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…
I’ve been MIA for about a week so here’s a recap of the week that was…
The Razorbloggers have their wrapup of the ugly loss to Alabama and the Good, Bad, and Ugly. Hog wide receiver Marques Wade will have surgery on his knee and will be out for the rest of the season. WR Lucas Miller suffered a concussion during the Alabama game as well. Michael Smith impressed with a 91 yard on 19 carries day.
The Expats suggest looking ahead to what’s infront of us….and reminds us of the best and worst games against the Horns.
Raycom has picked up the UA-Florida game for another 11:30 am start. Felix Jones scored another TD this past Sunday Night. David Lee brought the Wildhog to Miami and helped the Fins crush the Pats Sunday. The 2009 baseball schedule is out. The NCAA has denied the appeal of the sanctions against the Track and Field program. Finally AD Jeff Long now appreciates what the LR games bring to the University.
AD Jeff Long announces the new executive structure of the Athletic Dept. He also talks to Razorback central about several issues…Logo preferences…Use of the word “hog” to identify teams…and Chancellor David Gearhart’s relationship with Long. Frank Broyles is adjusting to his new role. A couple of sites have previews of the Western Illinois game up…Razorbloggers…Hog Blog. The expats are getting all nostalgic about Nutt. A couple of Paul Petrino quick hits. Marcus Monk has been picked up by the Giants.
ESPN has bought the TV rights to almost the entire SEC for $2.25 BILLION. This doubles the income for each school from last years deals with their TV partners. The deal kills the idea of an SEC channel and also kills the SEC’s relationship with Raycom/Lincoln Financial/Jefferson Pilot Sports. You can also look forward to subscribing to ESPNU since a lot of SEC programming will end up there. Bobby Petrino has a photographic memory. Marcus Monk was waived from the Bears. Freshman WR Jarius Wright is shining. ESPN looks at TE D.J. Williams. War Memorial Stadium plans for it’s 60th Anniversary. Razorback Women’s Soccer opens it’s season with a 1-0 win over Missouri St.
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.
You won’t be seeing the image above on the floor of Bud Walton Arena come next season. AD Jeff Long announced “improvements” being made to Walton Arena including moving press row for a “Courtside Club” ticket area, LCD scorers table, LCD ribbon around the arena, and a resurfacing of the floor which will do away with our slobberin’ Hog and replace it with the “Classic” hog logo of the football helmets. The base price of a ticket to a game is also going up to $25.
Bobby Petrino has announced that linebacker Freddy Burton and wide receiver Marques Wade will each be suspended for the first two games of the 2008 after both men had DUI arrests. The sixth(!) hog in trouble with the law is Earnest Mitchell. He was pulled over and cited for a misdemeanor charge of possession of an instrument of crime. We’re now #6 in the EDSBS Fulmer Cup standings. The Fulmer Cup is a point system to determine the most unlawful team in college football, named after Tennessee’s Phillip Fulmer. Speaking of aleged law breakers, Matt Jones appears to be trying to turn things around in Jacksonville.
Bobby Petrino will be on Football Saturdays in the South this coming weekend. Don’t expect any thing on the arrests the interview was shot during spring practice. Here’s an interview/season preview with former hog and Little Rock radio personality David Bazzel. AS360 profiles the Voice of the Razorbacks En Español Carlos Chicas. And Raycom (formerly Lincoln/Jefferson Pilot Financial) Sports, who televise regional SEC games during football and basketball season, are upgrading their telecasts to HD. I’m linking to this only for the humorous commentary about Raycom and the 3 Daves. I’ve forgotten to mention that the “Lady Razorbacks” are no more. AD Jeff Long, now head of a combined athletic dept., wants everyone to be called “Razorbacks”.
On the Olympic Front arkansasrazorbacks.com is now posting spotlights on former Hogs headed to Beijing. They’re starting with Track Hogs Alistair Cragg and Nicole Teter. Also, here’s a look at Tyson Gay’s support system as he prepares to come back from a hamstring injury he received during the US Olympic Qualifier (Via The Slophouse).
This Week From The Bench…
The last seven years have been a columnist’s dream, and I would like to personally thank all parties involved for providing such rich content to write about. Even in the offseason, there seemed to be one scandal after another that kept the chat rooms active. (I love to call the Internet boards “chat rooms” as a way to mock all those many media people who had no clue and used to do the same.)
So with the blaring lack of controversy at the UofA, the big issue for July is this: The University of Arkansas is hiring a personal PR flack for Petrino. That’s the biggest news around and if it doesn’t seem that big to you then I am about to manufacture it into something else like they do on Fox.
This Week From The Bench…
But now things seem to have quieted down on the Hill, and combined with the slow news period of summer in the Razorback kingdom, it’s time for me to spin the wheel of topics to find something to write about. Wally prefers to write about Keith Jackson, Coach Rip, and his pastor during these dead periods, but since I only have negative things to say about pastors and am not out to make friends by name dropping, I’ll take a subject at random thanks to the Wheel of Topics and see what I can do.
Well uninspired is the word most would use for the final regular season SEC series for the Diamond Hogs. They lost the series 2 games to 1 and finished the conference season 1/2 game out of 8th place in the final SEC standings…and out of the SEC tournament. The Finals from the weekend set are…
Thursday Ark.-5 Miss. St.-6 , Friday Ark.-5 Miss. St.-6 , Saturday Ark.-15 Miss. St.-10.
Rivals has a photo journal of the final game. The Hogs are currently hosting Western Illinois at Baum. Whole Hog Sports is calling it a Must Win. The hogs look to bolster their chances to get into an NCAA Regional. Their RPI hasn’t been updated but this link will update later tonight. Here’s the University’s Baseball Notebook from before tonight’s game.
UPDATE: Diamond Hogs Beat Western Illinois…Ark.-12/W. Ill.-6.
Turning to other spring sports…
The Men Track Hogs won the SEC Outdoor Track & Field title this weekend, John McDonnell’s last as head coach. The search for his replacement is going at a “steady” pace. Ladyback Tracksters finished third at the meet. The Ladyback Tennis Team finished the season ranked 17th this season after being eliminated in the Elite Eight. It was arguably the best season in school history. The Ladyback Softball team finished it’s season with a loss in the NCAA Regionals to Oregon. Ladyback Miranda Dixon was named to the Louisville Slugger / National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division I All-Region team. The Mens Golf Team Finished in 19th place at the NCAA Regional this weekend. The Ladyback Golfers start their Regional tomorrow.
College Football News have their WAAAY early bowl predictions up (Hogs V. Nebraska in Indy Bowl). Razorback Hoopster Michael Sanchez has moved from the bench to a starting role for the Reach USA squad in China. The Expats dip into the SI archives to find a Hog football team in turmoil from 1988.
This Week From The Bench…
No date on the upcoming Razorback football schedule rings louder than October 25. The date, of course, is the return of Houston Nutt to the University of Arkansas campus for a game featuring his Ole Miss Rebels against his former team, the Razorbacks.
A quick trough for your Saturday…
Bobby Petrino’s father got ran over by an Arkansas WR during practice yesterday…He’s okay. Cornerback Jerell Norton appears to have pulled a hamstring during the practice. WR Crosby Tuck had a bad day. Redshirt freshman Tim Dial, who was a weakside linebacker, has left the team. All of the previous stories are covered HERE. Here is the round up of Friday’s Practice Reports. AS360 visits with SI’s Stewart Mandel about Bobby Petrino. Finally the rescheduling of the Texas game from 2009 to 2015 is official per AD Jeff Long.
The Diamond Hogs still can’t find their bats in a 5-2 loss to Auburn. AS360 talks to the resident diamond hog on their staff, Brent Birch, about their turbulent season. They also link to some video from Sonny Weem’s win in the National Slam Dunk Contest. Lastly, Arkansas won it’s 10th-straight Texas Relays title in the 4×1,500-meter relay Friday.
The SEC Tournament Kicks off Tomorrow The Hogs have a first Round bye and will face the winner of the Vandy/Auburn on Friday at 2:15 cdt (approx). They need to win to get off the bubble…the bubble that ESPN’s Braketologist says is populated by bad teams. But before we look ahead lets look back at the past week or so…The Hoops squad beat Auburn on Senior Day 77-64. The Diamond Hogs Swept Siena 14-5, 17-2, and 10-4. They then traveled to #1 Arizona State and gave them all they can handle in a 6-5 Loss. On The News Front Sonny Weems was named to the SEC Coaches All-SEC first team and the USBWA all-district team (district VII). Weems and teammate Steven Hill were named to the SEC all-defensive team. Corliss “Big Nasty” Williamson was named as Arkansas’ “SEC Legend” for this weekends SEC tournament. AD Jeff Long Spoke to the Little Rock Tip-Off Club about scheduling in-state schools (no likely), Bobby Petrino’s hiring, His First SEC title (Track), and scheduling games in Little Rock. The Hogs announced that they had signed the Texas A&M contract to play at the new Cowboys stadium for a decade starting 2009. As most of you know Nolan Richardson is out of the running for ASU Head Coach.
Finally I’d like to highlight a series that has just wrapped up on the Razorback Expats on the Hogs’ trip to the 1978 Final Four. The team was coached by Eddie Sutton (who’s 72nd birthday is today) and was Arkansas’ first trip to the final four in the modern era. Here is Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.
The Hoop Hogs Went 1-1 since the last Trought…UA-87 LSU-61, UA-58 UK-63. The Diamond Hogs Swept Witchia St. over the weekend…Fri 9-4, Sat 5-4, Sun 7-3. Darren McFadden is fast apparently…watch the video. Hillis was the fastest FB at the combine with an unofficial time of 4.58 in the 40. Marcus Monk also tried to prove himself. Hog Football Tickets are going up to $45 this season. Arkansas has asked Texas to allow the football team to reschedule the Longhorns from 2009 to 2014 but nothing has been finalized. Tom Collen is building a winner in the Lady Hogs Hoops squad. Finally, some people were upset with CBS cutting away from the UA/UK game Saturday.
Update: I wanted to mention again to Vote For Big Red. Also, EA is allowing people vote to add an arena to NCAA March Madness 08. EA visited Bud Walton and has a post about it on the MM08 blog Vote For Bud Walton!
The Diamond Hogs start up play this Friday with a series against Wichita St. and the local media are starting to do their season forecasts/previews…Razorbloggers, The Morning News, and the Slophouse. Junior third baseman Logan Forsythe was named to USA Baseball’s pre-season Golden Spikes Award Watch List on Tuesday. Here’s the Diamond Hog Promotion Schedule. The Hoop Hogs Lose to Division Leader Mississippi St. 80-74…But their RPI is still high. Assistant Coach Rob Evans talked with the LR Tip-Off Club. AD Jeff Long is in talks with Nolan Richardson to Honor the ’94 National Championship Team next year on the 15th Anniversary. ESPN’s Mel Kiper is against the Dallas Cowboys trading up to get Darren McFadden. Mitch Mustain is trying to work his way off of USC’s Scout Team.
And Finally, As far as Video Games go I own only a Nintendo Wii. No XBox360 or PS3. The game that I’ve been waiting for has finally been announced for Wii…NCAA FOOTBALL 2009! To commemorate the event EA is allowing the public to vote (once per day) on a college mascot to place on the cover of NCAA Football for Wii. Voting will be thru March 14th. Vote for Big Red!