Ask Mike: Typical SEC Media Days Poll, Tennessee AG Threatens the NCAA & Who is Bruiser Dobson?

By Mike Irwin
on 2023-07-25 16:59 PM

Q. Our first question is from sgiles who says, Welcome back. You missed SEC Media Days. What did you think about the conference media picking Arkansas 5th in the West?

A. I don’t think much about it one way or the other. Fans should never be upset about the Media Days picks. About 95% of the legitimate reporters at Media Days cover one team, not the conference as a whole. I went to Media Days 16 times. I never voted because I didn’t feel qualified to analyze the entire conference. I cover Arkansas. I went there to report on what Arkansas’ head coach said and his three players. I didn’t have time to listen to what everybody else said.
The media can usually be right by picking Alabama to win the West and Georgia to win the East. After that they get it wrong. Most of the time the media votes based on last season. It’s not last season. It’s this season.

So don’t worry about it. If Media Days gives Arkansas’ players extra motivation, great.

Q. RazorAlex88 wants to know: Who would you say are the winners and losers of SEC Media Days in terms of making their talking time worth the time. Of course Sam is a big winner! I was honestly impressed with Zach Arnett from MSU as well.

A. The media places a big emphasis on trying get more out of media days than X’s & O’s. So Pittman came across well as he always has because he plays along with that stuff. They loved his answer about his music playlist on Spotify.

I loved what he said about Arkansas’ defense. We’ve got a question about that coming up so I will address that later.

Who else did I like? Widdle Wayne Kiffin. He’s one of the few SEC coaches who keeps talking about getting something done about the buying of players with NIL deals.

I personally believe that the conference office could stop this stuff in its tracks by simply telling member institutions, follow the rule on NIL or get out.

You think the SEC could not replace Tennessee or A&M? They could do it in about two days. If they sue they’ll lose. Two weeks ago I said it. NIL deals are not illegal and the NCAA never said it was. The NCAA said it’s against the rules for member institutions to offer specific NIL deals while recruiting. If you want to be a member of the NCAA, follow the rules. If you don’t want to follow the rules drop out the NCAA and start your own organization with no rules on buying players.

It’s that simple.

Q. Rzback says: From what I’m reading, the Razorbacks won’t be in a bend but don’t break defense this year like we were under Odom, is that correct?

A. That’s the word. New defensive coordinator Travis Williams relied heavily on the blitz at Central Florida. Apparently he will tone it down a little now that he’s in the SEC but I think Arkansas fans can can’t wait to see a defense that attacks. I’m looking forward to the A&M game. Bobby Petrino vs Travis Williams. Sounds awesome.

Q. Hogdogger says: Listening to coach Pitman he sounds like he’s changing his plans on 4th downs. In the past when it was 4th and short he would punt instead of going for it. What do you think caused him to change his mind about 4th downs?

A. I don’t this he was specifically addressing going for it more on 4th downs. He said Arkansas needs to be better prepared for 4th down situations on both sides of the ball. So they worked more on that in the spring and will do it again in August. I take it that he wants to be more successful when he does to decide to go for it and be more successful in stopping Arkansas’ opponents when they decide to go for it on 4th down.

Q. Marty Byrde’s proxy asks: What position group do see as the strongest and which may be the most suspect for the upcoming Razorback football season?

A. Strongest is a no brainer. Running back. Rocket Sanders may be the best in the SEC but I like A.J Green. I like Rashod Dubinion and oh by the way, Dominique Johnson is finally healthy and he’s back. Plus 4 star true freshman Isaiah Augustave is in that room. He was rated as the number six high school running back in the country for 2022. Arkansas is loaded at that position.
Most suspect? Maybe tight end. There’s a lot of youth there with a quality transfer out of the portal but Dan Enos relies heavily on tight ends so to me that’s one of the question marks going into the season.

Q. Hogdogger asks: Do you think the U of A will honor Ryan Mallett somehow on their jerseys or with a special dedication?

A. They’re not ready to reveal the details but yes, I’ve been assured that Ryan Mallett will be honored this coming season.

Q. Mousetown wants to know: Is anybody going to do anything about the State of Tennessee backing the NCAA down? First it’s NIL enforcement. Now it’s a fine instead of a post season ban for multiple level one violations by the Vols football program. This is outrageous.

A. I’m sure the SEC commissioner and various conference ADs will call for congress to help. Police yourself. Tell Tennessee, you either comply with NCAA rules and its punishments or get out. Tell your State Attorney General to stay out of our business or else. If he wants to sue, let him sue. But we will win. Period. End of story.

Q. BlakeTaylor1112 says: Coach Deifel knows how to recruit, bring in coaches, and transfers. I feel like this off-season is as good or even better than when she brought in KB Sides, Taylor Ellsworth, and Chenise Delce. What are your thoughts on the off-season changes?

A. This is bigger. The only problem this team had last season was with hitting and Deifel just hired the top hitting coach the country. That alone is impressive. But she’s added four quality portal transfers. This was a young team a year ago. Won’t be young in 2024.

Q. Hog in Iowa says: There’s been some turnover in the softball team’s coaching staff this offseason but have not heard if this was because of exiting coaches taking new opportunities or if Coach Deifel just felt like changes were in order.

A. She did not address the specifics but looking at who came in I think it’s rather obvious that she wanted some changes. Arkansas goal is to become a softball world series team. In 2023 they didn’t make it out of their own regional. I like her approach.

Q. Eddy Lynn says: On Facebook you wrote about getting to see one of your high school teammates at a reunion last week. His name is Bruiser. I’d like to hear it in your own words.

A. His name is Bobby Dobson. We called him Bruiser because he left bruises on people. When I was put into the starting lineup as an undersized sophomore most of the underclassmen put the freeze out on me. They wanted a bigger, more experienced junior to play my position. In the huddle after my first play as a member of the varsity, Bruiser stood up for me. Told everybody to get on board with me or else. He was our leading rusher and a respected team leader. After he did that my problems went away. I started the next 25 games over the next 2 1/2 seasons and made post season honors as a senior. I was also a team captain my senior year. I told him that none of that would have happened had he not stepped in.

Because he believed in me, I believed in myself.

(Last updated: 2023-07-25 16:59 PM)