Q. Inhogswetrust on Hogville asks: Dudley. Hey neighbor. What are you hearing about the scuffle at the end of the SDSU game?
A:. I think there is plenty of culpability to go around. I’ve been to Maui numerous time to cover the tournament and I don’t ever remember anything coming close to this. In talking to people who were there, it’s clear that San Diego State fans have a clear dislike for Coach Musselman and were riding him and his players pretty hard during the game. But Muss has apologized so he or those above him realize that his actions escalated things. I bet there is a lot more security hired for next season’s event.
Q. Slobberslob on Hogville asks: Any idea when Nick Smith will be on the court? I understand it’s precautionary and nobody wants him hurt but, I’d sure like to see how good these guys are at full strength.
A: In talking to some sources around the program and just listening to Coach Muss, it appears that Smith’s arrival on the court is imminent. I know fans would love to see him play, but there has been no reason to rush him back. Young man is special and set to be a lottery pick and have a long NBA career and Arkansas needs him as his best to make a run at winning it all.
Q. Hogdogger on Hogville asks: Hey Dudley – So I know we likely need to add some new talented oline players and quarterbacks. Any word on Walker White? Or any potential recruits out there that aren’t on the radar yet?
A: Walker White is Little Rock Christian’s talented junior quarterback so he wouldn’t help until 2024 at the earliest. His family has a legacy here with his grandpa, dad and brothers all being Razorbacks in various sports. He has offers from Arkansas, Ole Miss and most recently Alabama among numerous others. Absolute stud. It will likely be hard for him to say no to the family school, but you’ll not be getting a guarantee from me.
Monday was national jump in the portal day. Additions will come more clearer after today although Arkansas is one of 17 teams that has already offered Texas A&M-Commerce wide receiver Andrew Armstrong (6-6, 189).
Q. HogHillbilly on Hogville asks: Every team we’ve played this season has had a player that sets some kind of personal or team record against us. Rocket doesn’t get the SEC rushing honor with only 10 carries, and KJ was sacked 7 times. My question, how in the world is the Offensive Line getting worse ? That’s Pittmans expertise right ? I’ve never seen it this bad. This loss was on them. This back and forth of having a great game and then not showing up the next week is getting frustrating. Did Pittman reach his ceiling last year ? Should we just accept that we’re a basketball school ?
A: There is no doubt that the Arkansas offensive line took steps back literally and figuratively the last part of the season. While the Razorbacks’ O-line was loaded with experience, I think is is actuate to say that they did not have the athleticism and quickness that some of the young offensive linemen on campus do or that some opponents did on the defensive line. It’s trade off.
I have to believe there will be some changes in what they are doing up front. It just seems like records are being broken each week because you are passionate about the team. But analytically, the numbers on both offense and defense were not that different, just the number of close wins and losses.
I don’t think Coach Pittman has reached his ceiling. But really far too earlier to state anything definitely. Arkansas is an all-round sports program, not just a single sport school.
Q. BloodRedHog on Hogville asks: Is Sam Pittman our Mike Anderson of football? He came in and righted the ship, but never could get us to the Promised Land.
A. I’m guessing this is supposed to be a negative assessment even though Mike Anderson had never had a losing season, won a national championship as a player and an assistant coach, just not as head coach with one Elite Eight and a Sweet 16. Only two non-track coaches have ever gotten Arkansas to the promise land, aka, a national title. Honestly to me, it’s too early to tell Coach Pittman’s trajectory.
Q. Hotdogger asks on Hogville: What is it? Musselman is able to recruit top notch 4 and 5 star players. But the football program can’t seem to find a way to get those kind of quality players. Why is there such a big gap between the basketball and football programs and transfer portal recruiting. Maybe muss needs to school pitman with the secret recipe.
A: Coach Musselman and his staff have done a great job at landing talent in and out of state and out of the transfer. They are to be commended for that, but I think his NBA past, the unexpected run to the Elite Eight in 2021 and his success with recruiting transfers before he arrived here are key.
It is much easier to transform a 13-man basketball roster than it is an 85-man football one. Not meant to be an excuse. It’s simply numbers. No Arkansas football coach has ever had a Top 10 class since the modern recruiting services came into being in 2000. One was 14th. Most have been 20th to 30th and 9th or above in the SEC. It is what it is.
Q. NashWPS18 on Hogville asks: Rocket..10 carries?!??!!
A. No way that should have happened even if they were getting whipped up front. Find ways to get him touches. Period. End of story.
Q. RazorAlex88 on Hogville asks: WHY must we be CURSED on Faurot Field?? It’s like our team have a crapping the bed curse placed on us every time they step foot on that hideous stadium! It’s pretty much every time we play there I end up very infuriated. I should just never watch a game that takes place in Columbia again. That might do wonders for my blood pressure.
A. It’s no curse. Fans may not want to hear it, but Missouri has been the better team most of the time in the matchups in this so-called rivalry. Missouri views it as an important win while Arkansas and its fans seem to view it as a nuisance and worry more about it being called rivalry than winning it.
Q. slim72315 on Hogville asks: Will Pittman make staff changes or will next year just be more of the same? And If you were in Sam’s shoes what changes would you make?
A. I believe I am correct in saying that six assistants have been fired or pushed out the door since Coach Pittman arrived. So he is not hesitant to make changes. He let go of the strength and conditioning coach immediately. They’ll be more changes. It’s just how the business of college football works. I trust him to know far more than me – or the fans for matter – on who is truly doing their job, who isn’t and who needs to go.
Q. CowHog32 on Hogville asks: Why was Walker “fired” as opposed to just moving on?
A. The fact that Walker was fired in less than 24 hours after the loss tells me a couple of things. The first is that it was a combination of on field and off the field factors and both an appeasement and statement to the fans that no one is happy at 6-6.
He won’t be the last, but it was something that Coach Pittman felt needed to be done and done quickly.
Q. Marty Byrde’s proxy on Hogville asks: Regarding the transfer portal. When can schools start reaching out to players? Can there be any contact between players and a school other than their current one, if initiated by the player, before the portal officially “opens” ?
A. Schools are supposed to wait until the player puts his name in the portal to actually make contact with them, but more schools than not make inquiries with family, high school coaches, uncles, etc. It’s truly the Wild, Wild West in that regard.
Q. Dr. Starcs ask: An earlier post mentioned the potential exodus of players is due to their disliking of the way disciplinary issues were handled. Any truth to this?
A. Players who don’t want to be here to leave and get out. I can count on one hand the numbers of players in my 41 years of being inside and around the program who have been treated unfairly when it comes to disciplinary issues. Don’t put yourself in bad situations and you won’t have a chance to get disciplined. There where be exits here and every other college football program.
Q. Kevin on Hogville asks: Dudley, devo sits the whole second half on the SDSU game, at the end of the bench. During Muss PC for Troy, not one question about why did devo not play. Why not?
A. No Arkansas media was in Hawaii. No word as of this taping.
Q. Pigsfeat on Hogville asks: How can “fans” run on the court after our team/coaches and there not be arrests? That sets a bad precedent!
A. I’m of the mind that fans should never be on the field, the court, the diamond or the pitch unless they are invited. I don’t think there were invitations sent out in Hawaii, but it could have been handled better all around.
Q. Razorboo on Hogville asks: I, like every Hog fan is disappointed in 6-6 but the defense was in shambles with injuries and suspensions all fall and the offense line regressed. What do we do to turn this into a 9-3 or 10-2 season next year?
A: My first thought would be to pray hard and pray a lot. You have got to hit on some big-time help in the portal at every position – except tight end where the Razorbacks are bringing in three four-star prospects that are all considered some of the nation’s best. Upgrades needed from 1-22, but even more from 23-85 to have quality depth when injuries do happen. Arkansas is definitely not there yet.
Q. Heardo on Hogville asks: What football coach inherited the worst situation from the previous coach over the last 25 years?
A. The easiest answer is Joe Kines, who took over as interim coach for Jack Crowe after the infamous loss to the Citadel in 1992. One could also offer up Houston Nutt, who took over in 1998 after a pair of 4-7 years. But the so-called winner for me would have to be Sam Pittman, who was brought in the clean up the mess after back-to-back 2-10 seasons and then had to deal with no off-campus recruiting due to Covid