PTN’s “Ask Mike” Segment – February 10th

Pig Trail Nation

Our first question comes from BloodRedHog who observes: It seems the only years we’ve had a hugely successful football season are times when we’ve had an abundance of in-state talent. Is a large number of in-state talent basically a requirement for having an exceptional season?

That always helps. The best team in the last eight years…the 2011 Hogs…. was largely built on a quarterback from Arkansas and several receivers from the state. TSeveral of Houston Nutt’s better teams were stacked with Arkansas kids. Danny Ford’s ’95 Hogs had guys like Barry Lunney and Madre Hill from Arkansas. But recruiting has changed. Lately the number of SEC quality kids in Arkansas has been down. Only four were signed by Sam Pittman’s first staff but added a number of preferred walkons from the state. I think Pittman will be capable of having really good teams without an overload of Arkansas kids but this thing cycles. We’ll have other big classes from this state down the road. It’s still important.

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JHicks3636 asks: Can you assign a grade to Pittman’s first recruiting class in view of the limited time he had to put it together?

I’d give him an A and it’s not just me. The analysts on the SEC Newtork said he did the best job of any of the new coaches. But it’s important to note that Pittman said it wasn’t good enough and it will be a lot better in the future,

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I_Called_That_Play_Brotha says: CSP has decades of position coach experience among the NCAA Big Boys. Is that really more practically applicable to making quality in-game decisions than being a 2-3 year Head Coach at a place like Upper Iowa? Or, is that sort of expertise not why we hired CSP to begin with?

Good question. In some cases I’d say yes. Being on the sidelines at Tennessee, Arkansas & Georgia in big time SEC games has exposed Pittman to the kind of the pressure you don’t get as the head coach at a small school. But the bottom line is, we can speculate and speculate but until Pittman is on those sidelines…making decisions that a head coach makes… we’re not gonna know.

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Swine American wants to know: As someone who loved the atmosphere of Barnhill, are you aware of any discussion regarding playing Razorback women’s home games there? The last time I went to a lady’s game at Bud Walton, there were about 2000 people there and it was as if I was at a Polka festival at the Hollywood Bowl.

It’s interesting that we get this question which is vaild but it comes right after the biggest crowd at a women’s game since 2011. There were almost 6,000 at the Kentucky game on Sunday.

I look, I get where you’re coming from. 2,000 in Barnhill has more of an impact on the game atmosphere than 2,000 in Bud Walton but the bottom line is, the players don’t want to play there. The head coach doesn’t want it and recruits would not be impressed. This is a top 25 program that is probably headed to the top 10 in a year or two so the crowds will get bigger.

PorkSoda asks: As you interact with people in and around the football program, have you noticed any changes in the general atmosphere, as opposed to previous coaches? Are people more upbeat/engaged, or is it just business as usual?

We haven’t been around this staff much because of recruiting. But the day after signing day Pittman put all of his assistants in front of the media and they were a big hit. From Kendall Briles who… when asked if he might have most of his offense installed by the first game…. looked like, what? Then said he hoped to have most of it installed early on in spring football. Then there was Brad Davis… the O line coach…. who…when asked about Arkansas’ offensive line issues of the past several years said, “I came here to kick butt.” And Barry Odom… the defensive coordinator…. who when asked about new Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz’ complaint that Arkansas went around offering kids that Missouri offered…. said… “I don’t worry about what other coaches think about our recruiting. I worry about what I think.” There was an overwhelmingly positive response by the fans to this staff. Compare that to Chad Morris who kept most of his coaches away from the media and therefore the fans. If you have assistant coaches that know how to express themselves, you don’t hide them.

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Iwastherein1969 wants to know: Backin the days of a certain coach who was fired by the now KU athletic director and we were actually winning important games, did the Arkansas sports writers in the press box openly root for the Hogs ?

No. cheering is not allowed in any SEC press box I’ve been in. It’s considered unprofessional and it will get you kicked out. Occasionally boosters have wandered into the press box at Arkansas and started cheering. They’ve been quickly escorted back to wherever it was that they came from.

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Sivad asks: How much is Auburn paying (how much is our buyout reduced) the recently dismissed Chad Morris?

As far as I know Morris’ exact salary has not been released. In checking most seem to think he will be paid under a million dollars a year. Considering that Auburn’s defensive coordinator is getting $2.5 million I don’t think that’s gonna fly with Arkansas. Morris payout is around that …2.5 million a year for five years. So my guess is Arkansas will contest anything under a milllion and a half and will likely claim that a million and a half should come off of his$2.5 million annual buyout total but we’ll see.

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The_Bionic_Pig wants to know: Which coaches dismissal would benefit the Hogs recruiting the most in Texas?

$5 Million a year Tom Herman is 25-15 at Texas

$7 Million a year Jimbo Fisher is 23-18 vs. Power 5 opponents in the last 4yrs.

No question it’s Fisher. If the Aggies end up firing him at some point…and considering his huge salary he’s been a dissappointment….where would they go next? Chaos in College Station would help Arkansas big time. But hey, if Texas fires Pee Wee Herman that would be great too,

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CowHog32 wants to know: Your thoughts on the XFL? If it doesn’t crash and burn right away, do you see the XFL as an option for kids that don’t qualify for D1 schools instead of them going the Juco route?

Watched a game Saturday night. 20,000 people. Good for a high school game. Not enough for something like this. Look the average fan is footballed out by this time of year. There’s not enough fanatics out the to sustain a sizable TV audience. So IMO it will not last. But as far as kids bypassing JUCOs to go straight to the XFL, I don’t see it. There is a physicality needed in football at even a sub NFL level that’s not there with 18 year old kids.

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A_R_K_A_N_S_A_S asks: Some Hogville members that have gone to practices say that it appears the fence in the right field corner has been moved in. Home team dugout is now on the 1st base side, will fans that had tickets for years over the 3rd base dugout be moved to the 1st base side?

It’s the foul pole that’s been moved in a few feet to accomodate the footing for the new building. That’s temporary. It will be back to normal in 2021. Here’s the interesting part. I’m now told that Arkansas will remain in the 3rd base dugout this season and next season. In 2022… if they move… a determination will be made if the athletic department wants allow fans to switch their seats. But based on what I’ve been told it sounds like that whole tunnel thing from the new performance center to the 1st base dugout up is in the air. Look, the football team and the basketball team have locker-rooms in their performance centers and seperate game day locker-rooms. It looks like to me that’s what may happen with baseball. Keep their current locker-room…. which is connected to the dougout by a tunnel…. for games.

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Orlando Hogwants to know: Where do you see the WBB team ranked in the NCAA Tourney and do you think they have the team to make a Cinderella run? They have been strong all year but the bad lose to #1 South Carolina could hurt the seeding.

The two South Carolina losses will be cancelled out by Sunday’s blowout win over number 15 Kentucky. Arkansas was a projected 10 seed before that game. I take a stab and say they’ll end up an eight seed maybe a seven. I don’t see a cinderella run in the tournament. Too many elite level teams out there.

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PorkSoda is back: What QB’s will be here in the spring, and do you think we will have a #1 by the end of Spring Practice? Who is your pick to start the first game? Also Boyd is going to be our #1 RB, but with Whaley graduating, who do you think will be #2?

Feleipe Franks, the grad transfer from Florida…. joins Jack Lindsey, John Stephen Jones and KJ Jefferson. You don’t bring in a grad transfer to sit the bench. I expect Franks to be the man very quickly. He’s got a stronger arm than Nick Starkel. He’s a better runner than any of the current quarterbacks. He’s 6-6. weighs about 230. A physical runner with good quickness. He will start this fall. At running backkeep an eye on incoming freshman Dominique Johnson. He’s a power runner with 4.5. speed. Averaged 10 yards a carry in high school. However Chase Hayden and TJ Hammonds will both be in the mix along with Trelon Smith, a redshirt junior that transferred from Arizona St. and sat out last year.

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IAMHog…holio asks: How’s the mood around the basketball team? Will they be able to weather this storm of adversity or has the year beaten them down too much?

Not looking good right now at two games below .500 in SEC play. Isaiah Joe’s surgery…he’s out for at least two more weeks…Jimmy Whitt’s bad back and the number of minutes Mason Jones has been logging are all issues moving forward.The shear number of fouls called played into Missouri hands..They shot 44 free throws and made 34. That’s 77%. Four Razorbacks fouled out. Three of them starters.That did it right there.

That’s it for another week. I’m be back next Monday with more of Ask Mike.

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