Ask Mike: Auburn Game Injury Report; More Three-Man Front Complaints & Can The Hogs Finish 8-4?

By Mike Irwin
on 2022-10-24 19:53 PM

Q. Eddy Lynn wants to know: Do you have an injury update coming out of the bye week? Does the situation in the secondary look any better? What about Bumper Pool?

A. Sam Pittman said in his Monday presser that Malik Chavis is the only one of the injured defensive backs that wouldn’t practice but he expected him back by Tuesday or Wednesday. So that’s good news for the secondary. He also said that Bumper Pool is better after staying off his injured hip last week and apparently Drew Sanders was a little banged up and he is better. Finally he said that KJ Jefferson had had some arm soreness since before the A&M game and he is better. So It looks like the open date week could not have gone better.

Q. Haden Haley asks: Do you really think we can win four of our last five games and finish 8-4 like last year? Everybody says that but to me Ole Miss, LSU and Liberty are all better than BYU. I’m not sure we can beat Missouri either.

A. I think it will be a big challenge. They can’t do it unless we see the passing game made a bigger part of the offense like in the BYU game. This team has an excellent running game but that’s not enough. The ground game works much better when the passing game is also clicking.

Defensively they need to get their secondary healed and back on the field. It looks like that will happen. Also, unlike a lot of fans, I think Barry Odom’s three man front with added men in pass coverage can help against teams that throw a lot. There are some signs that the coverage is getting better.

Q. Pigsfeat wants to know: Which game surprised you the most? South Carolina over A&M or LSU over Ole Miss Or Liberty over BYU?

A. Definitely LSU over Ole Miss, especially the way they just dominated the Land Shark Rebel Black Bears. Ole Miss looked like the real deal this season. They were good on both sides of the ball. I really though they had an outside shot at winning the West. Plus LSU started out the season looking questionable. Especially losing to Florida State and getting their clocks cleaned by Tennessee. But they’re getting better mainly because their quarterback keeps getting better. Also Ole Miss has played a weak schedule. Their biggest win was a squeaker over Kentucky at Kentucky. Impressive but it didn’t mean they were going to dominate the West. So the LSU Ole Miss game surprised me but maybe I wasn’t paying enough attention to either team.

Q. About the Razorbacks week off last week Gene Hardin says:

Hope the defense coordinator gets some mental rest and does away with the 3 man front on defense.

A. I just addressed that. I think you are wrong. But I admit I could be wrong too. We’ll see how this plays out. I do thing we will see more blitzing moving forward because the secondary will be in better shape physically.

Q. Last week WLD3 asked this: During the field goal against BYU, #33 ran from the left end to the right end after the snap. I have never seen that before, is there a reason for this?

A. I talked to some people about this. I’m not going to say who but they really didn’t want to discuss it. My interpretation was that it was some sort of a trigger mechanism for a fake field goal attempt. If you watch the guy over Isaiah Nichols, instead of making a bee line for Cam Little to try to block the kick, he holds in place, as if he was expecting a pass or run in his area. It could also be just a device to make the other team think there’s going to be a fake kick. whatever it was it will remain a mystery.

Q. Slobberslob asks: I know it’s hard to predict what guys will do but, do you think we have a shot at keeping Hornsby? I really like the kid and he’s only one play away from being the starter.

A. I think it all depends on KJ Jefferson and what he decides at the end of the season. If he declares for the draft Hornsby becomes the logical starter in 2023 and he will stay. But if KJ decides to come back, and I’m told that he’s leaning in that direction, then Malik will leave. He’s showed enough in the Mississippi State game to attract the attention of teams who are looking to bring in their 2023 starter out of the portal.

Q. Lanny says: There’s been so much hype about the talent on this basketball team I’m worried that it’s a Calipari deal. In the end the team is too young and won’t make the Final Four which a lot Hogs fans expect. Am I wrong?

A. I don’t see it as a Calipari problem because Muss has brought in some experienced guys to go with all these freshmen. Especially inside. Arkansas has four transfers who can play inside. Don’t forget that Devo Davis and Kamani Johnson are coming back. So there’s a good mix of talented experienced players and very talented freshmen.

Having pointed that out I would agree that the hype and lofty expectations could be a problem. Arkansas football teams historically have had trouble when highly ranked. Not so much in basketball. Nolan team’s sure didn’t have that issue.

But until we see how this bunch stacks up, we’re not gonna know. Their Saturday game in Austin will tell us a lot.

Q. parallaxpig wants to know: Why is it so tough for the media guys to provide a mic to reporters asking questions. The last two post press conferences with Coach Pittman & Musselman could not hear the questions.

A. I think the problem you’re referring to are post game zooms that happen on the road. There are issues that the athletic department can’t control at somebody else’s facility. The various pressers at home are done right as nearly as I can tell. My only advice to you for post game road zooms, if you listen carefully you can usually tell what was asked by the answer given.

Q. Tim Te NO says: I’m super stoked about a few things this week. Volleyball is killing it, baseball looks great, but my question is about soccer. The soccer team looks incredible. What do you think the odds of them taking home a title is?

A. By a title I assume you mean an SEC title because six years in a row they’ve made it to the championship game and lost. Right now it doesn’t look good for 2022. Arkansas is currently sitting third in the west and sixth overall. But they do have a post season tournament. If they get hot and they could win it all.

Q. There’s a lot talk these days about changing the helmets in football to reduce the number of concussions but Bucksnout says:

You can make any helmet you want. You cannot fix the problem of the space between your brain and your cranium.

A. I disagree with that. The problem with the helmet is that they have made making changes to the padding on the inside of he helmet without dealing with the main issue and that is the hard shell exterior. They’ve done some things in the last few years to make that hard shell flex more but that’s not the answer. A soft shell exterior, similar to what we see in those coverings they put of the helmets of linemen in practice needs to be permanent. There is a padding used to cover roll bars in race cars that would do a great job of reducing concussions. Two players colliding each with helmets that would give upon impact, combined with improved interior padding would make a huge difference, I’m told.

So why doesn’t this happen? Because they’re afraid that fans won’t like the look.

In the meantime I had a a coach tell me that those leather helmets that were in use in the 1940’s were better at preventing concussions than today’s helmets because there was no hard shell involved.

Q. Lost in swine says: The referees are up against it with all the new aggravating rules trying to insure nobody gets hurt while playing a violent game. Who can a person call or write to express their opinion about how this is ruining the game of football? Or is nothing going to change?

A. I think they’re already starting to dial some of this stuff back and it’s because of the pushback by fans like you. Surely you’ve noticed that the targeting rule has been modified. They are changing call every weekend following a video review. They’re narrowed the definition of targeting. Now look the NFL still has some very restrictive rules on roughing the quarterback. To me this is a players union thing. College football is way more tuned into to its fans than the NFL. The only answer to that is for NFL fans to start tuning that product out.
If attendance goes down and TV rating go down, they’ll change.
but I don’t think enough of the pro football fan base has the commitment to make that happen. So they don’t get what hey pay for and in the end it’s their fault.

Again in spite of your complaint, I think the people who run the college game are much more responsive to the fans. That’s why the NCAA’s control of college football is about to go away. The fan were fed up with the NCAA and the various coaches, ADs and conference commissioners are doing something about it.

Q. Marty Byrde’s Proxy says: As much as our (basketball) fans dislike Coach Cal and the wildcats, it certainly doesn’t eclipse the rivalry we had with Texas(and others)in the SWC. Can you revisit the times we battled with Abe Lemons’ Longhorns particularly the Darrell Walker rhubarb?

A. Basically Abe got mad at Darrell during a game and he took the unusual step of going out on the floor and chewing Darrell out. Eddie Sutton when out on the floor and basically directed Abe back to his bench. Abe tried to get Darrell suspended by the SWC a couple days later. He presented some video evidence in a hearing in Dallas supposedly showing Darrell being out of control during the game. I think the consensus ended up being that Abe was the one out of control, especially after Eddie showed up with some video of his own and Abe ended up getting fired by his own AD.

(Last updated: 2022-10-24 19:53 PM)