PTN’s “Ask Mike” Segment 1-6-2020


Our first question comes from YellCountyHog21 who asks: Does Arkansas deserve to be ranked? Latest AP Poll has them at 34th (by counting down in received votes), which I thought was far too low.

Arkansas has not beaten a ranked team so far so I don’t think it’s unusual that they are unranked. This actually can be a good thing. Good motivation. If they keep winning the ranking will come but the schedule gets a lot harder starting Wednesday on the road at LSU.

Runninrazorback wants to know: Is it me or does it seem there’s more Arkansas high school kids with interest from some bigger out of state programs? Just seems like reading about more than usual. A better Arkansas high school class always seems to mean a good uptick for the Hogs.

This goes back and forth. Over the years there definitaly have been some Arkansas coaches in football and basketball that lost some good instate players. Mike Anderson and Bret Bielema most recently. Sometimes they just don’t recruit guys they should. Eric Musselman shows no signs of letting that happen. We don’t know about Sam Pittman yet.

Back2HIT says:There have been a couple of photos, where Coach Pittman and Coach Musselman have been together. What is the significance, if any, of the camaraderie of our coaches (include Coach Van Horn, too) for the health of our athletic program? Historically, which coaches were good friends with each other?

Most head coach on campus are around each other a lot in meetings with the AD. The public thing you mention right now appears to mainly involve Eric Musselman and Sam Pittman. They are both new in their jobs. Musselman goes out of this way to support other teams on campus. He and Pittman apparently have hit it off. Musseleman like to study football coaches and the way they handled practice. It’s a nice thing to see.

Sed76 asks: What was the real story with Pittman’s departure for Georgia years ago? Did he and Bielema just not get along or is there any truth to the internet rumors Bielema blew off a recruiting visit with a highly ranked player to jet to Vegas? What you mentioned is one of the rumors.

I think it was a lot of things. Some have told me that after beating Texas in year two Bielema was more interested in PR than coaching. Also Pittman was suposedly tired of being Bielema’s designated driver after socializing on Dickson street. I never saw any of that. The man issue appears to have involved Jim Chaney, the OC and QBs coach the first two years under Bielema. Pittman and Chaney were friends. Bielema had a habit of criticizing Chaney’s play calling in press conferences. Pittman felt that stuff should be done privately. Chaney left. A year later Bielema was still taking pot shots at Chaney and Pittman said enough is enough. Whatever it was it must have realy ticked Pittman off because he really didn’t want to leave Arkansas.

Kevin wants to know : What do you think the biggest positive Musselman has brought to the men’s basketball program ?

Bringing Bud Walton Arena back to life. There’s been a lot of talk about reducing the number of seats. I’ve gone on record as saying it’s a dumb idea. The right coach can fill it up. Musselman did that Satrurday against a team that was 6-5. There are more sellouts on the way. 19,000 in the Bud is a lot better than 15,000 in the Bud. I hope Hunter Yurachek is paying attention. You can update that facility without reducing it’s capacity.

Lanny is curious: Has Clown Morris given Auburn the kiss of death? The Outback Bowl was horrendous to watch .

There is a character in the Peanuts cartoon strip called Pig Pen. He walked around with a rain cloud over his head. Chad Morris appears to be a real life version of that. I don’t think Morris had much to do with the preparation of that Bowl game but there are rumnors that he’s going to call the plays next year. If he does Gus better cross his fingers. If the offense goes south Auburn fans…who don’t need much of a reason to go after him will probably go bonkers. You hired the worse head coach in the history of Arkansas football and you put our offense in his hands? Are you nuts? So it’s going to be real interesting to see how that develops. Either Morris is going to rebuild his image of he’s taking his buddy Gus down with him.

Inhogswetrust asks: Mike, Do you have any funny or interesting Sam Pittman stories? I saw him at halftime of the Arkansas-A&M women’s basketball game in he media work room. I said to him, Everbody that’s been asking about the fact that you haven’t been a head coach are asking the wrong question. Here’s what I want to know. As a head coach are you going to come in to the press conference room after practice and take your shoes off before talking to us like you did as an assistant coach. Or are you going to big time us and leave your shoes on? He tought that was pretty funny but he didn’t answer my question. Look the real issue is, how will he change has a head coach? There will obviously be some changed but most of us are hoping he’s still be the same, approachble, down to earth guy that he was before.

RazorBiker says: Robken and the Hogwild Band were such a part of a Razorback game in Barnhill. With the new energy in our basketball program, what do you think would it take to bring something like that back.? I believe we can do more to make Bud Walton somewhat less stale.

Well there’s never going to be another Robken but lot of the energy in any arena comes from what you see on the court. But yes, some changes need to be made. More Hog calling. Less recorded music. More from the band. However the head coach will play a big role in the energy of Bud Walton moving forward. He’s a firey guy. He had the ability to get that crowd on it’s feet. I look forward to seeing it.

Beardog wants to know: Have there been talks about the A&M game being a home and home and doing a non-con in Dallas? I don’t know about talks but I don’t expect the current arrangment to continue when the contract with Jerryworld runs out. I think both schools want to play conference on their campus. A&M has that 100,000 seat stadium. A&M is the Kind of opponent that will help Arkansas fill its 76 thousand seat facility.
Makes much more sense to play some big 12 teams in Jerryworld. Baylor. TCU. Texas Tech. Maybe even Texas.

hawaiianhogster asks: Even though they prefer to fill the stadium in Little Rock for basketball, and baseball, why not televise it for the fans that are out of state ? It was sold out so where’s the harm in showing it outside the area they consider Arkansas area?

First of all if a network like ESPN decided to televise a basketball or baseball game from North Little Rock no way would they want to blackout the biggest part of the audience. That would make no sense. Streaming games that you watch on your computer, I don’t know of any way to do a blackout. Maybe it would be possible but again, some of you ae missing my point. This is one basketball and one baseball game a season. I get it that some fans want to see every game but I don’t think this is an issue with most of the fan base.

I_called_that-play_brotha makes an interesting point: Winning is good. Winning also makes profit. But it’s possible to make almost as much profit if you’re not winning and it’s less boom or bust so there’s an argument to be made that merely being competitive is fine. Do we have any idea where our Athletic Department stands on the issue?

I get your point. There is so much revenue from TV money in the SEC you’re not going to have revenue problems even if you’re in the bottom half of the SEC and the revenue from live gate attendance is not good. However, if you pay any attention to what Hunter Yurachek says and what he does you know he’s committed to competing for championships in virtually every sport. He fired Mike Anderson not because Arkansas had a losing record under Arkansas. he never had a losing season. It was because he wanted conference titles and going deep into the NCAA tournament. His goals are the same in football and obviously the baseball program is top 5 right now. So there will be no acceptance of being average.

lakecityhog asks: Would you be willing to give an evaluation of Pittman’s staff? Do you see any glaring weakness? It seems like a good mix of recruiters and teachers.

It’s a mixture of proven, experienced coaches, like the two coordinators. But you’ve got some youth too. The running backs coach has one year of college experience. Sam Pittman has clearly gone after recruiters and guys who have strong contacts in specific areas. Like East Texas. The Houston Area. Central Texas. South Louisana. The Atlanta Metro area. The St. Louis area. and then Pittman has ties in Georgia, Alabama, Florida andTennessee. The National and SEC media are giving Pittman high marks for this staff. But, as always, we’ll have to wait and see.

Lanny is back with this hoops question: Was the A&M game was closer than it should have been? The Hogs had a hard time with what is now a 6-6 team? Or are the Aggies better than we thought?

A&M got off to a really bad start. Had turnover problems. Shooting problems. But they’ve been on the upswing for about three weeks now. Eric Musselman says that Buzz Williams is one of the best coaches in the college game. Barring injuries I think they’ll pull off some upsets this season. Thankfully one of those upset won’t be in Bud Walton Arena. You have to like these Arkansas players because they keep doing what they have to do to win. It’ll get a lot tougher starting Wednesday night in Baton Rouge but you can’t argue with 12-1. Nobody predicted that.

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