By Otis Kirk
FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas defeated Texas A&M 20-10 on Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021, to snap a losing streak that started in 2012.
The two teams will meet again Saturday, Sept. 24, in AT&T Stadium. Jimbo Fisher will have a new quarterback to face the Hogs that day. Last year’s starter Zach Calzada against the Razorbacks is now at Auburn. Fisher feels Auburn is getting a very good quarterback.
“Zach is a tremendous human being. I hated to lose Zach,” Fisher said. “He’s a competitor. He has tremendous arm talent. He’s competitive, he’s tough, he’s smart. He’s a team guy. Zach will do anything in the world to win for his teams.
“As they say, when your quarterback takes shots like that and does things like that, your team has great respect and plays hard. I think they’re getting a great human being with a talented football player. It’s going to be a pain in our tail when we play them. I know that. I know he’s in a battle right now, but Zach is a very talented guy, and they’re blessed to have him. He will do a great job for them.”
While Calzada is at Auburn, Fisher has Max Johnson who was LSU’s starting quarterback last season. Fisher smiled when talking about the quarterback movement this past offseason.
“South Carolina has Oklahoma’s starting quarterback,” Fisher said. “USC has Oklahoma’s starting quarterback
(laughter). Wild, wild west. It is crazy. It’s the times we’re in. That’s just the world. Did you ever think it would come to that? No. But at the same time, it’s not transfer. There’s reasons to transfer, I get that. But I think — sometimes I hope these guys will try to stick things out at times. But there are reasons. It makes it an interesting show, that’s for sure.”
Fisher has had Johnson, Haynes King and Conner Weigman on campus for spring and now the three are still competing for the quarterback job. Fisher talked about how it’s going at that position.
“Very well,” Fisher said. “I think they’re learning off each other. I think they’re doing a great job of watching
each other and being very competitive with each other. But also helping each other. I mean, very pleased. Finally, as I say, at the end of spring, you finally saw Max starting to grasp what we were trying to do. You saw Haynes’ health come in. Really in the last month, I’ve seen his feet, the way he’s throwing the ball, he’s really jumped out at me. Connor, so natural and effortless. As he grasps what’s going on… It’s going to be
a fun battle.
“Last year we needed three. You saw Zach in the Alabama game. As I said before, he took — he had a knee hit, came back from that. In the Auburn game he actually popped his shoulder back in place, and the doc said he could play, so he played. You really need a third guy. Having three guys, that’s rare in today’s time. But I think we got three outstanding guys. I’m very excited to
work with them.”
In another note, Fisher was asked about if they go to three permanent rivals in the SEC once the Longhorns and Oklahoma begin play he mentioned the Razorbacks.
“You want Texas,” Fisher said. “When Texas comes into the league, when that schedule comes in, definitely because of that rivalry. I think LSU is a great rivalry. But that’s probably our two biggest. Then Arkansas goes into that, too. But I don’t know if that was one of our three that they equated to us in what we did.
“I mean, you’re going to play great teams all across the board. You have to get those rivalries. I would right now probably and Texas will be definitely for sure. I think the third time on our gamut if I am not mistaken was Mississippi State. Another West team. I believe that’s the way it was. I’m trying to think off the top of my head. I think the Texas rivalry is important. I think the LSU rivalry is important.”
The Southwest Classic trophy will be at stake when Arkansas and Texas A&M meet this season.