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The Morning After: This Loss will sting for a Long Time

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Arkansas' fans left Reynolds Razorback Stadium on Saturday evening still not sure they had witnessed the home team lose to North Texas 44-17.

One way of showing their displeasure on Saturday was loud boos at end of first half and when Cole Kelley threw his fourth interception of the day. The loudest cheer of the day may have been when Connor Noland entered the game. 

Following the game, Chad Morris talked to the media. A trio of players were also brought into the media room. Santos Ramirez, Jared Cornelius and Hjalte Froholdt were the three players made available. Each expressed some form of disappointment with the boos from the fans. 

I will point out the boos were directed at Morris for playing Kelley as much or more than they were at the sophomore quarterback himself. I am not into booing. I have never been to a game to watch a team play and booed. 

Fans are frustrated right now and while Morris will get a lot of criticism one has to understand it's more than three games that has fans upset. Fans are upset because Arkansas is now entering his seventh year in a row of watching the Razorbacks struggling on the field.

One could argue that 2015 was an exception when the team finished 8-5. But even that year Arkansas lost to Toledo in Little Rock and then got beat by Texas Tech the following week in Fayetteville. So even when some success was experienced on the field it was almost like some suffering was still in the process.

The Razorbacks finished 11-2 in 2011 and since then they are 34-44 including 1-2 this season. They have won 13 SEC games the past six seasons. There's a strong chance they will be the underdog in all eight SEC games this year. 

That is why fans are so upset. Is that fair to Morris? Of course not, but not much in this world is fair. As the cost of going to games continues to rise the product on the field isn't keeping up with the times.

Once again, that isn't Morris' fault, but he will get a lot of criticism because he is the head coach now. He has coached three games at Arkansas and if anyone even casually observes they should realize he is going to need time to get his players in here. That is true of any coach. That doesn't make watching losing by 27 points to a team Morris beat twice at SMU any more fun, but just an example of how far Arkansas has fallen in terms of the SEC since 2011. 

There's only one way for Morris and his staff to stop this cycle of bad football and that is recruit well. That is something that this staff does with more aggression and determination than any I have ever seen at Arkansas. 

The Razorbacks have 19 commitments and the challenge for Morris and his assistants is to keep those kids committed and add some more prospects to the list. 

It's a challenge, but there's no shortcut for Morris to get his type players in here. There's so many needs it will be impossible to address them all even in one class.

Arkansas needs quarterbacks who fit this style of offense. They need more playmakers on offense. Guys who are a threat to score each time they touch the football. It is important the wide receivers they bring in can get separation on routes. The offensive line numbers have to be more and more. Arkansas needs a playmaker at tight end. 

On defense, Arkansas has played three games and has no interceptions. The defense needs a lot of help like the offense. The Hogs have done a good job of addressing the defensive line in the Class of 2019.

Fans don't want to hear about the future, they want the present to be better than it is. That is understandable, but it took six years for the football program to get in this shape and it will take some time and patience to get it out of this hole. 

 

 

 


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