The struggles continue for the Football Hogs as the SEC losing streak is now at 14 and things won’t get any easier with Auburn this weekend and a trip to Tuscaloosa next weekend. Mike Irwin answers your questions about the state of the Razorbacks in his weekly “Ask Mike” segment.
1. Before we get started I want to say something to all of you.
2. Each week I get several fans asking… Mike do you think Chad Morris will be gone at the end of this year if this or this or this doesn’t happen.
3. I’m not physic. I’m not tapped into Hunter Yurachek’s brain.
4. It would be highly unusual for Morris not to get a least three years to get his program going.
5. So is that it? You guys have to go through another year of this no matter what?
6. Maybe but I’m not 100% sure about that.
7. Coming up with his big buyout is an issue with all the capital improvement projects they’re paying for.
8. That’s the best answer I can give.
*Okay, the first question this week comes from Kevin who asks: How do you continue to sell this hot mess to the fans?
1. I’m glad I’m not the one who has to do it.
2. The short answer is there’s not much you can do if this team continues to lose.
3. You have a core of loyal fans who will continue to support the program because that’s what they do….. win or lose.
4. Beyond that I guess if you’re the AD you express concern. Say you’re monitoring the situation. Working with the head coach to bring about some improvement.
*St. Hogustine wants to know: How involved was Jerry Jones in the Morris hire?
1. He didn’t force it like, Hey I’m Jerry Jones. You better hire this guy.
2. But you had an interim AD who was being advised by a lot of boosters and Jerry Jones was one of them.
3. He said some very good things about Chad Morris and yes, his opinion carried weight.
*Lanny on Hogville is curious: Why does ARKANSAS hire unproven coaches and award them ridiculous buyouts
1. An inexperienced interim AD did that and it was approved by the Board of Trustees.
2. The Current AD…who did not hire Chad Morris… said right after HE was hired that he did not believe in big buyouts.
3. So we’ve probably seen the last of that.
4. If Hunter Yuracheck pulls the trigger on Chad Morris…based on how he handled the search for Eric Musselman…I’m confident that the search for a replacement would be handled much differently.
5. As in no boosters heavily involved.
*Kevin is back with this question: I am not a fan of firing assistant coaches, just seems like shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic, what are your thoughts?
1. Well it’s done all the time and sometimes it works.
2. The big problem in this situation is….you’re probably going to end up with out of work coaches who need a job as replacements.
3. Or coaches at lower level schools looking to move up.
4. A successful proven assistant at a Power 5 school probably wouldn’t walk into this situation. They’d want more security.
Okay….I need a break. Let’s step away from this heavy duty stuff for a couple of less weighty questions.
*Sivad asks:Which SEC schools treat you (visiting sports media) the best, and which treat you the worst?
1. The best I’ve been to is Georgia.
2. Those people will serve you brunch, lunch and dinner ..if you hang around long enough.
3. Plus great ice cream.
4. really nice folks.
5. I also like Ole Miss because they don’t have a lot of rules.
6. I went off without my parking pass one year and they waved me right through to the media lot.
7. LSU is the worst.
8. To me it’s called Death Valley because you’d almost rather die than go there.
9. A&M is a close second for the same reason.
10. Only I call that place Whackoville.
*Dr. Starcs says: I’d love for you to answer these hypothetical questions:
Mike, if you alone were responsible for the football hires, who are the two you would have realistically hired after Petrino and Bielema?
1. There would be only one.
2. I would have hired Mike Leach after Petrino and he’d still be here and he’d be winning.
3. But there’s a catch. Leach is all offense.
4. He wants nothing to do with defense.
5. I would have put on a search for the right defensive coordinator just like the search for a head coach. Pay the guy top dollar.
6. Also Leach needs the support of the Board….AD and Chancellor wherever he is because he’s not politically correct and most universities are eaten up with political correctness.
7. Like Texas Tech which fired him.
8. Tech’s been going downhill in football ever since.
7. So I’d hire him.
8 Hire the right defensive coordinator.
9. Keep the liberal faculty off his back
10. And all of you Hog fans would have a winner.
Okay back to the depressing stuff – Redleg says: Do you see Hunter Yurachek stipulating certain “goals” for Chad Morris to reach in 2020, and if those “goals” aren’t met, could we see a coaching change after next season?
Example: Morris’ 2020 team must win enough games to go to a bowl.
1. Well that’s logical.
2. The thinking would be…
3. In year three he has his players.
4. They’ve had time to learn his system.
5. Now lets see some real progress or your’re gone.
6. But as I said earlier…I’m not 100 % sure he’ll get year three.
*porksoda wants to know: Are there any winnable SEC games left of the schedule?
1. There could always be a crazy upset but realistically there’s one left. Mississippi State. They are struggling this season. Probably not as good as Kentucky.
*Midway642 asks: I would like your comments on the Defense. Is it the talent level of round pegs in square holes? The score does not surprise me but the rushing yards did. It will interesting to see how many of the recruits will take a cue from the young man from Carthage, Tx and open their recruiting. Any thoughts Mike?
1. I’ve addressed this before. This is the second youngest starting lineup in BCS football.
2. The starting lineup is young and most of the backups are true freshmen.
3. The starters are on the field too much
4. Makes it worse when the Offense doesn’t move the ball.
5. They can win this year with this defense.
6. The problem is the offense.
7. Specifically the QBs
8. It’s been that way since Chad Morris arrived.
9.. Until they get a QB that can make the right decisions…
10. Especially in the red zone.
11. They will continue to get beat.
*gmarv asks:Mike what is your thoughts on this years teams personality, will they be able to keep trying all year long or do they quit somewhere along the way ?
1. I’ve certainly heard that there’s some frustration with the players.
2. You always have to be aware of something like that considering the transfer portal.
3. But today Morris and John Chavis both said they’ve seen no sign of these players letting go of the rope.
Okay here’s the part of this thing where I ask me a question. A question I wish some of you would have asked.
*Mike…How do you think the quarterback situation should be handled in the second half of the season?
1. You’ve got two guys who have started and each have been up and down .
2. I’d go with Hicks against Auburn because he’s played better than Starkel the last two games.
3. But he needs to be on a short leash.
4. If Arkansas is not scoring with him at quarterback give Starkel a shot.
5. And don’t wait until the game is lost to do it.
6. The bench appears to be a motivator for these two.
7. This stuff about if you have two QBs you don’t have one…that’s great if you have one QB that is clearly superior.
8. And if one of them settles in as the starter clearly you go with that
8. But so far that not we have.
9. So deal with it.
10. Go with the hot hand.
11. Should the other two play?
12. Yes. K.J. Jefferson was the number 1 rated high school QB in Mississippi last year.
13. The number 2 guy is playing this year at Ole Miss.
14. Chad Morris is taking a conservative approach to almost everything right now.
15. Really where is that getting him?
16. He’s losing games by being cautious.
17. I’m told he was more of a “go for it guy” at SMU because if “going for it” backfired nobody cared.
18. To me he’s past the point of worring about something backfiring here.
19. Most fans I talk to would rather see him take some chances.
That’s it for another week. I’ll see you next Monday right here where YOU ask Mike.