Q. Our first question is from Snout team who says: I hear lots of people saying you can’t compare Haselwood to Burks. Burks was a generational talent. But if Haselwood was the number 1 WR in the nation and had a 9965 rating and Burks was 16th WR in the nation with a 9544 rating why wouldn’t we compare them?
A. I think the answer most fans would give is pretty simple. Haselwood was overrated in high school and Burks was underrated. The star system isn’t perfect.
But I think there is more too it when it comes to Haselwood. Arkansas’s current running backs coach coached Haselwood in high school. Jimmy Smith said on Saturday that Haselwood was frustrated by his performance at Oklahoma which is one of the reasons why he transferred to Arkansas. According to Smith, Haselwood doesn’t accept the notion that he was overrated in high school and he’s determined to play like a five-star athlete this fall.
Also A. J. Green said that Haselwood didn’t come in like a normal transfer, kind of quiet until he could adjust to his new coaches and teammates. Instead he became a vocal leader in the spring and has continued that right into August camp.
So hopefully Haselwood can pick up where Burks left off.
Q. Armon Abbe says: Arkansas’ defensive tackle commit out of Georgia, the kid’s a monster at 6′ 6″ 350 pounds. He’s only listed as a 3-star and Auburn was the only other SEC school that offered. Is it because he’s too slow for the position?
A. He’s not slow. Watch some of his high school highlights. The kid is on quarterbacks quicker than a hiccup.
Otis kirk tells me that Arkansas coaches are comparing Ian Geffrard to John Ridgway. The young man blows up plays before they get started. The difference is Arkansas had Ridgeway for a year. Hopefully they’ll have Geffrard for at least three seasons.
Otis also says Geffrard is not one of those guys who goes to every camp, getting himself in front of recruiters. Otis says his recruiting will start to blow up later this fall and he could get elevated to 4-star status. Hopefully he’ll stay committed to the Hogs
Q. Ryan Spears says: I think I read something about Jefferson saying he was planning on losing 5 pounds before the season. Unless the coaching staff wants him to lose weight, he looks fine to me. I think keeping him healthy is paramount.
A. Most of us covering practice have noticed that K.J. has shed a few pounds. It’s nothing dramatic but he says he feels quicker. I think he plans to lose a few more pounds before the season starts. But trust me, he still has that same linebacker-type look. Watching him the first few days of camp he’s not going to change. He will continue to be a true run\pass quarterback who runs around but mostly right over defenders.
The Jefferson wants to do his second season as the starting quarterback, is become a better decision maker.
Q. Lanny says: A current Hogville poll asks Win or Lose for every team on Arkansas schedule this season. Hogville members give Arkansas a 50-50 chance or better to beat every team they play except for Alabama. The number on that game is only 20%. Clearly the Tide is in the heads of Razorback football fans.
A. For good reason. Arkansas has never beaten a Nick Saban coached Alabama team. So even though most Arkansas fans have a lot of confidence in where the program is right now less than three years removed from the Chad Morris disaster, when it comes to ‘Bama that game is gonna be one of those, I’ll believe it when I see it deals.
What’s interesting about that poll are the odds on every other game BUT Alabama. Let’s look at it.
95% of those polled think Arkansas will win the season opener against Cincinnati. That’s a really high number.
94% see South Carolina as a win.
98% believe Bobby Petrino will go down in his return to Fayetteville and slightly over half think Arkansas will extend its winning streak to two games over the Aggies.
Maybe the Alabama number is a little surprising since Arkansas gave the Tide a scare last year and the game is in Fayetteville this year.
Mississippi State, perhaps some respect for Mike Leach here. Only 67% predict a Hog win. BYU, pretty much the same thing, as 66% of those polled think Arkansas will come back from Provo with a win. Hogville Hogs are pretty confident about beating a team this year that has had Arkansas number for while. 82.% think Arkansas will go to the plains of Eastern Alabama and come back with a win. Arkansas fans with a high confidence that Hugh Freeze will not pull off an upset, 98% say it won’t happen. And look at the LSU number. Almost 80 % think Arkansas will take down the Bayou Bengals.
Ole Miss, not much respect for Lane Kiffin coming to Fayeteville year three for him in Oxford.
And Dinky Dinkwitz, Arkansas fans say yeah, Mizzou will go down in Columbia.
Interesting poll. If you buy into it Arkansas has a chance of going 11-1 in the regular season.
Q. Arkie Redneck asks: Does ESPN have something against Arkansas? I saw on Twitter that that it’s been almost 16 years since ESPN Gameday came to Fayetteville. Every SEC team has been the host site since then, some several times. That needs to change.
A. Clearly there have been some lean years in that stretch but I thought they might have come in for the 2010 Alabama game. There are several factors that have kept ESPN away from Fayetteville. The absence of a national game of the week-type match up in Fayetteville. I think they look at the TV market size for Arkansas and it’s one of the smallest in the SEC. Getting all that equipment in and out of an SEC gameday site, I think they tend to go with locations they are familiar with and also Arkansas fans don’t have a history of showing up at the stadium in huge numbers early Saturday mornings. But I do think it’s coming. It might happen this season with Alabama.
Q. TL Slaten says: Why does everybody freak out over August Camp? Every year it’s hype, hype, hype and then the season starts and everything changes. If some of you in the media got held accountable for the things you say in August you’d be fired before the season is over.
A. That’s funny and it’s not entirely incorrect. There’s a lot we don’t see after our 20 minutes watching the first part of practice is over. We have to rely on the coaches and players to tell us what’s going on. If you have a source who gets to watch the whole thing, that helps.
As far as everybody freaking out over August camp, not everybody does but if you’re a football fanatic the season is so close you can taste it but you still have to occupy your time for the next three weeks. So following media coverage of camp is the next best thing.
I wouldn’t call the Razorback media homers. I think we report what we know and a lot of it is positive. But we don’t back away from problems.
If you want to look at homer-type media coverage follow A&M. Those guys might as well be leading midnight yell practice in Mr. Clean outfits.
Q. WizardofhOgZ says: You need to get the term “pods” out of your head. It has long since been replaced by a “permanent opponents” model. With 3 permanent Arkansas may play Texas, OU and Mizzou each season, but that doesn’t mean those other 3 teams also play each other every year.
A. As far as I know there has been nothing even close to official as to how this whole thing will line up when Texas and OU join the league. Yes, the permanent opponent model is superior to a pod system and it solves some problems. But not the big one of unequal schedules. One team could end up playing the top three teams in a season. Another might only play one of those teams. I would like to see two divisions with 8 teams each. You play 7 games against teams in your division and as many as five rotators from the other division but those games don’t count in the conference standings. Every team in your division plays the same opponents.
Rotating schedules are unfair. There’s no way to make them equal for every team.
Q. teamOTIS wants to know: What do you think of Rocket?
A. Watching him in camp it’s hard to believe that a little over a year ago he was a receiver. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a kid make that kind of quick adjustment to a new position. He looks like he’s been a running back since grade school. He’s big and physical and he’s fast. That’s an unbeatable combination.
Q. mousetown says: I use Twitter to keep up with Razorback sports a lot more than Facebook these days. It’s mostly great but I spend too much time having to block jerk fans of other SEC schools. Could you give me your list of the most annoying SEC fan bases? Also the best.
A. Okay but keep in mind we’re talking fans on Twitter. Just my opinion based on what I read scanning Twitter several times a day.
A&M is the most annoying. Delusional fans. Always posting comments like a national championship is for sure coming right up. Blind loyalty. They have no problem at all with trying to buy a championship with big money. In fact they brag about the NIL money their recruits are getting.
They also retweet stuff from the homer Aggie Media and it’s like every day something amazing happens at August Camp that’s further proof that Alabama is going down and the Aggies are gonna win the national championship.
Next, Tennessee. Vols fans on Twitter are basically posting the same bold predictions for the SEC East that Aggies predict for the West. The difference is that while the Aggies rarely refer to past failures, Tennessee fans on Twitter like to make excuses. We would have challenged Georgia last year but this happened or that happened and it messed us up. But this year is going to be the year that we win the East.
Finally I’d go with LSU. LSU fans are very combative on Twitter. They come after other fans who make them mad. They also go after their own coaches and players more than most fans.
The best. I like Mississippi State fans on Twitter. Very low key. Always hopeful of a good season but very little bragging or predictions.
Hog fans are a little more combative and challenging on Twitter than I like but they are also really plugged in. They know what’s going on and they can generally back up what they post. I also like the way they go after fans who post nonsense.
Then there’s Georgia fans. After winning it all last season I figured it would go to their heads. It hasn’t, although Courtney says I’m wrong about that. Maybe only nice Georgia fans show up on my Twitter feed.
Q. LR Tackett says: You’ve mentioned the factors that caused to to take a job covering Arkansas back in the 70’s. Clearly you think you made the right choice for a team to cover. But if not Arkansas what other job would you have gone after. I’ll say Texas Tech since you are from the Lubbock area.
A. You would be wrong about that. I enjoyed growing up out there and I go back every summer to see a lot of my friends in the Lubbock area but I would not live there. I have a lot of issues with Texas Tech’s athletics administration. Gerald Meyers and after him Kirby Hocutt…they’ve made some really bad decisions. Tech fans should have demanded that both of them be fired. Meyers of course is retired these days but Hocutt is still there.
If I couldn’t cover the Hogs my second choice would have been Oklahoma. They hate the Longhorns more than Arkansas fans. There’s something very reassuring about that.
Baylor is another school I looked at before getting a job in Arkansas.
But thankfully I didn’t have to make another choice.