say where to start. But Arkansas’ defense is so glaringly bad, you can’t just remain “steadfast” and let the nightmare continue without trying something.
If Long has in fact written this season off as it seems, is that okay? He might want to be sure he’s not napping in the Hogs coffin when Smith and company put the final nail in it.