Ask Mike: Muss Bus Video, Fans Skip Open Scrimmage & Mike’s Lost HS Football Novel

By Mike Irwin
on 2024-04-01 19:26 PM

Q. Our first question is from our friend, Mr. Negative, Mousetown who asks: What’s your take on the Muss bus video posted by the athletic department? I like the simple explanation. Muss is not leaving. Simple is usually better.

A. I’ll go along with that. I’ve heard four or five theories on the video but while each all offers a different motive behind the video all of them end with the same thing. Muss is not leaving.

As I said last week, I’m tired of the drama. At some point Eric Musselman will have a zoom or a press conference, probably to outline the new recruiting class and he will get asked about the rumors that he was looking at other jobs. Until he comments or until he leaves for another job I don’t care.

Q. Bama Wildhog wants to know: How am I supposed to deal with my knothead neighbors who are already bragging that Oats is going to a Final Four while Musselman can’t get past the Elite Eight (and not even that this season).

A. Just tell ’em that you hope they enjoy being basketball fans because the era of national championships in football is over. You guys traded Saban for Oats and Oats may get to the Final Four but it stops there. Have fun.

Q. Marty Byrde’s proxy says: I’m not a big fan of Nate Oates at Alabama. But if I’m being honest, that has more to do with his success, particularly against the Hogs, than what kind of guy he is (though he doesn’t seem very scrupulous) …..

……Can you think of an opposing coach, any sport, who our fans despised, but was actually a pretty good man?

A. I’d have to go back many years but I’d say Abe Lemons at Texas during the Eddie Sutton era. Abe had decent success against Arkansas but he was always taking shots at Razorback fans like they were hicks. Actually Abe was from Oklahoma and he was more of a country guy than he’d admit. He didn’t belong at Texas. They actually fired him because he didn’t fit their image. I went to Oklahoma City and did a long interview with him after he left Texas and he admitted that he would have coached at Arkansas in a heart beat. He was just talking trash because of the rivalry with Texas.

If most Razorback fans had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Lemons like I did they would have liked him.

Q. TNRich says: Your recommendation to eliminate conference championship games and expand March Madness to 128 teams has all upsides and no downsides. I hated it when the conference started championship tourneys. The regular season record should determine the conference champion. Only exception is in the case of a tie, then a one game playoff should settle the matter. Let’s do the smart thing and make the NCAA tourney the crucible of determining who’s elite and who’s not by getting rid of useless conference tourneys and expanding the NCAA Tourney to 128 teams.

A. I agree 100 %. Now all we have to do is convince Courtney and a lot of fans who think the way she does.

Q. Eddy Lynn says: The sweep of LSU was great. Too many Corndogs at Baum. I’m glad they went home mad but have you ever seen anything like DVH putting a true freshman on the mound in his college debut in the 8th inning of an SEC game with a 2 run lead?

A. He took a real chance and it almost backfired but it didn’t so now I’m thinking Hunter Dietz is about to become a huge part of this pitching staff. Behind the scenes the coaches have been raving about Dietz during his rehab. Look for him this week against Ole Miss.

Q. revolution says: Razorback fans have every reason to be enjoying baseball season! Who are the top 5 Razorback pitchers and hitters that you’ve seen over the years of covering the Hogs?

A. Hitting, off the top I’d say Jeff King, Heston Kjerstad, Andrew Benintendi, Ryan Lundquist and Kendrick Moore in no particular order.

Pitching, I’d go with Kevin Kopps, Blaine Knight, Scott Tabor Charlie Boyce, and Nick Schmidt.

When this season is over Hagan Smith will go on that list.

Q. Edwardclutch says: Watching the baseball series against Auburn I noticed several ads for their NIL on the advertising board behind home plate. Also, you can’t drive 100 yards into the state of Mississippi before seeing billboards for the Ole Miss “Grove Collective”. Why isn’t the U of A doing simple things like advertising NIL behind home plate and putting up some billboards? I would be willing to bet that if you polled 10 random fans at least 7 of them couldn’t tell you what in the world Arkansas Edge is.

A. As I said last week Arkansas tried to do NIL the way the NCAA laid it out. Others started doing whatever they wanted. When it became clear that the NCAA was going to have trouble enforcing its NIL rules because of court rulings Arkansas started trying to ramp up its collective fund but right now it is behind. I don’t expect it to stay that way and we are starting to see Arkansas publicize it’s EDGE collective. I’m told collections are getting better but again, they are behind right now.

Q. We have two NIL comments: WVHogfan says: Apparently the NCAA is not willing to place any limitations on schools regarding NIL. What is the chance that the top conferences leave the NCAA and form their own organization where maybe more control can be placed on NIL? If this occurred, how long would it be before those limits would be challenged in the courts?

Dr. Starcs says: The AD sent fans an email stating some of this. My question is who’s to stop a school from funding NIL however they want? Doesn’t seem like there’s any enforceable legislation about it. It all reeks of screwing the fans over for more of their hard-earned money.

A. A solution has been proposed by the NCAA. Create an upper division of college athletic programs that each agree to provide the same amount of NIL money to each scholarship athlete male and female. The amount proposed would run about $12-15 million per year. Athletes would receive $30-40,000 annually along with their current scholarship to include tuition, room and board.

Q. Hotdogger also weighs in on NIL with a question: Will universities and colleges have to raise tuition to meet NIL demands? I’m sure NIL for now is mainly from private sponsors but I think it will come to a point that in order to stay competitive, schools may have to contribute from their own pocketbooks.

A. Currently that would be against the rules but rules can be changed. I like the idea. Universities benefit big time from their athletic programs. It’s a big enrollment draw at most schools. A good place to start would be an NIL fee added the the student activity fee.

Q. hobhog wants to know: Hearing any whispers out of spring practice on who is better than thought? Or maybe not as good as hoped?

A. Not really. I think if you look at Saturday’s scrimmage there was some good on botjh sides of the ball. Taylen Green threw a couple of impressive TD passes.
The offensive line protected well and there were some nice runs behind some good blocking. Ja’Quinden Jackson, the Utah transfer running back looked good. Braylen Russell, the freshman running back out of Benton looked good too. Both are big, physical and fast. Isaiah Sategna caught another long TD pass. He and Andrew Armstrong have both been impressive and Luke Hasz was back off that ankle injury and he caught a TD pass.

On the defensive side Georgia transfer Jaheim Singletary had a good day in the secondary. Pretty much the entire D-line was impressive.

Disappointed in the crowd. It was an open scrimmage and maybe 300 fans showed up. A lot of them were friends and family members of players.

As I think back on last year’s horrible performance by the O-line in Dan Enos’ offense, it struck me that one of the issues may have been that they simply weren’t able to perform when the plays took SO LONG to develop.

A. No question I think the design of the offense and the play calling will benefit the O line under Bobby Petrino but I also have seen evidence that those guys are holding their blocks longer. There’s just a better attitude among the O-line right now. Some solid transfers have come in and changed the room. Those guys seem to be together. I think they knew that they’ve got something to prove after what happened last season.

Q. hawgredneck says: Somebody mentioned to me that you once wrote a book about high school football but somebody stole the manuscript. Sounds like a good story if it’s true.

A. In junior high my best friend decided to write a fictional story about a high school football team in Rockdale, Texas.

I have no idea why he picked Rockdale which is a real place west of College Station. In the first two chapters he introduced two brothers, Fuzzy and Buzzy Higgins. They were freshmen and ended up playing after the starting quarterback and one of the starting running backs got hurt. The team actually started to win with the two rookies.

I read the first two chapters and asked if I could write some too. So in chapter three I introduced John Stowe, a 6-4, 220 pound tight end who was the fastest guy on the team. Stowe had been academically ineligible the first two games.
Once he joined he team, along with the two Higgins brothers, Rockdale went on a big winning streak.

We wrote about more than just football. In chapter my buddy detailed how one of the other running backs got blamed for hitting a teacher in the back of the head with a spitball in class. The other running back was named Jarrell Johnston and was based on Jarrell Williams who was playing for the Razorbacks at the time. He got five licks with a board from the head coach for the spitball incident.

He never named the real perp who was in the high school band. Ratting out another student was a no no even in a situation like that. But Jarrell caught up the guy later and punched him out in a fist fight at the local malt shop.

He got five more licks for that.

I wrote about Stowe visiting his girlfriend who went to a private women’s academy nearby. He got caught talking to her through her dorm room window at 2 am. He was suspended for a third round playoff game and Rockdale lost, ending its season.

So the book ended with a thud.

(Last updated: 2024-04-01 19:26 PM)