Hollan’s Turnaround, A Different Peyton Emerges at 2nd Base & Mike’s Favorite Coach Who Got Fired

By Mike Irwin
on 2023-05-15 16:43 PM

Q. Our first question is from Harold Carpenter who wants to know: What was different about Hunter Hollan in his win over South Carolina? Never in a hundred years did I think he would pitch a complete game.

A. The biggest difference was that he kept his pitch count low by keeping runners off base. Just one walk in innings and five hits given up.. In previous outings he’d walk batters or hit them. He did give up the one home run but it was a solo shot. If you keep guys off base you can afford to give up an occasional long ball.

At one point Hollan retired 19 straight batters. That’s over six innings with nobody on base.

DVH said after the game that Hollan had much better command of his pitches. Even when he missed, he missed close.

Location is everything for a pitcher and his location was really good. Let’s hope he keeps it up.

Q. LostinSwine asks: Would you put Peyton Holt on the bench once Peyton Stovall gets healthy? Stats say keep playing Holt.

A. Holt is batting .333. Stovall was down to .253 when DVH put him on the shelf with that shoulder injury. Also, while Stovall is a very good defensive 2nd baseman, so is Holt. I do think DVH will take his time with Stovall and maybe break him in slowly when he does come back.
Josenberger returned to the lineup this past weekend and he went 1 for 7. When you’ve been sitting out it sometimes takes time to get back into the flow.

The same thing with Jared Wegner. If you put him back in left field then Jace Bohrofen goes back to right field and are you going to move Kendall Diggs back to DH? What happens to Ben McLaughlin? He’s hitting .340 right now.

Q. Mousetown says: With all this Arkansas baseball team has had to overcome I’m stunned that those guys lead the SEC with one series left. How did this happen?

A. This was a guy that last week who was mad about the Lipscomb loss. So if that game was his image of this baseball team I can see what he’s stunned.

How did it happen? DVH uses the midweek games to develop his back up players instead of just letting them sit in the dugout.

Peyton Holt, who we just mentioned, is a good example. He batted .600 this past weekend. There’s no reason not to use a backup player like that in a midweek game.

The biggest reason why Arkansas has taken the lead in the SEC is pitching. In conference stats only the Hogs are tops in the SEC in ERA by a wide margin. They’re also number two in fielding just a hair behind Vanderbilt. Pitching and defense win baseball games.

Another reason this team is winning is because of timely hitting. Bolton was batting right at .200 when he hit that RBI double. In the 5th inning Parker Rowland, who was batting .181, put Arkansas in front with a two-RBI single.

Q. RazorAlex88 says: I’ve been reflecting on last week’s question about the Lipscomb loss. I think it is a good thing to get younger guys experience during midweek games….

….I must wonder if it adds fuel to their desire to improve when it is their turn to become starters?

A. Of course it does. It’s a lot harder to stay motivated when you don’t see the field. You put in the same effort in fall ball as the other players but when the season starts you’re a spectator in the dugout? So playing non starters in midweek games not only helps them develop, it keeps them motivated.

Q. Texarkanabob wants to know: Is it weird that in a three game series between the number 3 and 6 teams in the country, all three were on SEC plus and not the main network?

A. Weird? Unfortunately no. It’s very common with the SEC network and ESPN. For some reason they don’t like coming to Fayetteville. I have no idea why because DWRRS, Bud Walton and Baum-Walker are some of the best venues in the country. The story of the year in SEC baseball is what’s happening with the Razorbacks right now but the SEC Network and ESPN are asleep at the wheel.

You know what the home record is for Wake Forest, the number one team in the country? Try 20-6. What about LSU which was number one for most of the season? 27-7.

You know what Arkansas home record is? Try 30-4. That’s astounding.
Why would you not want to put that on ESPN, ESPN 2 or the SEC Network?

Q. jmark wants to know: Why are games not being broadcast on the SEC Alternative Channel?

A. I assume from this question that jmark uses cable TV or a satellite provider and can’t see the games if they are are on ESPN plus. Good question about why ESPN doesn’t use the alternate channel more often.

Mostly it’s used during football or basketball season when one game is still going but the next game is starting. It’s a backup plan. To me when you have two big baseball games going at he same time the SEC should use the alternate channel to reach more viewers.

But they don’t.

Q. BloodRedHog asks: Do the Hogs have a top 8 national seed wrapped up or will the Vandy series determine this?

A. Nothing is written in stone but I’m about 90% sure that Arkansas will be hosting a regional and a super regional if they win that regional.

This will be a win for the fans who last year either had to watch at home or drive to Stillwater and fly to Chapel Hill.

Q. Hog In Iowa wants to know: If the Hogs are chosen as one of the 16 regional sites and then go on to host a super regional, how is the revenue from ticket sales divvied up with the NCAA?….

….Does potential attendance (tickets sold) play a part in deciding who hosts?

A. It’s not the only factor but yes, it matters. That’s why we sometimes see the host team as a two seed in that regional. In those cases the one seed is not in a position, usually because of inadequate facilities, to be an effective host. It doesn’t happen a lot but it does happen.

But we’ve also seen Arkansas go on the road a lot over the years in spite of the fact that regional and super regionals at Baum-Walker draw huge crowds.

Q. Randal Files at the Stadium Shoppe asks: How serious is the condition of Quincy McAdoo?

A. His grandmother has been posting on Facebook. She says he’s walking and getting stronger every day. This as opposed to rumors that he will never play football again. Will he miss the upcoming season? It seems likely that he will, but his physical condition is most important right now. If he sits out a season then so be it. But from what little we know about this situation it’s way too early to start making predictions about his football future.

Q. Razorboo wants to know: Why is KJ Jefferson left off of nearly every preseason QB list? His QB ranking has been as good as anyone the past two seasons but he and the Razorbacks get no respect.

A. There are a lot of preseason watch lists. ESPN has KJ at number 12 nationally and third in the SEC. 247 lists Jefferson at number 15 in the country and third in the SEC. Pro Football Focus has KJ as the number two returning QB in the SEC and Auburn daily lists him at number one. So that’s not exactly no respect.

Part of the issue with Jefferson right now is the fact that he has a new position coach and will be running a new offense. Until we see some games and how this is working, I can see why some services would have questions.

Q. Hogdogger asks: Does Dominique Johnson have a chance to show his skills since his torn ACL? I can’t wait to see him back to his pre injury self and drag players with him down the field.

A. He missed spring football but the last word I got was that he was expected back by August camp.

Q. sgiles says: I’m still confused about Ron Holland? How long does he (we) have to wait to see if Texas releases him?

A. Texas has until the end of this month. If they don’t release him he can apply for a waver. That could take several days. We may be looking at next month before we know anything about Holland but I’m told that he’s coming.

Q. Hawgredneck wants to know: Is there a Razorback coach that you really liked who got fired? Did you have mixed feelings when he or she got the ax?

A. Yes. The best example is Jack Crowe. He was a great guy. Shared a lot of stuff with me off the record. He also would ask for my advice which I thought was hilarious. He once told me that Frank Broyles was bugging him to switch to the I formation. Jack said he thought it was a bad idea because he didn’t really have a good I formation type tailback. Then he asked me what I thought he should do. I ended up telling him that from my experience of covering Frank as the AD, if you win he will keep you. If you lose he will fire you regardless of whether or not you take his advice or not. So you might as well use your own judgement.

Did I have mixed emotions when Jack got fired? Not really. I knew that he was an outstanding offensive coordinator but not an effective head coach. Therefore he should go back to what he did best.

He didn’t do that. He went to Jacksonville State where he was the head coach for 12 years. His overall record there was decent, 101-87, but I think he could have been a part a top level program with a lot more wins as an OC. But was his life, not mine.

(Last updated: 2023-05-15 16:43 PM)