PTN’s Ask Mike Segment 2-22

Pig Trail Nation

Q. Inkyhog66 asks: Have coach Pittman & Odom thought about maybe moving Soli to linebacker in the 3, 3, 5 defense?

A. Soli is a natural defensive end and had a good freshman year at that position. He had a hand injury last season that may have slowed him up some. On the projected 2021 depth chart he’s listed as the number three outside linebacker behind Zach Williams and Dorian Gerald. Soli goes 6-4 and about 235 so he’s got the size. Not sure about the speed. He gets his sophomore year back so he’s got some time to develop there if that’s where they want him to be.

Q. oldfart says: The baseball Hogs have excellent indoor workout facilities. Are the Ladyback softballers able to use those facilities or do they have other indoor workout facilities available?

A. The Razorback softball team has its own indoor facility just west of the third base dugout at Bogle Park. It features a locker room with an indoor practice area and batting facility.

It’s hard to believe but Bogle park is 11 years old. It replaced Ladyback yard which was located at the site of old George Cole baseball field, home of the Razorback Men’s baseball team from the mid 70’s to the mid 90’s. The football outdoor practice fields are located there now.

Q. Inhogswetrust says: I’ve been a proponent of the P5 conferences breaking away from the NCAA and forming their own association if they could. What are your thoughts on this?

A. I hope it happens sooner than later. The Power 5 needs to do what’s best for the Power 5 and that doesn’t include the NCAA which to me is more of a boat anchor for the high attendance, high revenue college athletic programs.

For far too long the NCAA, which is funded by by member institutions and should work for those institutions, has instead served in an almost a dictatorial role. Basically telling college athletics, this is the way we’re going to do things. The way it cancelled the NCCA basketball tournament last spring which started a domino effect of shutting all sports down with no discussion, is a good example of the problem.

The Power 5 should absorb the Big 12, which is actually 10 teams, and reorganize into four conferences with four eight-team divisions in each. That’s 128 schools. They could then create a new governing body with new rules with a more transparent system of enforcement and punishment.

Do all of that and tell the NCAA to take a hike.

Q. BaconTheSaddleAgain says: The Hogs’ rankings in the preseason baseball polls are anywhere from number 8 to number 22. Why the disparity and which ranking do you think is more accurate?

A, First of all there are to many polls. Each poll has its own panel and anytime you get people voting on polls, the more you have, the bigger the disparity.

Arkansas is 8th in three of the six polls. I’d go with that.

Q. Hawgphat says: If we witness a full second season under Pittman, what do you expect to see in terms of the installation of evolutionary offensive and defensive schematics – taking advantage of the influx of upgraded player personnel AND the additional learning curve drills time?

A. Okay to me that’s a very creative way of asking this: the question should say this….

If we don’t have any COVID disruptions how more more developed will the offense and defense be in year two under Sam Pittman?

It will help teams with new coaching staffs that last year didn’t get much time to implement what they do offensively and defensively. It’s especially important for Kendall Briles because he’s got two new assistant coaches on the offensive side and he’s got to develop K. J, Jefferson as a full time starter at quarterback. There are also two new assistant coaches on the defensive side. Spring ball will be essential for the players to adjust to them.

Back to the offense. The new tight ends coach is a former offensive line coach. He was brought on board to improve the run blocking by the tight ends. With Jefferson more of a run/pass quarterback, there is speculation that Arkansas will run the ball more next season. That would not be a shock considering Pittman’s background.

Q: Lanny wants to know: Have the dates for the sec basketball tournament and ncaa tournaments been recently modified for 2021?

A. Not yet and it’s beginning to look like they won’t be modified. In the SEC there’s all these makeup games on the table because of the Aggies. Two of them are against Arkansas. No word yet but if even one of them gets played that would be better than nothing.

Q. hobhog asks: What are the odds of getting a game scheduled between seasons end and SECT in basketball? Seems like we could schedule one of the many teams A&M canceled on.

A. Here’s the problem with that. The Aggies have cancelled games with six teams and Arkansas had already played all six and they’ve beaten five of the six. The only team of that group that they haven’t beaten is Alabama and they’re playing them Wednesday night. They sure don’t want to play the conference leader three times.

My guess is, if they can’t get the Aggies to play a make up game with them Arkansas will accept it and move on.

Q. Superhog1959 says: I always heard that Jimmy Johnson was going to take the head coach job at Arkansas after Frank retired. Instead Lou Holtz was hired. What is the inside story and was that correct?

A. Depends on who you ask. Johnson has always said that he and Frank had an understanding that he would take over as head coach when Frank stepped down. Frank never acknowledged that arrangement and when he did retire as a coach he hired Holtz .

He told an angry Johnson that if he wanted to coach the Razorbacks some day he would have to become a successful head coach somewhere else first. Johnson then left for Pitt to take the defensive coordinator’s job there. He did that for two years and got the head coaching job at Oklahoma State

He was semi successful there for five seasons but when Holtz was fired in 1983 Ken Hatfield was hired by Broyles to replace him. Johnson had gone 8-4 at OSU that year. Hatfield was 10-2 at Air Force.

The word at the time what that Frank wanted to lure Tom Osborne away from Nebraska. At that time Osborne had been at Nebraska for 11 seasons. He’d won 6 bowl games with four Big 8 titles. That would have been a huge hire. Osborne was interested but Nebraska was in the Orange Bowl that year and Osborne told Broyles that he would not talk to him about the job until after January 1st.

Hatfield was about to pull his name out of the search due to pressure from the Air Force people so Frank hired Hatfield. Johnson was furious. He got the Miami job and poured it on Arkansas in a 1987 game in Little Rock. The final score was 51-7.

Johnson stayed mad at Frank for many years but he finally came back to a reunion in Fayetteville and they sort of patched up their differences.

The truth is, Miami turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to Johnson. He won a national championship there and went on win two Super Bowls at Dallas.

Frank did him a favor by not hiring him. All the crazy stuff Johnson allowed his players to do at Miami would have not been tolerated at Arkansas. He would not have recruited the way he did there. There would not likely have been a national title or an NFL job for Johnson.

Q. Arkansas RedNeck asks: What do you think of the Diamond Hogs so far?

A. They’re off to a great start, that’s for sure. 2-0 against a pair preseason top 10 teams? Doesn’t get much better than that. The two games were completely different. Arkansas beat number 3 Texas Tech with offense. Lots of it. They scored 13 runs in the game. Came from behind three different times.

Game two against Texas was a pitching duel. Three Arkansas pitchers combined to throw a two-hitter against the Longhorns. The Hogs managed just six hits of their own in that game compared to 11 in the season opener but when you shut a team out it doesn’t take much offense to win. So far it looks like this is going to be a group of guys that does what it takes to win.

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