Are The Hogs Healthy For Cincy? The Best Arkansas FB Team Ever & What Happened to Fan Day?

on 2022-08-29 19:44 PM

Q. Our first question is from Lanny who asks: What are the top issues to be concerned about heading into week one? I know camp has been going great but there are always problems to consider with most teams going into the first game. Even Alabama.

A. The offensive line is a little beat up. I don’t think any of the starters are going to miss the Cincinnati game but Brady Latham did miss most of last week. We should know more about that later in this week. The same thing is true with Jaden Haselwood at slot receiver. Watch our Pig Trail Nation reports. We’ll keep you updated.

Also I’m anxious to see how Trey Knox performs at tight end. There’s not a lot of proven depth there. There’s a lot of pressure on him to be the man at tight end.

Q. Hal Tanner wants to know: What player has been the biggest surprise so far? Whoever it is, can he keep it up? Can he do it in a real game?

A. There have been several but if I’m naming just one it would have to be Warren Thompson. Coach Pittman keeps mentioning him and how much he’s stepped up from last spring. Honestly he should be their top receiver as a senior with a year already in the system after transferring from Florida State. But he was inconsistent last season and didn’t do much at all in the spring.

That room is loaded. There could be as many as five players who get significant reps but right now Thompson is the man in that room

Q: Arkie redneck says: I really like Dominique Johnson. I’m glad he’s finally back at practice. But you and Alyssa said on TV last week that you didn’t think he’d play against Cincinnati. You still sticking by that?

A. Sam Pittman said last Thursday that Johnson had not experienced any swelling in his knee as a result of his first three workouts. However he said he wanted to scrimmage Johnson against the scout team on Monday because he needs to have some physical contact before he plays in a game. If he does that and there’s still no swelling, then there’s a chance he could play. We’ll keep you updated on that too.

However, I still think they will let him rest another week if he’s not needed in the Cincinnati game. So it will depend on how Rocket plays and A.J. Green behind him and, of course, if Johnson is cleared physically to play.

Q. Space Hog asks: If OC Kendal Briles leaves at the end of this year and Illinois has a really good year with new OC Barry Lunney, Jr. what are the chances Coach Pittman brings back Lunney to be the new OC? Also, I didn’t watch any UTSA games last year, is Lunney’s scheme similar to the scheme Briles runs?

A. Lunney’s offense at UTSA was more wide open with more tempo than we see here under Briles. However what I saw from him in the Illinois-Wyoming game was more Bret Bielema’s style which is Sam Pittman’s style. A good mix of running and passing but with a run first philosophy.

However I don’t see Lunney Jr. coming back here in any capacity but head coach. He’s using the Ilinois job to get himself a head coaching job. That’s the only way he’ll get the Arkansas job when Pittman retires.

Lunney needs to be a proven head coach by then.

The word most of us in the media have been hearing is that when Briles eventually leaves Dowell Loggains is his likely replacement. Loggains is working closely with Briles learning the in’s and out’s of his offense.

Q. Hogdogger says: I see we play a and m again in Dallas this year. Who makes these dumb decisions and when will a and m have to play the hogs again in Fayetteville?

A. That decision was made by Jeff Long during the Petrino era. From 2009-2011 it was a non conference game played in Jerry World which helped recruiting in Texas.

When the Aggies joined the SEC in 2012 the two schools each played a home and home but after that they signed a 10 year contract to go back to Jerryworld through 2024.

However when the Aggies expanded their stadium to over 100,000 they served notice that they would like to end the contract with Jerryworld early. They could make more money that way.

Arkansas did not publicly comment on breaking the contract.

The COVID year was a home game for the Aggies and because of various restrictions by the SEC it was determined that the game should not be played off campus. However, the following season Arkansas decided to continue the Jerryworld arrangement through the end of the contact. Why break a contract with one of your biggest and most influential donors?

So it will stay that way until 2025 when it will very likely become home and home again.

The issue is, will Arkansas continue to play a non conference game there once they go back to home and home with the Aggies? At this point nobody knows.

Q. hobhog asks: Why no fan day this year? Was it unique to UA and just not well attended in past? Seems like good experience for young fans and haven’t seen an explanation.

A. They didn’t do fan day in 2020 because of COVID. They also skipped it last season. I was told that the athletic department was mulling over some possible changes to fan day. Some schools have started making their fan day part of an NIL arrangement. Fans pay money to go to fan day. In return for that they get photos taken with their favorite players along with their autographs.

It has not been confirmed but I was told that the athletic department thinks that this is a good use of NIL and is seriously considering making a change to reflect that.

Q. teamOTIS says: The Ryan Mallet documentary you guys made was awesome! Are you guys making anymore in the future and do you have any memories of Ryan from his time at Arkansas?

A. Alyssa and Will Moclair put that together. I agree. They did a great job on it and I’m pretty sure we’ll see more programs like that, featuring ex Razorbacks, in the future.

My favorite on the field memory of Mallet is from the 2010 season. He threw a bomb to Colbi Hamilton on the last play of the first half in Little Rock against LSU. Arkansas beat LSU, finished second in the West behind National Champion Auburn and went to the Sugar Bowl.

Off the field it was the day he told a reporter to stuff it after she starting kidding around with him about Florida beating Arkansas 23-20 in 2009 at Gainesville. That game is widely regarded by Hog fans as one of the worst screw jobs ever by SEC refs. Mallet was in no mood to take shade off of her. Especially since she went by the name of Gator Girl on the radio in NW Arkansas. Crazy stuff.

Q. Bloodredhog has what he thinks would be a good solution to the lack of a large centralized tailgating area like the Grove next to Razorback Stadium.

He says: Why don’t they remove the concrete in Lot 44 and replace it with nice grass? Block off Maple St and have one large open tailgating area from Lot 43 down to the stadium.

Q. However Alex4Hogs88 thinks that would be a bad idea.
He says: Absolutely not! As someone who works on the UA campus parking is atrocious and so few parking lots where faculty/staff/vendors (yellow) can park. Taking away such a parking lot would be very very bad and make the already terrible parking situation on campus even worse.

Q. But another fan on Hogville has an answer for that. Fact Checker says: Dig into Lot 44 and build a multi level underground parking garage with a grass top. It’d be similar to Meadow Street parking garage but underground. Have the top level be a park during normal operating hours but a tent/tailgate spot on gamedays.

A. Wow. A first for Ask Mike. A fan offers a solution to the tailgating issue discussed last week. Another fan hates that solution but a third fan has a solution to the second fan’s complaint.

I like that.

Actually Factchecker has the perfect solution even though it would be really expensive. I would add to his solution and cost the U of A even more money. Build the underground parking with a park-like area on top and extend it OVER Maple street. That way you don’t have to block off Maple street and you’ve got a continuous tailgating area all the way down the hill on the north side of Maple to the Broyles Center.

Put trees and statues of former Razorback players and coaches all over that area. On non game days it would be a wonderful tourist attraction for Razorback fans visiting the campus on vacations or business trips.

Q. bakerman wants to know: Why hasn’t the facade on the west side of DWRRS been renovated? Did the proximity of Razorback Road prevent them from renovating when it was completed back in 2001? The steel is such an eye sore and resembles an erector set.

A. The simple answer is, the renovations have generally been limited to those things that bring in added revenue. Dressing up the west side would be nice but it does not add revenue.

I still think it needs to happen and no, the street would not limit the ability to put a brick facade on the West exterior to cover up the open steel frame construction.

Here’s an idea. Do what we talked about for the north endzone lot. Take the hill out across the street from the west side of the stadium. Make a parking lot at street level and build a tailgating area over it with trees and statues. You could walk across Razorback Road via a bridge and enter the stadium without having to deal with traffic.

Q. plumbhog says: Arkansas appears to have the best group of coaches plus Athletic Director we’ve had in years or maybe ever. I don’t think Pittman or Van Horn could ever be lured away but how solid are Musselman and Yurachek? Would they leave us for more money or maybe a school they just liked better?

A. I’m not sure if either one of them has been asked that question but a lot of fans ask me. My answer is, who knows? Both seem to really love it here but only they know if there’s a dream job out there that they would take if offered. My guess is they would never mention it if it existed.

So we just wait and see.

Q. Dr. Strangepork asks: With the new, well deserved contract for Coach Deifel how difficult is it for Hunter to juggle paying for a quality non-revenue earning sport coach versus a revenue earning one? If every sport wins – obviously not every coach can be taken cared of.

A. Actually they can be taken care of IF your goal is to have the best overall athletic department in the SEC. Hunter Yurachek is all about that and those who have complained on Ask Mike about how the athletic department is all about money these days, that’s why. Winning costs money. Football, basketball and baseball will make you money. The other sports cost you money. I’m guessing here because I haven’t seen a poll on this, but I suspect that most fans would would still be in favor of paying more to keep a top coach like Deifel in a non-revenue sport. So keep that in mind he next time you get mad about the cost of baseball tickets, or fewer free parking places. Stuff like that.

Q. myriad_rocker says: I toured the baseball facility on Saturday and it’s an incredible thing to see. I noticed that Coach Hobbs had a huge framed print of Kevin Kopps and his golden spikes win. His is autographed, but I’d still love to have a copy of that print. Do you know where we can get one?

A. Contact the baseball office. The baseball program produced that photo with the graphics. I don’t know if they have extra copies for sale but it would not hurt to ask. You might get lucky.

Q. HangTenHog says: I moved to AR in 1974. The 77 team was the best I ever saw. If it weren’t for Earl that year! What was the best razorback team in your opinion? Also, when did Holtz and Broyles get sideways? You probably have a good story about that back then.

A. I agree with you. I’ve said many times, that the ’77 team was the best Arkansas team I’ve covered. They were loaded with players two deep.

Broyles started to have issues with Lou because of the way he treated Arkansas’ boosters. Lou was an insomniac. If you’ve ever known anybody like that, they will go off on just about anybody for no apparent reason.

I used to say that Lou was an equal opportunity jerk. He would go off on a big time donor as quickly as he’d chew out one of his student managers. I was in Frank’s outer office one day. He had he door cracked open and I could hear everything he was saying. He was apologizing profusely to somebody over the phone who Lou had insulted. It could have been a rich booster. It could have been a fan who didn’t even have season tickets. It didn’t matter. Frank considered fans to be the customers and Razorback athletics was a business. The customer is always right.

Lou did a lot of other things to test Frank’s patience but it started with that. The way he treated people.

I’ve also been told that once Lou got out of coaching and out from under all that pressure, he started sleeping better and his anger issues went away.

(Last updated: 2022-08-29 19:44 PM)