Ask Mike: Baseball is No. 1, Blown Call in Tuscaloosa & Does Green have the QB Battle Won?

By Mike Irwin
on 2024-03-11 19:26 PM

Q. Our first question is from J.J. Jackson who wants to know: Why does the SEC office continue to ignore bad officiating in both football and basketball? I have friends who think they do this on purpose helping some teams over others. I think they are just bad at their jobs.

A. I agree with you. I don’t believe in conspiracy theories like the SEC is out to get Arkansas. But I do believe there are some issues that could be resolved. Spend some of the TV money on making these officials full time. They could meet every weekday in the offseason and review game video. See where they screwed up and try to made sure they do better the next time. In season they could do video conferencing with the supervisor of officials even if they are on the road.

A couple of weeks ago I ran into a retired basketball official at Baum Stadium from the SWC days. He told me stories about some of the travel issues they had. Going from Houston to Lubbock. Fayetteville to College Station. That kind of travel wears you down even after a few weeks.

I think there area a lot of things that could be done to keep these refs fresher, more mentally and physically sharp.

Q. About Makhi Mitchell’s missed shot late in the Alabama game last Saturday, Dwain says: He was trying to dunk. His head knocked back to shoulder blades.

A. That’s what the replay showed. Hard to believe they missed that. Not sure why Muss didn’t call for a review. It possibly could have been a flagrant One. Up three, you hit two free throws and get the ball back with :35 left. I think Arkansas would have won.

Q. Brian Burrough says: Shouldn’t have come down to a call or no call to win. We led entire game but muss finding ways to blow lots of leads this year. Knew it would happen just like at KY.

A. I totally disagree with this take. I think it took Muss a long time to get these guys to buy into how he wanted them to play and to find the right combination of guys in the rotation. But he never gave up and they never gave up on themselves. They are playing their butts off right now. Each fan has a right to have their own take on things. That includes their right to be wrong. A lot of fans have quit on this team but these guys didn’t quit on each other and the coaches didn’t quit on them. I’m gonna keep watching right up to the last game and I’m going to enjoy watching them.

Q. f00zzman says: I hope this is a Cinderella story of the century.

A. I like the way you think. It’s almost certainly not going to happen but there’s nothing wrong with believing in the impossible. Sometimes the impossible does happen.

Q. Eddy Lynn asks: Are you worried about baseball? They’re number one now. Supposedly that’s the kiss of death?

A. They stayed number one for almost the entire regular season three years ago and yes, they got knocked out of their own super regional by a NC State team that I think would have won the CWS had it not been for COVID.

Arkansas is looking really good right now. Number one in the polls. Number one in strength of schedule. The number one RPI. Their team batting average is up to .300. They’re back up to over a home run a game and their pitching remains really. really good. The three weekend guys are a combined 7-0.

Brady Tygart’s ERA is below 1. Hagan Smith is just above 2.0. while Mason Molina had an up and down start against McNeese St. Gave up 3 runs in 4 innings but pitched himself out of some jams when he didn’t have his best stuff. Dylan Carter made his debut this season. Closed the Sunday game out, retiring both batters he faced. They’ve got seven relievers with ERA’s of under four.

Peyton Stovall is back and all he did this first weekend was record five hits with five RBI including a home run. He’s batting .385. Ty Wilmsmeyer had some key hits. His average is up to .265 and Aloy is looking a lot better.

There’s a game against Kent State on Tuesday. The first home night game of the season and then it’s the start of SEC play against Missouri on Friday.

Q. To football where mousetown asks: What’s up with the Offensive linemen cracking jokes with the new QB after practice? With the season those guys had last year they don’t need to be laughing about anything. Plus DJ Williams says one of them called Petrino Bobby. He called the guy out.

A. DJ played under both Houston Nutt and Petrino. He’s reacting to what he remembers about Petrino back then. From what I’ve seen so far Bobby Petrino, Arkansas’ offensive coordinator in 2024, is very different from Bobby Petrino the head coach in 2010. He’s more relaxed. Smiles a lot more in practice. Has learned to teach without yelling. DJ needs to get up to Fayetteville and spend some time around Petrino once spring ball is over. He’ll see the difference.

Q. Hogdogger says: I’m pretty stoked to see how in helmet microphone helps our offense. But who will be in control of shutting it off before the ball is hiked? Will it be Bobby Petrino or some neutral official that will be responsible?

A. The will be someone on the game crew in charge of that. It gets shut off when the play clock drops to 15 seconds.

Q. jhogg wants to know: After two practices is there a big gap between Green and the other QB’S?

A. I think there’s a gap between Green and Singleton and the other QBs. It’s pretty clear that Green is number one. I do think Petrino wants to have an least two backup QBs with the ability to successfully run the offense if the starter goes down. Right now number three is probably Jacolby Criswell but the freshman, KJ Jackson looks really impressive too.

Q. WVHogfan asks: Has there been any decisions made by the SEC how the 2025 football schedule will look like? Division alignments, permanent opponents, etc.

A. There will be no divisions. The 2025 schedule has not been released. The word is, each team will have three permanent opponents with the other teams rotating where each team will play every other team every other year. The speculation I’ve seen for Arkansas three permanent opponents are Texas, LSU and Missouri.

Q. GrandyHog says: I am a White Hall High graduate from the 70’s. I have read speculation about Coach Muss being interested in a White Hall BB player. My question concerns the only Razorback BB player from White Hall…..

It was before your time. Robert McKensie (not sure of that spelling) played in the 60’s. Would you share what you can find out about his career.

A. It’s spelled McKenzie. He lettered three years, 67, 68, & 69. He was a 6-4 forward and a left handed shooter. Played in 69 games for his career. Averaged 14.6 points per game. Shot 44% from the floor, 75% from the line and averaged 6 rebounds a game. Those are good numbers.

McKenzie was the team’s second leading scorer as a sophomore at 15 point per game. The next year he dropped off a bit at 13.5 points per game. His senior year the great Almer Lee joined the team and averaged 17 points a game but McKenzie was back up to 15 points per game and over 7 rebounds.

Grant Hall, who was a U of A student during those three years, remembers McKenzie hitting a game winning shot. The U of A students nicknamed McKenzie Cool Hand Luke after that shot. Cool Hand Luke was a popular movie at the time.

Q. Dr. Starcs wants to know: How often does recruiting go on between public high schools? Is there anything that prohibits it? Do you have any stories you can share about things you’ve seen or heard over the years?

More than a couple of NWA teams had a few starters that just showed up this year.

A. Technically coaches are not supposed to recruit players off of other teams but there’s nothing to prevent a transfer. There are some rules. Like establishing a residence in the district where you transfer.

With the school choice act in place a student can transfer without establishing a residence within the new district but the transfer school is not responsible that student’s transportation to and from their school.

Q. Sgiles wants to know: Who’s the bad guy in that South Carolina/LSU Women’s basketball dust up? Looks like to me LSU started it and acted like jerks afterward. I’m not a fan of either coach but I felt like Staley handled it better than Mulkey.

A. Staley took the high road. Apologized for her players part in the incident. Said she would work to make sure it didn’t happen again. Mulkey took a shot at one of the South Carolina players for getting involved in the scuffle and suggested that the original two girls involved should have been left to deal with it themselves. She also apparently blamed the refs.

One coach took responsibility. The other appeared to take no responsibility. So yes, Staley handled it like a mature adult and Mulkey came across like an angry player. Not a good look.

Q. Marty Byrde’s proxy says: I enjoy stories about coach Broyles, and was curious about his relationships with his coaches as AD. Was there one coach who he seemed to really like? Sort of a class favorite if you will.

A. I never knew coach Broyles to have a favorite. He treated his coaches like employees and he was their boss which, of course, he was. Norm DeBriyn once suggested that John McDonnell was Frank’s favorite because he won 40 national titles but John disputed that, claiming that Frank treated him like every other coach on the staff who was winning. As long as you were winning you stayed out of his doghouse. But he didn’t get all warm and fuzzy with any of his coaches. He was the boss and he wanted them to know that. Frank also believed that he and all of the coaches answered to the fans. They were the ultimate boss.

(Last updated: 2024-03-11 19:26 PM)