Our first question this week is from @mousetown who wants to know: What in the wide wide world of sports happened to my Hogs against Georgia. I knew it would be a tough game but I didn’t expect a total butt kicking.
A. Arkansas is not a top 10 team. Georgia is either the best or second best team in the country. Both Texas and A&M were overrated. By beating those two, the media and the coaches put the Hogs in the top 10. Based on what I’ve seen Arkansas more like a top 20 to top 15 team. The national media and Arkansas’ own fans hyped this game all week suggesting the possibility of an upset that wouldn’t really be an upset. I think Georgia’s coaches were able to use that as a sign of disrespect toward them and what their program has accomplished under Kirby Smart. The Dogs came out mad and focused. Arkansas wasn’t ready to play and got kicked.
Q. BloodRedHog says: I can’t tell how good this team is. A&M lost to Miss State. Texas beat TCU. We just got rolled, but Georgia could be the best team in the country. Are we the 2nd best team in the West?
A. Next week could go a long way to answering that question. Ole Miss has a much better defense than last year. Offensively they’ve got a really good QB and some excellent receivers. They got down 35-0 to Bama early in the 3rd quarter. Arkansas at that same point in the game was down 24-0 to Georgia. The difference is the Rebels showed some fight outscoring the Tide 21-7 for the rest of the game. Arkansas was outscored 13 nothing from that point on.
That’s what bothered me about that game. Not that Arkansas lost but the fact those guys never did get anything going. Even when the game was out of hand. I don’t know. Maybe Georgia is better than Alabama. But Arkansas is going to have to really bounce back the beat Ole Miss.
Q. Lanny wants to know: What do you make of all the penalties so far this season?
A. It’s a problem even before this game. Arkansas is one of the most penalized teams in the SEC. A ton of false starts. Some of that is simply not being able to not hear the clap. It was unbelievably noisy on Saturday. Kirk Smart talked about Georgia’s crowd being a major factor in the game. But there was too much holding. Pass interference was an issue. Sam Pittman was asked about it and it’s one of the few times in a presser that he got mad. He threw his hands up and said, Hell, I don’t know. Don’t hold. Don’t commit pass interference.
Penalties are a lack of discipline. A lack of focus. I’m sure he’s lectured these guys over and over about it.
Q. robs4516 says: Do you see an obvious area that needs Coach Pittman’s attention going forward? The one thing that stands out to me is that they will be losing a lot of experienced players after this season.
A. Special teams is still an issue. They’re averaging getting a punt blocked one out of every four games in the last season and a half. Get that fixed. Now.
I don’t like the backup QB situation. If Jefferson gets hurt at any point in the season I worry that it will end up like A&M. Will Malik Hornsby get better this season? What about next year? I don’t know.
They need to improve at tight end. They have two really good ones committed for 2022 but Blake Kern has disappeared. Why has that happened? What’s going on with Hudson Henry? Is he too hurt to play?
I also worry about the secondary. Both Ole Miss and Mississippi State flat throw the ball.
Yes, there are going to be some holes to fill in the trenches next season on both sides of the ball. Depending on what Pittman and his staff come up with in the portal and how much they develop some younger players between now and next season, this team could take a slight and temporary step back in 2022.
Q. Armon Abbe says: I thought Kirby Smart and Pittman were supposed to be good friends. Pittman pulled his starting QB early in the 4th quarter but Smart left his in the whole game and Georgia even kicked a late field goal the 4th quarter with its number one offense still in the game, running up the score even more.
A. Pittman pulled Jefferson because he want to make sure he didn’t get hurt. It sounded like to me he still wasn’t sure Jefferson was 100% over that knee bruise from the A&M game. You do have a point. When Malik Hornsby came into the game I expected Georgia to pull its starters. Smart did pull some of them later but not until after that field goal. It did look like Georgia’s starters on defense were gone on Arkansas last possession and while the offense was moving the ball there was too much time wasted to score. It looked to me like Pittman said, Game over. Let’s go home and get ready for Ole Miss.
Q. TL Slaten has a similar observation. He says: Watching the Alabama-Ole Miss game it looked like Alabama let off the gas in the 4th quarter. But Georgia played Arkansas like it was a close game right ot the end. We’re they mad at Arkansas. Is there some beef that I don’t know about?
A. I think it was what I mentioned earlier. Arkansas got a huge amount of hype going into that game and Georgia’s coaches used that to motivate their players. We’re being disrespected. Let’s do something about it. You could see right up to the end their players were still emotionally into the game. I think they also saw an opportunity to maybe jump Alabama even if the Tide beat Ole Miss. To do that they needed to really pound Arkansas a top 10 team while Ole Miss was not in the top 10.
Q. Slobberslob asks: With Art Briles cleared to return to coaching, what are our chances of retaining Kendal? I’m aware that we have Loggains there who could take over but, I’d still hate to see him leave.
A. The talk behind the scenes all along is if Arkansas ends up having a really good season, nine or ten wins, Kendal Briles will get a head coaching job somewhere. Supposedly Loggains was brought in to replace Briles if or when that happens. Personally I think it would be a bigger deal to lose Barry Odom than Kendal Briles but Pittman is almost certainly going to have to replace both sooner or later. I trust his ability to find the replacements.
Q. PorkSoda says: This team had a lot of super seniors come back this year, which I think has played a big part in how well the team has been playing due to having more overall experience. As I understand it, the extra year applies to all players. Are there any seniors this year that you expect to come back next year?
A. It’s too early to know about that. When the season is over those seniors who want to some back will make it known. There’s no reason for than to talk about it now. I don’t think the numbers will be what they were this year but I do think we will continue to see some super seniors come in via the portal. Scholarship limitations might force some Arkansas seniors to hit the portal if they want to play another year. Not every player eligible to come back for an extra year is worth giving a scholarship
Q. Sharon Louise asks: Why does a loss like this always bring out the morons on Facebook and Twitter? I’ve read comments like, Get rid of the coaching staff. Bench Jefferson. Give me a break.
A: The best thing you can to is ignore stuff like that. Some of those people are just trying to be funny. Ohers are serious but know zip about college football. They disappear when the team is losing. Show back up and jump on the band wagon when they are winning. Popping off and making crazy claims like Arkansas is number one. Some of those people are just trying to be funny. Ohers are serious but know zip about college football. They disappear when the team is losing. Show back up and jump on the band wagon when they are winning. Popping off and making crazy claims like Arkansas is number one. They will jump over Alabama after beating Georgia. Then when it doesn’t happen they go on the other end of the scale. The sky is falling. Fire everybody.
Lou Holtz once said when he was at Arkansas, “In football nothing is ever as good as it seems when you’re winning or as bad as it seems when you’re not. The Internet was not a thing when he said that but he was a good predictor of the future.
Q. Tusks wants to know: Have you heard any updates on when TX/OU will be joining the league?
A. Right now 2025 is the date. We’d have to wait four more seasons if that holds up. Some think it will happen sooner. But it will be here before we know it and when that happens a lot of stuff is going to change.
Does the SEC go to a pod system? Four four team pods. Or will it be two eight-team divisions. Stay tuned.
Q. Alex4Hogs88 wants to know: What is your favorite memory against Ole Miss?
A. My favorite memory would have to be the Henry heave under Bielema and the touchdown and two point conversion that happened after that. Vaught Hemmingway and the Ole Miss campus became a ghost town after that game. That was awesome because in spite of its reputation for what a big deal tailgating at the Grove is, College Station, Baton Rouge, Columbia, Missouri and Oxford are the four SEC places I don’t like to visit. I won’t get into my issues with the other three but Ole Miss has the worst frat boy problem in the SEC. Those guys love to cruise campus looking for visiting media so they can give them hell. But the frat boys were nowhere around after the Henry heave. The silence was great.