It is time once again for our weekly “Ask Mike” segment where you can ask the Pig Trail Nation’s senior analyst Mike Irwin anything you like in regards to Arkansas Athletics. All of his questions come from our partner Hogville.net in the Ask Mike forum.
Below is the transcript for this week’s Ask Mike segment:
Holman24 ASKS….Which receiver do u see as our first to get a 1000 yards receiving? I assume you mean in a season. As many receivers as they’re going to use….
Mike: I don’t see any of them getting a thousand yards. But it if happens I’d go with Treylon Burks. The kid is so fast and so big that I see him getting a lot of YACKs. Yards after catch.
Swinelake wants to know.... What needs to be done at the high school level for Arkansas to produce the same level of football talent that similarly sized Mississippi and Alabama produce?
Mike: Over the last 20 years or so Arkansas has turned into a basketball state more than a football state. That’s especially true in central Arkansas. AAU basketball has a lot to do with that. What could change that? Every decent sized city in Arkansas offering some type of pee wee football program. More kids playing at at early age. Junior high and high schools making a bigger deal out 7 on 7 summer tournaments. But really this boils down to coaching. Look at all the college players that have come out of Warren under Bo Hembree? Kevin Kelley at Pulaski Academy. Arkansas need more of those guys.
sowmonella says….What would you suggest to improve the game day experience? Don’t answer winning. That’s too easy.
Mike: Stop using time outs to trot out big donors. Time outs need to be used to fire the crowd up. Downgrade the use of canned music. Let the band play more. Bring out former players to lead the Hog call. Let the cheerleaders do their thing. Use the video boards to get fans excited. You don’t do that by running ads on the big screens. Fan get enough of that back home watching TV.
hogcards wants to know….You mentioned a possible conference move to the Big 12 for the Razorbacks under a certain scenario. Did you base this on the Razorback’s recent struggles on the field or the dwindling attendance numbers? i.e. what factors would prompt the Razorbacks to make such a drastic move? …and would the SEC even allow it?
Mike: The SEC has no way of keep a team in its conference but if one decided to leave there would be schools lined up wanting to take that school’s place. My remarks had to do with recruiting Texas. You have a better chance of getting your name in front of recruits if you’re playing games there. One a year in Dallas is not enough. Also it would be easier for Arkansas’ fans to travel to Big 12 games. Now… If the school ever did leave the SEC it would likely be as part of a trade. Let’s say West Virgina goes to the SEC. Arkansas takes its place in Big 12. Will it happen? Not likely.
Justifiable Hogicide asks: Who will be calling plays for the offense this season, Morris or his offensive coordinator?
Mike: I think Joe Craddock will continue to call plays but Chad Morris will be more involved in the discussion and will be more likely to overrule a play that he doesn’t like.
*EarlCampbellsHotLink observes…It seems like the heart, passion, and desire of the HCHN years have not transitioned to the more recent teams. Will we play with heart in the first game or lose?
Mike: Nutt was a rah rah guy but IMO that’s not why most of his teams were successful. Nutt had talent. There hasn’t been a D-Mac, Felix Jones, Peyton Hillis or Matt Jones in a while and there were a lot of others in those years. Like Clint Stoerner, Anthony Lucas, Cedric Cobbs & Marcus Monk. If the current staff turns the program around it will be because of recuiting. Does that mean playing with heart doesn’t matter? No. But you start with talent and then you add the rah rah stuff.
Here’s another Houston Nutt question from HawgTide. Just how dysfunctional was the 2006 football team? How long do you think Houston Nutt would have been…. our head coach if he would have put his ego and pride to the side that season instead of out front? Also, was Frank grooming him for AD?
Mike: No way Frank Boyles was grooming anybody to be the AD. He was gonna stay in that job as long as he could. Now the team was disfunctional. I had an offensive lineman on that team tell me that players argued with each other too much. He called it as a fractured environment. Some guys who really liked Nutt as the head coach allegedly harassed others that they thought didn’t support Nutt. But honestly the real problem came from outside the team where there was a plan by certain boosters to bring in Gus Mazhan, eventually make him the head coach and get Nutt to agree to become the AD. I don’t think Frank Broyles knew about this plan and I don’t think he would have agreed to it. I think Nutt did know about it and he wanted no part of it. And that’s where the problem began. Nutt worked behind the scenes to discredit those people but he went after the wrong people. Shot at the wrong target so to speak. Now it was inevitable that Frank was going to be forced out as AD at some point. The question is…. without all the drama of 06 and 07 would Frank have been allowed to name his own successor and would the new AD have kept Nutt? There’s just no way to answer that question but I would say it’s possible.
Okay, back to the present,,,,oldbear says…There has been much discussion of naming the starting quarterback and when it should be done. I would love to hear you list the advantages and any possible disadvantages of waiting until game week to name the starter.
Mike: It’s pretty simple really. If you have a clear cut starter you name him as soon as possible but you need to be certain that he’s the guy. If you’re not sure… then you wait. I don’t have an issue with waiting or even playing two guys in the first game if you think each are winners and you still can’t decide. What you don’t want is a situation like last year where everytime you start leaning toward a guy…he changes your mind by making mistakes. For the record I don’t think that’s what happened this year.
Next question is from SquidBiilyMike, when you compare Coach Morris to other Razorback head coaches that have had reasonable success here are there similarities between them that make you feel good that he can get it done here? We all know Arkansas is a somewhat unique job that needs a certain kind of coach to lead us to success.
Mike: There are some comparisons I could make to Frank Broyles. Frank was a head coach at Missouri before he came to Arkansas. Morris was at SMU. Both had backgounds in Texas. Frank had been an assistant at Baylor. Morris was a high school coach for many years in Texas and later an assistant at Tulsa and Clemson. Frank recruited Texas heavily. So has Morris. Frank saw the uniquess of Arkansas. So does Morris. The difference so far is staff. Frank surrounded himself with coaches that were on the way up. Many of them went on to become outstanding head coaches themselves. Will that happen to Morris? It’s too early to tell. But other than Frank I can’t think of another head coach at Arkansas that Morris reminds me of.
Oklahawg wants to know….which unit are you most worried about being the weak link?
This is a no brainer. It continues to be the offensive line. There is more depth right now but not a lot of experienced depth and you have to worry about injuries. They lost Noah Gatlin in camp. Colton Jackson continues to have nagging injuries. Look. Offensive linemen work in a dangerous environment. They’re crammed together in a small space with the D-Line. Collisions are taking place. Big guys falling on or stepping on each other. One of your own teammates can injure you. You can get knee injuries. Ankle injuries. Hand, arm and shoulder injuries. Ken Hatfield went through two seasons, 88 and 89 with almost no injuries to his starters in the O-line and he went to back to back Cotton Bowls. That’s how important it is to keep those guys healthy. But No injuries?? That almost never happens. It’s real simple. If Arkansas doesn’t have a lot of guys over on the bench nursing injuries…. and if it can avoid the season-ending type injuries…. then maybe you’ll see some improvement with that unit this season.
Okay something new this week, I ask myself a question. I mean why not?It’s my show. If you were a coach what is the number one thing you would change from what we see in college football these days?
No question. Showboating; Taunting and celebration penalties can cost you a game. We saw both Miami and Florida do this Saturday night. Each team was trying to give the game away. It’s real simple. Control yourself. If you make a big play let you teammates rally around you and celebrate for you and with you. That gets you out of your opponent’s space. You don’t…. or of you teammates don’t… end up wiping out a game-changing play with a dumb penalty.
Another reminder. All of our questions come from Hogville.net. If you want your question asked go there and sign up if you are not currently a member. Then go to the Ask Mike forum and post it. That wraps up another week of Ask Mike. I’ll see everybody here again next Monday when I’m sure we’ll get ton of questions about the season opener.