Ask Mike: Fake Tweets, Bama’s Hog Calling Coach & What’s Up with Anthony Black?

By Mike Irwin
on 2023-04-03 18:12 PM

Q. Our first question is from Mousetown wants to know: What are Devo Davis’ chances of getting a good feedback from the NBA to stay in the draft and take a pass on his senior year?

A. I think he’ll be back. Going through the pre-draft process will allow Devo to get some feedback from NBA scouts. I think he’ll sit down with Muss and they’ll come up with a plan to put him in a better position come the 2024 draft. They need his leadership next season and with the relationship he has with Muss, again, I think he’ll be back. But nothing is written in stone. He could get in front of those NBA guys and make them see something they really like.
He has almost two full months to make that decision but I expect it sooner than that.

Q. Dr. Strangepork says: Based off this year’s performances and chronic injury, I’m shocked that Smith decided to go pro. I like Devo’s approach and think it is a better way to gage whether turning pro is the route to go or not. Thoughts?

A. Two completely different situations. One is not on the mock draft boards at all, the other is a projected lottery pick. Is is smart for Smith Jr. to come back just for the chance to move up a few spots in the draft? To me it’s not worth the risk because he could also drop a few spots, especially if his knee issue flares up again.

Q. Eddy Lynn wants to know: What’s the hold up on Black declaring for the draft? He’s now picked higher than Smith Jr. Some fans actually think he’s trying to decide. That’s wrong, right?

A. I think he’s already decided but I’m not in his inner circle so I guess I could be wrong. The most logical explanation for the hold up is that he’s got a specific day that he wants to make the announcement and he’s waiting for that day. If that’s not true we’d have one hell of a story. But don’t get your hopes up.

Q. Hawgredneck asks: Were you surprised by Brazile’s quick decision to announce he’s coming back? I thought we were going too have to sweat it out a while. To me this is better news than landing the number one HS player in the country. Muss’ best recruiting job!

A. Looks like the NBA people are taking a wait and see attitude with Brazile’s injury. He’s not listed on any of the mock draft boards. I also think Brazile knows that he’s going to be a key piece of the puzzle next season and after having to sit on the bench in street clothes for most of the season he can’t wait to put that Hog uniform back on.

Q. s-glies wants to know: What was your reaction to Baye Fall’s play in the McDonald’s game? He didn’t do much offensively but his defense looked good.

A. The McDonald’s All American game is a glorified pickup game. Whoever has the ball coming down the court wants to score and most of the time they’re gonna put it up. There aren’t a lot of assists in a game like that where everybody is trying to be the star.

There’s a lot of video online that will give you a much better look at him. Check that out.

Q. Coleman Charles asks: What is up with Kel’el Ware? Some SEC media guy posted Friday that he would sign with Arkansas by the end up the day. Wrong! These days being media and getting stuff wrong doesn’t seem to matter.

A. That came from a fake website. There’s no such person in the SEC media. A lot of Arkansas fans fell for it. I had one come up to me before Friday’s baseball game asking if Ware had committed. I said no and he said it was supposed to happen in the next 10 minutes. I don’t think stuff like this is funny. My only suggestion is that you stick with known Arkansas media members on stories like this.

If someone outside of the Arkansas media posts what looks like breaking information, if it is legit, you will start to see confirmation popping up from people in the Arkansas media.

Q. On Saturday Hunter Yurachek posted a photo of the Slobber Hog in the center of the Bud Walton Arena court indicating that it had just been painted there. Clearly it was a photoshopped image and part of an April Fools joke. There’s been lot of reaction to that.

jgphillips3 says: There’s jokes and then there’s cruelty. This is the latter.

Herford posted: Shame on him. That’s sickening getting my hopes up like that.

jjdlc added: Yurachek should be publicly flogged for that one.

hobhog with a more positive reaction: Actually think it gets us one step closer. He is obviously very aware of the slobbering Hog. I have heard him mention it many times.

Mike your reaction to this:

A. He fooled me. I worked all day Saturday. Didn’t play any attention to social media. Saw that Tweet after I got home and thought wow, it’s finally going to happen. I try to have a sense of humor but this is not something you joke about. That slobberhog symbolized those great teams under Nolan and taking it off the floor of Bud Walton was one of the most brain dead moves Jeff Long ever made.

I hope this means that Yurachek is planning to make a change in the future and he’s teasing the idea to get feedback.

Q. Pigsfeat says: I’ve seen a lot of noise on social media about how bad Arkansas fans are to their collegiate players. This frustrates me because I don’t think most Arkansas fans fit in this category. Those who say these terrible things to our athletes are either trolls or disingenuous. “Telling it like it is” is not an excuse to tear another person down! What do you think?

A. When it comes to the darker side of social media most fanbases are pretty much the same.
They all have their crazies. People who post stuff just because they’re mad in general and it allows them to blow off steam. It’s cheaper than going to see a shrink.

Then there are those who want a certain coach fired or a certain player benched. They genuinely believe they are right and want the rest of us to know how they feel. They are also hoping to generate some momentum for their ideas.

Are most fans positive about the Hogs, win or lose? I think so but a lot of them aren’t on social media.

The stuff that’s posted on Twitter and Facebook is not a lot different than what went on at the Eastside Cafe in my hometown when I was a kid. The difference is, the opinions expressed were not done in front of the coaches or players. If they walked in everybody would tone down their arguments.

My advice is always the same about that. If you are a coach or player stay off of social media. But that’s a pie dream especially when it comes to players.

It is what it is. It’s not going to change. The best way to handle trolls is to avoid feeding them. If more people avoided responding to some of these nasty tweets then those tweets would die on the vine.

Q. To baseball where Billy Ledbetter asks: Should I be thrilled that we squeaked out a series win against Bammer? Coming in those guys were 2-4 in SEC play but they hammered us on Friday.

A. I don’t think a lot of Hogs fans realize just how good Alabama is. Yes, the Tide was just 2-4 coming in but at .318 they are second in the SEC in hitting and 14th nationally. Arkansas
is 48th in hitting.

Bama is 20th nationally in ERA. Arkansas is not in the top 50. They’re 20th nationally in home runs. Arkansas is 22nd.
The fact is, after getting killed on Friday night 12-1, Arkansas won game 2 at the plate on a 2-run HR by Caleb Cali. On Sunday the bullpen took over. Cody Adcock, Dylan Carter and Gauge Wood pitched 8 1/3 innings in relief and gave up just 2 runs. In my opinion LSU, Arkansas, Alabama and Auburn are the three best teams in the SEC west. The Hogs have already played those three and are tied for the lead in the West. I’d say they are in really good shape right now.

Q. Armon Abbe wants to know: Do you think Alabama’s baseball coach crossed the line when he mocked Arkansas fans by calling the Hogs after getting tossed in Saturday’s game? To me he’s the new Vitello. An opposing coach you love to hate.
A. I actually thought it was funny. He wasn’t mocking Hog fans because they weren’t doing the Hog call when he got tossed. To me it was a spontaneous reaction. As he walked back to the dugout and saw all those fans booing him he looked up and sort said, Yeah okay, Woo Pig Sooie and all that. I’m gone. Bye Bye.

He was actually pretty good at it for somebody with no ties to Arkansas. I’ve seen new coaches at Arkansas who didn’t do the Hog call as well.

Q. To football now where Spacehog says: I seem to remember that Mike had once said that Coach Pittman had Dowell Loggains in mind to be not only Kendall Briles’ successor as the OC but potentially Pittman’s successor as the Head Coach as well. Did Briles’ messing around with these other OC jobs wreck Pittman’s plans?

A. I never said Loggains would be Pittman’s successor as head coach, only that he appeared to be the offensive coordinator in waiting. That went out the window when Loggains left for South Carolina before Briles left for TCU. I think there were some difference between Briles and Loggains. I think Loggains was frustrated and when he got a chance to leave he took it.
Could he return as head coach some day? I think it’s unlikely but if he did great things at South Carolina, got himself a head coaching job and was impressive in that job, it could happen.

Q. The Hawk Hawkins says: Coach Briles made his first public statement since leaving Arkansas for TCU. Acted like he hated to leave but the job was too good to turn down. Is that the real story?

A. It’s not the story I got but I’m not sure it matters. He’s gone. Most fans are happy and that’s that.
I went over this back when it happened. I’ll go over it again just to answer your question. When Briles looked into the Mississippi State job, Sam Pittman assumed he was gone. Briles’ family didn’t want to go to Starkville so he turned the job down. This supposedly annoyed Sam Pittman who had already contacted Dan Enos with Enos telling him he would come back to Arkansas.

At that point Pittman stressed to Briles that Arkansas was in a sensitive period with regard to recruiting and the portal. He didn’t need to have questions floating around about his offensive coordinator maybe leaving for another school. So Briles issued a public statement on social media saying he was all in and looking forward to working with KJ Jefferson again to achieve success.

A few days after that Jimmy Sexton’s agent assigned to Briles contacted TCU and it got out. At that point Briles had to take that job or have no job. At least that’s what I was told. Now look, Briles may have been happy that it worked out like that. He grew up close to Ft. Worth. So he’s going back home. In my opinion it was time for both coordinators to move on. Good for them. Good for Arkansas. End of story.

Q. About Briles replacement Dan Enos, Bart Lewis says: Good to hear KJ will be under center! Especially third down.

A. This past week in discussing Arkansas offense under Enos, Jefferson revealed that he will be taking the ball under center some. Arkansas will also huddle up at times. The idea, according to Jefferson, is to give Arkansas multiple looks without making major changes. It will look more complicated than it is, Jefferson said.

They had a scrimmage this past Saturday. I wish we had been able to see it but these days Sam Pitman has gone secretive on us.

But we’ll see what they doing in the spring game right? I have no idea. I would not be surprised if what we see in that game is a plain vanilla version of the offense. A lot coaches do that.

Q. LostinSwine asks: Why was Frank Broyles so successful in that we were in the hunt for the National Championship year after year? It has been such a struggle since then to get back up to that plateau?

A. Two basic things. Recruiting and a really good staff. That staff was built around the coordinators. Frank hired them and told them, Do a good job for me and I’ll get you a head coaching job. With his connections he could make that happen.

The Frank Broyles coaching tree was phenomenal. Jim McKenzie, Jimmy Johnson, Barry Switzer, Joe Gibbs, Johnny Majors, Harold Horton, on and on.

I think Ken Hatfield could have done in the 80’s and 90’s what Broyles did in the 60’s but his staff did not compare to Frank’s, which was a source of friction between them.

Another reason why the success of the 60’s would be hard to duplicate these days is the shear number of competitive teams in the SEC. Frank came along at a time when there were three (occasionally four) teams capable of winning a SWC title. Beat Texas and Arkansas had a great chance of going to the Cotton Bowl.

Q. Lanny says: The Little Rock tornado was an awful tragedy but I saw where one of Arkansas incoming freshmen football players jumped in and was in the middle of the cleanup. Good to know Pittman is recruiting class kids.

A. Courtney knows more about that than I do. She was there and did a story on Quincy Roads Jr. as he jumped in to help clean up his neighborhood….

Courtney: I had the opportunity to do that story on Saturday. I was so impressed to see that this young man was not only spending his Saturday morning helping people who needed it, but the fact that he recruited another teammate of his and brought him too. Not to mention, he’s still healing after wrist surgery and has a full cast on one of his arms. There were no power tools available at the time so Rhodes used an axe and a hand saw to clear downed tree limbs.

(Last updated: 2023-04-03 18:12 PM)