LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Arkansas Athletic Director Jeff Long was all smiles during a Monday appearance at the Little Rock Touchdown Club.
It’s fair to say he wasn’t quite as excited as he was in a Saturday night clip that circulated on Twitter. It showed Long embracing wide receiver Keon Hatcher moments after the Arkansas football team defeated TCU.
“I get excited for the young men in the program. I get to see how hard they work and how they overcome injuries,” Long said of his excitement in Fort Worth.
Long noted Hatcher recovered from a major injury and was able to make an impact in a key victory for the program. For Long, success stories that like are what make him emotional.
“I love what our kids do. I love what the young men in our program do and I get excited when they achieve,” added Long.
Long is hopeful that achievement allows Arkansas to inch up the top 25 rankings and be a conversation when the College Football Playoff Selection Committee begins meeting a few weeks from now. Long is a member of the committee and a former chairman.
“There’s no greater sense of pride than when I’m asked to leave the room in the committee meetings when we talk about Arkansas,” said Long. “We (Arkansas) have a long way to go.”
Long says he’ll spend the next few days catching up on games and reviewing tape in preparation for those initial committee meetings.
“Every week is a playoff game. Every game impacts that 4-team playoff at the end,” noted Long. “I’m looking forward to watching the teams and studying more over the next 7 weeks.”
When it comes to the future of Arkansas football in Little Rock, Long said the conversation will likely happen in the next year. He also said the program is working on replacing the canceled series with Michigan.
As for Long’s future, he’s pretty happy where he is…
“There are many, many reasons to stay at Arkansas for a long, long time,” he added. “The last guy who had my job was here 50 years!”