PTN’S “Ask Mike Segment” September 9th

Pig Trail Nation

It’s our weekly installment of “Ask Mike” where Arkansas fans get to ask questions of our senior analyst Mike Irwin on The 44 year veteran covering the Razorbacks has great insight. Check out this week’s segment.

Below is the transcription of today’s Q&A segment:

Mike Irwin: Our first question this week …big surprise…is about the quarterbacks.

hob-hog wants to know : How long can we play two quarterbacks As the old saying goes “if you have two QBs you dont have one”. Seems to me there are more talented players behind Hicks and I see young successful QBs all over the country.

Mike Irwin: If you watched the game you had your answer. Arkansas now has one quarterback. Unless he gets hurt at some point I can’t see Chad Morris playing anybody but Nick Starkel unless the Hogs have a big lead I’m not sure that’s gonna happen this season.


holman24 asks: If we lose at ole miss and the qb isn’t doing well with the pressure will cm start looking at starting a more mobile qb?

Mike Irwin: Nick Starkel is not a mobile quarterback and as we saw he moved the chains against Ole Miss. John Stephen Jones or K.J. Jefferson…they’re is not the answer right now. Maybe in two years.


247hog wants to know: Is Joe Craddock in over his head? If so, why hasn’t Morris taken over the play calling?

Mike Irwin: Man that’s a good question. It sure looks like it. And what was up with that Wild Hog stuff? Not only did it not work but they kept trying to run it. If Morris hasn’t taken over the play calling maybe after Saturday he will.


oldbooniehog asks: When will the football Hogs win an SEC game?

Mike Irwin: If Nick Starkel was still the backup quarterback I’d say, NOT THIS YEAR. With Starkel directing the offense maybe there’s a chance.


Therealluke wants to know: Should We Hire Mike Leach Next Season?

Mike Irwin: Man you are asking the wrong guy that question. I’m biased and completely non objective when it come to Mike Leach. I’d hire the guy just to have him in press conferences. As far as coaching…. he’s the real do more with less guy. Patrick Mahomes…. who is probably the best quarterback in the NFL….. was an air raid offense guy in college and Leach popularized the air raid. OU runs it right now. Lincoln Riley coached under Leach. The sad thing is Arkansas had a chance to get Leach two years ago. They didn’t even bother to talk to him. What goobers. Should Arkansas hire him next year? If things don’t change for this team sure, they should. But they probably won’t.


Lanny asks: What changes would help this football team the most?

Then he proceeds to answer his own question and here are HIS answers, not mine.

1. Dump the wild hog, That formation never worked. The center snap is too slow, throws off the timing

2. Play calling is too simple, mix more play action. Find a decent back up for Boyd.

3. Stick with Starkel at QB

4. Defense has to get pressure on QB up front

5. OL is weak, look for new line coach

6. Dump Craddock

Again… the show is ask Mike not Ask Lanny…. but I don’t have a problem with somebody else stepping in with their own answers from time to time.


Piglet wants to know: Now that the Ole Miss game is over, when is the next best chance to win a conference game this year?

Mike Irwin: Well football’s a crazy game, you never know…. it could end up being some team you wouldn’t think. Like A&M. But more likely if they get an SEC win, Mississippi State or Kentucky. Maybe Mizzouri if they’re banged up at he end of the year.


Kevin asks: after the game last night. my dad & I came to the conclusion that we have no idea, how the razorbacks are going to get out of this. this program needed a no nonsense coach, to clean out the program not an “i am just a high school coach”, mike, what is your opinion?

Mike Irwin: Kevin I answered this question for a guy last week. If Chad Morris and his staff can’t do it somebody else will. I do think IF a change has to be made AT SOME POINT….Hunter Yurachek will make the right hire. The man has a football background. His boys are football players. He knows the game. I liked the process he used to get Eric Musselman. In that situation…if it happens…I would expect him to go after a longtime proven head coach. Did I mention Mike Leach? But seriously, we’re not at that point yet.


jbcarol wants to know: Mike, will Arkansas choose to run a vanilla offense against Colorado State to not show too much to future SEC competition and protect the quarterbacks?

Mike Irwin: I sense sarcasm there but it’s a really good question. First of all hopefully we’re talking quarterback not quarterbacks. Plain vanilla looks pretty good to me after watching a lot of the fancy stuff blow up against Ole Miss. With Nick Starkel I don’t think they need fancy. Look at what worked in the second half and do that.


my3boneheads says: Hi Mike.I believe our D is headed in the right direction. what adjustments if any are available to stop teams up the middle for long yardage? I’m afraid if we load up the box our weakness in the secondary will be exposed even greater. Should we rely more on screen passes to aid Starkle or Hicks?

Mike Irwin: Hi my three boneheads. The only big issue I see with the defense right now is an offense that doesn’t move the football. The same thing we saw last year. Those guys got tired. They’re on the field too much. Maybe with Nick Starkel that problem will be reduced. I also think there’s a psycological issue going on. When you don’t think the offense can score points I think it’s real easy to get frustrated as a player and start letting go of the rope on defense. the second part of your question…. against some teams screen passes will probably work. Satruday night pretty much everything on the corners was blown up, Starkel is a stretch the field guy. When you’re making as many technical mistakes as these guys are the best way to get downfield is with chunk plays. Fewer plays, fewer penalties. Also a downfield passing game is the best way to open up the running game.


sowmonella asks: do you feel we got way too cute with our play calling in Oxford? Will the peasants take to the streets if Nick Starkel doesn’t start game three?

Mike Irwin: Absolutely. It was almost like Morris was trying to show everybody how much better the offense will look if they jumped from a base offense to an expanded playbook. Clearly….as you put it…. they got too cute. Or expanded the playbook too much in one week. Maybe down the road some of that stuff will work but now now. Will the peasants take to the streets if Starkel doesn’t start? Well he will so there won’t be any farmers with pitchforks marching on the castle just yet.


hogeyeblind observes: Mike our snaps are slow and hang in the air like a pooch punt. Timing is off on every play. Should Morris consider going under center?

Mike Irwin: This issue doesn’t get talked about enough. Everybody is all over the “Morris needs a run/pass quarterback to run his offense” stuff. How do you run a power spead offense out of a shotgum formation when don’t have an experienced snapper at center? Now look, at least the ball is getting back there this season. That’s progress but you’re right about the timing being off. I think it was an issue with the Wild Hog disaster. y Ty Clarey is the best they have right now….. so outside of changing the offense and taking snaps from under center…which I don’t think will happen….to me the only answer is for Clary to continue to get better at shotgun snapping and he is improving.


Sivad asks: How much good will did Chad Morris lose on the field in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium Saturday night?

Mike Irwin: A lot. A large part of the fan base appears to be on his case. People who were patient in the offseason. I don’t expect Morris or his staff to like it but this is not a bad thing. Bad is when fans get so frustrated that they don’t care anymore. the first sign of that is when people start making jokes about how bad the team is. There’s been little bit of that but mostly what I’m seeing and hearing is anger. The second sign is apathy. I run into some fans who say they don’t care anymore. You read some of it on social media but not a lot. Personally I hope the fans stay mad. Put the heat on. Demand better. Let the AD know how you feel. That’s exactly what happens all around the SEC whenever fans decide that things are unaccaptable. So again, it’s not a bad thing when a program is down like this one is.

That’s our Q & A for this week. Here’s hoping for better things next week.

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