Photo: Walt Beazley, UA Athletics
It’s a sorry state of affairs in Fayetteville.
I thought things were bad for the Razorbacks when they lost to Louisiana-Monroe. And then Alabama. And then Rutgers. Which all led to this four game losing streak — which is real bad. And then there’s being outscored 110-10 in SEC games. Not to mention opposing quarterbacks setting school records and looking the part of All-Americans. And now, there’s a distinct possibility that Arkansas will not reach a bowl game this season.
Equally possible is the notion that the Razorbacks may not even win another game in 2012.
On Saturday, while watching Arkansas sink into the mud against Texas A&M and their season sinking even deeper, it made me start to feel very sorry for a lot of people associated with the football program.
I’m sorry John L. Smith, but you’re clearly not the coach Arkansas needed to keep our ship afloat. You’ve declared bankruptcy. You’ve said dumb things. Yes, you’ve had a rough go of it lately — and for that I’m very sorry. But you’re not an SEC coach. And after the last four seasons of constant improvement for the program, you’re the leader of what could be the biggest free-fall for a Preseason Top 10 team in the history of NCAA football. I thank you for stepping in and keeping the team together — even though they probably needed a little bit more tough love. Hopefully you’ll get another chance to get a program back on its feet and into winning ways in the future — but it won’t be here.
I’m sorry Paul Petrino, but you’re not the offensive mastermind your brother is. You seemingly had a shot to take over the head coaching spot at Illinois, but it’s clear that you’re not ready for a head coaching gig. Truth be told, you may not even be ready for the SEC. I thank you for sticking around after your brother’s dismissal, perhaps you can learn from this season and wind up in a good program next year — but it won’t be here.
I’m sorry Paul Haynes, but you don’t resemble the same defensive coordinator that helped Arkansas win the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic just nine months ago. Your defensive scheming continues to get simpler, but the results get worse. You’re definitely not ready for a head coaching gig. You’re not even ready for the SEC. I thank you for leaving Ohio State and coming to the Razorbacks to try and turn the defense around. Hopefully you’ll get another fair shake and prove your defensive prowess — but it won’t be here.
I’m sorry Tyler Wilson and Knile Davis, but your NFL stock values are probably dropping because you both chose to come back to Arkansas for another season. The fans were wildly excited for your return and bought into the hype. But now the season is all but lost and some fear you’re gonna wind up hurt, again. I thank you for what you’ve accomplished and what you’ve meant to the program. Please keep plugging along and get some wins before the season is over.
I’m sorry Jeff Long, mainly for the mess that Bobby caused you. Firing him was the right decision. It’s also apparent that finding a good coach in April isn’t easy. I’m also sorry that your choice to pick up Smith wasn’t the best one. You’ll make many better choices in years to come. I thank you for what you’ve done for the Arkansas program so far — Arkansas is in a great position to get a fantastic coach. Now go out and find the players a coach that can help them get back on the winning track.
Yes, it’s a sorry state of affairs in Fayetteville. And I’m most sorry to all of the Arkansas fans — this season isn’t what it was supposed to be.