It is time once again for our weekly “Ask Mike” segment where our veteran analyst Mike Irwin answers questions about Razorback Athletics.
Our first question this week comes from porksoda who says:
*Everyone expected players like Burks, Knox, and Boyd to play well, and for the most part I think they have. Who are some players that have stood out to you this season that may be flying under the radar?
1. IF WE’RE TALKING THE WHOLE SEASON.
2. RICKY STROMBERG.
2. A FOUR-STAR FRESHMAN GUARD.
3. BUT LATELY I’D HAVE TO SAY JOHN STEPHEN JONES.
4. AND KJ JEFFERSON.
5. THEY’VE BEEN UNDER THE RADAR
6. BECAUSE THEY DIDN’T PLAY.
7. THAT’S OVER.
8. JONES WILL START THIS WEEK.
9. AND JEFFERSON WILL PLAY EARLY
10. ACCORDING TO THE COACHES.
*AFWarrior83 ASKS: At what point can the university afford CMs buyout if the program continue going south, if that’s even possible…
1. IF HY DECIDES TO FIRE MORRIS NOW
2. HE’S GOT THE MONEY.
3. BUT WITH ALL THE DEBT THE ATHLETIC DEPARMENT HAS…
4. …WOULD IT BE SMART?
5. WELL…YOU COULD MAKE A PRETTY GOOD YES ARGUMENT TO THAT…
5a. …CONSIDERING ALL THE MONEY THAT’S BEING LOST IN POOR ATTENDENCE.
6. I DO PREDICT THAT MOVING FORWARD
7. BUYOUTS WON’T BE AN ISSUE.
8 I SEE HY OFFERING AN INCENTIVE BASED CONTRACT TO THE NEXT HEAD FOOTBALL COACH HE HIRES.
9. NOT A CONTRACT THAT REWARDS FAILURE.
*Midway642 wants to know:With a 2-10 season looming for the Razorbacks what is your opinion on how that will effect committed and future recruiting for the class of 2020?
1. It depends on who you hire.
2 if you get the right guy you’re not going to lose much
3. and you will probably gain some recruits
4. who would come in with the new coach
5. The same with players transferring out.
6. Most will wait and check out the new guy
7. and from my experience
8. Most will stay.
9. IF you hire the right guy.
*Iwastherein1969 WANTS TO KNOW: So Mike, has the University of Arkansas football team hit rock bottom yet ?
2. Can’t get much worse than what happened Saturday…
3. ..up to the point when JSJ & KJJ came into the game
4. THEY’RE YOUR QBS NOW.
5. and ACCORDING TO CHAD MORRIS.
6. THEY GOT ALL THE REPS IN SUNDAY’S PRACTICE
6. So Maybe it’s uphill from here on out.
6. I’ve said over and over that a QB problem is killing this team.
7. Most of the fans know that.
8. Apparently the players know it too
9. Because of the way Jefferson’s teammates reacted after that 4 play TD drive….
10. I’d say they think… things are looking up.
11. But still …we might have to revisit this question after the Western Kentucky game.
*Großer Kriegschwein (this guy ) asks: What historical Razorback team do you think was the best fielded since you’ve been reporting on the Hogs? What is best college team you’ve seen?
(Mine, 2010 team for the Hogs)
1. No question, the 77 Razorbacks
2. They were one Earl Campbell play away…
3. from winning a national championship.
4. That was Lou Holtz’ team.
5. But built on Frank Broyles last four recruiting classes.
6. Now…The best college team ever?
7. Any one of several undefeated Nick Saban teams
8. At Alabama.
9. Take your pick.
*pignparadise says:In the previous segment you stated,”They don’t need the head coach or their position coaches doing game plan stuff on Friday nights.” Have you read Mike Leach’s book? He has team meetings on Friday night.
1. Mike Leach is a different cat.
2. But he’s not the only coach who does that.
3. Some do. some don’t
3. Here’s my point.
4. Entire staffs of coaches hit the road
5. on selected Friday nights to recruit DURING THE SEASON.
5. So they’re not back at the team hotel.
6. Do you really think the players are sitting in their rooms, thinking…
7. Where’s my head coach?
8. Again… if this team had a winning record right now
9. This would NOT be a point of discussion
But here’s an interesting variation of this subject.
* Bullfield says: You adamantly say separating a family for over two years for a job has NO impact on the job and interestingly you say if he was winning we would not ask the question. Do you also think separating a family like this is unfair to his family and has NO impact on his family?
1. I don’t think that’s what I said.
2. On several occasions I addressed the issue of Morris not being with his players on Friday nights.
3. You’re bringing up a twist to that.
4. That Morris could be affected by being separated from his wife and son.
5. That is possible.
6. Especially if they’ve never been apart like this before.
7. But how would we know…
8. Unless we were close to him or people close to his family.
9. Morris has said nothing about this affecting him.
10. I have to believe that when he took this job
11. Morris sat down with Chandler and his mother
12. And they discussed how to handle this situation.
13 and they agreed to this split living arrangment for two years.
14. Perhaps it’s a bigger deal than they thought.
15. If Chad Morris is let go maybe he will talk about this at some point in the future.
16. Then maybe your theory will be confirmed.
*Dr. Starcs asks: Can you name specifically who is part of the “Good Ole Boy Network” and how much are they to blame for the demise of our once proud football program?
1. I knew most of them when Frank was the AD.
2. But that was a different situation.
3. They almost always supported the AD.
4. These days they tend to work toward what they want.
5. But mostly they stay in the background.
6. However…when they thought Malzahn could be hired
7. I’m told they flexed their muscles.
8. Jeff Long was gone just like that.
9. When Gus turned them down to stay at Auburn.
10 supposedly they came up with Morris.
11. This has never been proved.
11a and some I talk to continue to insist
11b that the interim AD made this hire
11c with help from at least one board member
11d and maybe a booster or two.
12. If so, I don’t know who they were.
13. Believe me I’ve tried to find out.
14. Other boosters I know, won’t tell me if they do know.
15. and they claim they don’t know.
16 which I don’t believe.
17. BUT The past is the past.
18. What really matters now is
19. Will they try to get involved if Yurachek fires Morris.
20. They weren’t dealing with a real AD the last time.
21. Now they would be.
22. I’ve been told there was some effort
23. to influence the basketball hire last spring
24 and it didn’t work.
25 Hunter Yurachek hired the coach he wanted.
26. I believe the same thing will happen with football.
27. Some will try to influence the AD.
28. Hopefully he hires his guy, not theirs.
29. If a change is made.
*Kevin wants to know: As a media member, how do you believe a word, that comes out of Coach Morris’ mouth? He seems to go beyond coachspeak, to flat out lying.
1. We’re talking about coaches
2. technically almost all coaches I’ve been around have lied at one time or another.
3. I’d call it concealing the truth
4. And sometimes it’s necessary.
5. A lot of times it’s not
6. And if… as a reporter… I can prove it, I’ll call them out.
7. But a lot of times you only know the truth
8. after they’ve been fired.
9. Has Morris lied? I can’t prove that he has.
10 But I’m pretty sure he has concealed the truth a few times.
11. For good reason? Maybe. I don’t know.
12. from my experience..
13 Morris mostly evades answering questions
14 He doesn’t want to answer
14(a) and that doesn’t make him unique.
15. How about when he was asked ?
16. Why he didn’t pull Ben Hicks sooner.
17. Against MSU?
18 Morris said Hicks’ early struggles were a result
19 of dropped passes.
20. The facts don’t exactly support that
21 But maybe Morris believes it.
22. These things are not always clear.
Okay, I’ve modified the next question slightly… to make the question a little more clear.
* adroitful asks: Why do you think it is that we saved KJ Jefferson? We’re in desperate need of a mobile QB and there (was) one on the bench. (We could have) used some of his 4 games earlier in the season to see if he had it. If (so) then forget about the redshirt.
1. An excellent “what if” question.
2. Probably 90% of the fan base is asking the same thing.
3. Chad Morris has basically said
4. That Jefferson wasn’t ready back then.
5. My point for weeks has been
6. You don’t really know until you put him in a game
7. If he’d surprised us earlier in the season
7aThe way he did last Saturday
8 There might have been an extra win two as a result.
9. And Jefferson would be a lot farther along
10. With the offense than Chad Morris says he is.
*hobhog is curious: How is Morris’ relationship with the media at this point? Seems his body language has changed, along with the general tone of his answers.
1. I haven’t picked up on that.
2. He’s not somebody that lashes out
3. or expresses frustration with certain questions.
4. I’m sure he’s stressed but to me it’s not obvious
5. That he’s changed his demenaor in press conferences.
6. As I’ve mentioned he’s evasive with certain questions
7. But that’s not unique to him.
*Piglet says:Lots of fans on Hogville are calling for firing Morris at the end of the season. But what do you think? Which will be best (or worse) for the program if he is let go after year 2 or kept for at least one more year?
1. This is where AD’s earn their paychecks
2. A fan on Twitter messaged me yesterday
3. and claimed that most fans would love to trade places
4. with HunterYurachek.
5, They might up to the point where they
6. fired Chad Morris.
7. Then what?
8. How do you work the buyout?
9. How do you convince a quality replacement
10 to take the job without offering the moon
11. which you don’t have.
12. How do you pay his buyout?
12. How do you pay his assistants?
12 Who are almost certainly going to want more money
12 Than the guys they’re replacing.
12. How would you deal with an agent
13. Like Jimmy Sexton who often eats ADs for lunch
14 when it comes time to negotiate.
15 all of this while the fans are going, what’s the holdup?
16. Give us our new outstanding head coach.
17 who will turn out program around.
17. And what if you hire the wrong guy?
18 and a couple of years later your name is mud.
19 and everybody hates you?
20. Yeah, you’d trade places with Yurachek.
21 Sure you would.
22. If you didn’t have a lick of sense.
23. What would I do?
24 I’d probably make a change, now.
25 and get ready to deal with agents
26 and players hitting the transfer portal
27. And more recruits decommitting
28 while hoping I could get a coach
29 who could keep those committments
30 and pull current players out of the portal.
31. I then would sit back and cross my fingers
32. And hope I didn’t just make a big mistake.
That’s it for this week.
I’ll be back next Monday for another edition of ASK Mike.