FTB: Annual Report Card: Petrino Barely Passes

This Week From The Bench…

With the firing of Houston Nutt (and I was years ahead of the mob in
calling for his firing, by the way), new coach Bobby Petrino came in
with high expectations from the fans for a dynamic aerial assault. What
we got was a 5-7 team with a defense that gave every other team a great
opportunity to pad its offensive stats. While the sports columnist of
the statewide daily and the marks on the Internet paint a
sunshine-pumping picture, let’s be honest that Petrino’s first year
was not a success. In my annual tradition, it’s time to let the grades
roll on Petrino…

Hawgsports.com

FTB:Time for Constructive Thinking on Improving Home Advantage

This week from the bench…

In the flurry of responses that I got last week from my column pointing out the glories of War Memorial Stadium and how improbable victories are found there, many took umbrage to it.

Games in War Memorial Stadium are labeled for history with descriptors such as the Immortal Teddy Barnes Catch or the Miracle on Markham. Games in Fayetteville, meanwhile, are most noted by the Great Shootout, which was the most heart-breaking loss in Razorback history.

Hawgsports.com

FTB:Crowd Always Ready to Bring it in War Memorial

This Week From The Bench…

And it starts again. Bobby Petrino, in his first year as head coach, is undefeated in Little Rock.

All the previous Razorback coaches of any worth post-Broyles all stayed undefeated in Little Rock for some time. It took four seasons before Lou Holtz lost his first game in Little Rock. The same can be said about Ken Hatfield. Houston Nutt took seven seasons before the first loss came. Beginning in 1998, the Hogs have defended the home turf of War Memorial Stadium to the tune of 24 wins and two losses. That is an amazing winning percentage of more than 92 percent.

Hawgsports.com

FTB:Bowl Game Aint Gonna Happen for Hogs

This week from the bench…

After the South Carolina, blaming the starting quarterback would be too easy, just as giving him too much credit this season has been too easy for all those who said Houston Nutt held him back while snapping the ball to Darren McFadden too many times last year. The starting QB has thrown interceptions at too brisk of a pace for this team to have any success. But the problems of this team are very broad.

Hawgsports.com

FTB:Missing the Shenanigans of Houston Nutt

This week from the bench…

If you were/are one of the people who hated Houston Nutt, this is vindication Saturday.

The Razorbacks face Ole Miss this weekend, and it will be the hardest ticket to get in Fayetteville since Texas came to town in 2004 to hand the Hogs a two-point loss, which is appropriate since Ole Miss will now assume the mantle as Arkansas’ chief rival and the game that the fans circle on the calendar. “Ole Miss Week” can’t be far behind if the coming circus even comes close to living up to its billing.

Hawgsports.com

FTB:Victory on the Plains puts Hogs back on Track

This Week From The Bench…

Beating Auburn was a feel good win because you have to love it when Auburn is more messed up than the Hogs.

After the supposed moral victory last week in only allowing Florida to score 38 on the Hogs at home, the win against the Tigers was real. Auburn was a good team and just a few weeks removed from the top 10, but it is now a team that has lost on back-to-back weekends to Vanderbilt and now Arkansas. After firing their offensive coordinator, they are definitely reeling.

Hawgsports.com

FTB: Florida Was Not a Moral Victory for Hapless Hogs

This Week From The Bench…

While the Petrino surrogates in the media would like you to believe otherwise, this may be the 100-year flood for Razorback football ? it is one of the worst teams fielded by the University in a century.

Yet what did we hear after the horrendous loss to Florida, a loss in which yet another team covered an embarrassing three-touchdown spread on Arkansas (with a touchdown to spare added by Florida)?

Hawgsports.com

FTB: Hard Times, Spreading Just Like the Flu

This Week From The Bench…

The loud thud that Razorback fans heard on Saturday was the sound of their football program hitting rock bottom. The Hogs have not lost back-to-back games this ugly since Jack Crowe’s first season when the team lost to Texas 49-17 and then followed it up with another huge loss of 62-28 against Houston.

Or maybe it’s worse than that. A wise observer tells me the Razorback football program may be over. Remember that LSU game last year because it may be a very long time before we get to enjoy another victory in the SEC, especially one of that magnitude.


Hawgsports.com

FTB:Razorbacks May Not Win Another Game All Season

This Week From The Bench…

So it starts. On the always entertaining “Fifth Quarter” call-in show on 103.7 on Saturday after the Razorback embarrassment to Alabama, the hosts brought up the topic of play calling. If you have nothing else to talk about after getting beat 49-14, then why not question the coach’s play calling? It is something Arkansas sports fans are very good at. But play calling was not the only problem on the field, by far.

Hawgsports.com

FTB:Hurricane Should Not Have Canceled Razorback Game in Austin

This Week From The Bench….

I know the rolled-out explanation was for the security of players and fans. Just like that new fire taco at Taco Bell, I don’t buy it. Austin is very far inland from where Ike hit. I believe other motivations were the cause of the postponement, such as fans not showing up to the game so $8 popcorn couldn’t be sold, hotels not filled, and restaurants like Kerbey Lane not selling stacks of blueberry pancakes as planned.

Hawgsports.com

FTB:What Game? Tailgating was the Main Event at War Memorial

This Week From The Bench…

Let’s start where the day began. After dire warnings that the War Memorial Golf Course would be a mud pit for the Razorback football game, the predictions did not come to fruition after a deluge from the hurricane-turned-tropical-depression that parked itself over Arkansas. Saturday turned out to be a perfect day for college football and tailgating. Games in Little Rock in early September often turn into a sweating mess, but the temperature for this one was just right.


Hawgsports.com

FTB:Need to Establish Running Game is Irony In The Extreme

This Week From The Bench…

I don’t know how they do it in Conference USA, but running the ball 13 times a game in the SEC is going to get this Razorback team beat a lot. In this instance, it led to poor clock management against an inferior opponent that had a decent rushing game and dictated clock all night. An inferior team can often keep a game close with a running attack and solid kicking game, and the Leathernecks did that all night.

Hawgsports.com

FTB:Contract Extension Shows UA’s Commitment to Rest of State

This Week From The Bench…

Contract Extension at War Memorial Shows UA’s Commitment to Rest of State

I would be remiss to not mention the new contract the University of Arkansas signed with War Memorial Stadium. First, though, I have to remind Little Rock that they need to put on hold any plans for the War Memorial Golf Course until 2016.

The city keeps pretending it might do something with it based on the muses of some independent consultant from St. Louis, but as long as the Razorbacks play in Little Rock, the main purpose of that golf course is for Razorback game day and then the rest of the year you can learn to play golf on it. I would guess that no park in the state is host to as many people in one day as War Memorial on a Saturday the Razorbacks are in town. Let’s not forget that fact, Mayor Stodola.

Hawgsports.com

FTB:Razorback Defense Will Flounder Without Linebackers

This Week From The Bench…

Like a lot of places on the field, the Arkansas Razorback football team is depleted at linebacker. If you have read anything about the preseason so far, you know that fact. I got worse over the last week with Elston Forte and Ryan Powers both nursing injuries. Freshmen will have to fill part of the void at this position, but we all know that won’t work unless one of them is Hardy Nickerson.

The good news, however, is that linebackers are not as important as they once were unless you’re playing Houston Nutt. In this pass-happy world of score, cornerbacks and safeties now have become equally as important. The Razorback coaches, and I don’t know who half of these people are, have been rather reserved talking about how they’re going to fill this void at linebacker, and for good reason ? they have no idea.

Hawgsports.com

FTB:Fan Predictions From Way Down on the Redneck Riviera

This Week From the Bench…

The last time that I attended media days for the Arkansas Razorbacks was in 1999. I have spent that week ever since going to the Gulf of Mexico, and in particular Orange Beach, Ala., to get the thoughts of opposing fans from around the SEC. Sure SEC media days has its own poll of how the experts think everyone is going to do, but if you have met many in the media including myself, you know their predictions are no more valid than your own except that it ends up in print.

Hawgsports.com