The Case for Preferred Walk-ons, Top Arkansas Miracle Finishes & What Teams Do Hog Fans Hate the Most?

By Mike Irwin
on 2023-02-07 17:56 PM

Q. Our first question this week is from Joe Lemons who wants to know: Do you think the defense regressed against South Carolina? I love Muss but they almost lost yet another road game because Carolina was getting easy layups and dunks in the second half. Come on. This was the easiest road game on the schedule.

A. That game was almost a repeat of the South Carolina-Kentucky game except that the Gamecocks played the ‘Cats in Rupp and they beat ’em. They did it by hitting threes, drawing Kentucky’s defense out toward the three point line which allowed South Carolina to score inside.

In the first half of the Arkansas-South Carolina game the Gamecocks were missing their three pointers and ended up down by as many as 13 points.

The second half was a different story. They started hitting those threes which affected Arkansas the way it affected Kentucky. The interior defense wasn’t as good as it was in the first half.

But that game got too close for comfort because Arkansas started taking too many threes and missing them. The Hogs had six missed three pointers and nine missed shots altogether in six minutes and 41 seconds of scoreless basketball while the Gamecocks went on a 10-0 run.

But give Arkansas credit. It played really good defense on South Carolina’s last three possessions and scored 7 points in that stretch to win the game.

Never criticize a win, especially on the road. They are too hard to come by.

Q. Curt Carpenter asks: Do you see our basketball team finishing above five hundred in the SEC? I don’t and if they don’t beat Kentucky at BWA I see them below five hundred and maybe out of the NCAA tournament.

A. If I had to guess right now I’d say they’ll go 4-4 over the final 8 games of the regular season. That would leave Arkansas at 9-9 in league play. If they can get Nick Smith Jr. back by Saturday and get him ready the A&M game on the 15th they might win in College Station and maybe split the Alabama and Tennessee road games. That would be 11-7. But but to me that’s a stretch.

I disagree with you about not making the NCAA tournament. I think they’re in if they win three more at home, regardless of what happens on the road. I also think they can go 2-1 in the SEC tournament with would factor in as far as getting into the NCAA Tournament.

Q. RazorAlex88 Whew! We narrowly avoided being on the wrong end of a miracle! What are your top moments where we were on the right end of a miracle (across all sports)?
What are the top moments being on the wrong end?

A. All sports? I don’t have enough time to research that. I’ll do football, basketball and baseball.

For football miracle, what else? The miracle on Markham. Matt Jones to Decori Birmingham. A 31 yard TD pass with :09 left as Arkansas beat LSU 21-20. Anybody who was there or saw it on TV will ever forget it.

Basketball miracle. There’s really five or six but the topper has to be U.S. Reed’s half court shot against Louisville in Austin at the buzzer to send Arkansas to the 1981 Elite Eight in New Orleans.

Baseball Miracle? Has to be Brady Toops 9th inning two-out grand slam against Wichita State in the 2004 Fayetteville NCAA regional. The Hogs trailed 9-7 and were down to their last strike in that game when Toops made it 11-9. They ended up going to Omaha after that. DVH’s first CWS at Arkansas.

Football wrong end? Gotta be that pass play in the ’69 Texas game. James Street to Randy Peschel. Something called Right 53 Veer pass. Texas won 15-14. I still don’t know how they pulled that off. Peschel was double covered. Street was a running QB, not a passer.

Basketball wrong end? A ridiculous hanging one-handed, looping layup from about eight feet out by a guy named Bob Heaton which allowed Indiana State and Larry Bird to keep Arkansas from going to the ’79 Final Four.

Baseball wrong end? What else? That two-out 9th inning dropped foul ball against Oregon State in 2018. Cost Arkansas a national championship.

Q. Hogdogger asks: Does it seem like the Hogs are getting more fouls called per game than they have the past two seasons? Maybe it’s just that SEC teams are more aggressive this year than in the past and that’s a factor.

A. There were really two back-to-back road games where it was totally crazy. At Vanderbilt where 50 total fouls were called. Twenty against Vandy and 30 against Arkansas. Four days later in Columbia Arkansas was whistled for 33 fouls, Mizzou just 23, 56 total fouls. That’s nuts. There are only 40 minutes in a game.

Q. parallaxpig says: Couple of years ago there was discussion about re-modeling BWA. I have seen discussion on Hogville about replacing BWA. Where does any of that currently stand?

A. It’s still all rumors. I keep hearing that they’re trying to raise the money to renovate Bud Walton. That what they want to do is going to cost a lot. Some fans have claimed on the Internet that they are considering tearing down Bud Walton and building a totally new replacement. Somebody that I know who believes that rumor claims that there’s no way to renovate Bud Walton in the off season. It would take more time than that so they’d have to play home games in Barnhill for a season.

Sorry. I don’t believe that rumor. I hope I don’t turn out to be wrong because replacing the house that Nolan built would be nuts.

Q. Revolution says: I liked Mike Anderson, but grew frustrated with his teams’ inability to advance in the NCAA Tournament. Never heard a word, though, negative in his leadership or character. Do you have a story that shows who he was away from what we saw in the games?

A. Not a specific story just a very frank conversation with somebody very close to Mike who told me that his recruiting problems, especially in-state, came from his refusal to bend the rules even a little bit. He said that Mike was so honest and straight up with recruits he wouldn’t be anything but completely honest with them when sometimes all he had to do was say nothing.

I like Mike Anderson. He’s one of the nicest coaches I’ve ever been around. A quality human being in every sense of the word.

Q. hogsmama wants to know: Why does Mike Neighbors keep calling timeouts in the last seconds of the games when we are ahead? Seems that gives the other team time to set up plays. Auburn had no timeouts left today and he gives him one.

A. I’d have to go back and research other games and I’m not going to do that but I’ve checked and double checked the last few seconds of Sundays’ Auburn game. The time out that was called with 7.1 seconds left was called by Auburn. At that time they still had two times outs left.

Look, Arkansas Arkansas got lucky when Auburn missed two free throws that could have put them ahead with 7 seconds left. Other other hand you have to give Arkansas credit for playing great defense and forcing a five second call on the inbounds pass that followed. That was the key play of the game.

Now should Arkansas fans be concerned about yet another blown big lead at halftime? Yes. This keeps happening. It’s Mike Neighbors job to figure this out and get it stopped.

Right now they are tied for 6th at 5-5. They can’t catch South Carolina, LSU or Tennessee but a goal for Arkansas would be to finish strong and pass Ole Miss and Alabama to finish 4th in the SEC. That would stop a lot of the frustration by Arkansas fans.

Q. Marty Byrde’s proxy says: We know Coach Enos and I, for one, welcome him back. What was your first impression with the other new coaches? So far, I like what they seem to bring to the team.

A. I think Travis Williams was a very good hire as defensive coordinator. Arkansas fans who were frustrating by Barry Odom three man front will like Williams aggressive four-man front. He really goes after opposing quarterbacks. He’s also a very good recruiter. One of the top young coordinators in the country.

Getting Williams allowed Pittman to take Marcus Woodson away from Florida State. Woodson took the Seminoles from 13th in the ACC to number one in pass defense. He’s also a good recruiter and a good fit with Williams because they have worked together before.

The new tight ends coach Morgan Turner, they got really lucky there. Turner had been at Stanford for 13 seasons doing a great job recruiting and developing tight ends. The only reason they got him was because his head coach decided to retire. He’s already had an impact on Arkansas recruiting.

The other new staffer is Deron Wilson. He’s a cornerback coach with success at McNeese State and UT San Antonio. That landed him a job as an analyst working with cornerbacks at Florida. Sam Pittman said he was considering LSU and another unnamed school but Arkansas was the first to make him an offer and he accepted.

Q. In reference to several preferred walk-ons signing with the Razorbacks over the past few days…..
Doug Reeves says: Another ‘preferred walk on’!!! Come on, coach!!!

But…Patty Nelson responds: I am happy Burlsworth walked on, Drew Morgan walked on Grant Morgan walked on

A. I’ll go with Patty Nelson’s observation. Every decent coach I’ve ever bee around at Arkansas has touted the importance of the preferred walk on program. It doesn’t cost you anything. These kids come in, usually with non power 5 offers, and they come here because they are on fire to be Razorbacks. You want those guys. You need them. Yes, some of them will never make an impact on the field

Q. Mousetown says: Baseball season is just days away. We have a lot of new guys. What do you think going in?

A. Dave Van Horn said at the first swatter’s Club lunch on Sunday that the chemistry of this team is great. That’s important with so many newcomers. All three of the position players coming back have been impressive in scrimmages so far. Payton Stovall has hit some home runs. So has Jace Bohrofen. They’re both captains. Brady Slavens has lost weight but he’s been amazing at the plate. I saw him it a 3 run home run one of the scrimmages. Jared Wegner, the transfer from Creighton has been swinging a big bat. He had a solo home run on Sunday. Caleb Cali, a Florida JCO transfer, hit a home run off the top of the batters eye on Sunday. So the hitting has been really good.
The projected starters on the mound have looked good. We’re talking Will McEntire, Jaxon Wiggins and Hagen Smith. They’ve got two more who could start on weekends if necessary. Plus about five bullpen arms that are looking good right now.

Q. Lanny wants to know: What’s your opinion of the Hogville poll showing the most hated SEC teams by Hog fans? Do you think it’s accurate?

I think so. There might be a few teams that would poll higher or lower if you polled the entire fan base.

Let’s take a look at the results so far.

The Aggies top the list. That’s no surprise to me. Auburn 2nd? Maybe that’s a thing this week because Walker White committed to Auburn. Maybe it’s a Gus Malzhan/Chad Morris backlash from two years ago. Hog fans don’t like Hugh Freeze either and now he’s at Auburn.

Ole Miss 3rd, I get that. There’s always been a rivalry thing with Ole Miss. Some of that is Houston Nutt when he was there. Hog fans ripped Hugh Freeze for his alleged cheating at Ole Miss and Arkansas fans don’t care much care for Lane Kiffin the way he agreed to take the Arkansas job and then tried to get Hunter Yurachek into a bidding war with Ole Miss.

However even though I make fun of Kiffin he’s actually a not a bad guy. I loved what he had to say about Mike Leach after Leach passed away last December.

Mizzou, they’d be right behind the Aggies on my list. I think they’re too far down at 4th. But maybe Hog fans just don’t think about them much.

And LSU at 5th??? I figured they’d be as high as second. Maybe that’s a Hogville thing.

Now look at this. Teams at the bottom of the Arkansas hate list, or teams Arkansas fans aren’t really mad at.

Kentucky and South Carolina tied for first as the least disliked team. That’s gotta be more of a, We don’t really think about those two teams one way or another, thing.

Georgia. I get that. Kirby Smart’s ties to Sam Pittman put Georgia in a positive light with Arkansas fans plus Georgia fans are probably the least obnoxious in the entire SEC.

Florida, I think their standing in this poll is more due to the fact that Arkansas hasn’t played them a lot over the past 8-10 years. There was a time back around 2009 when Arkansas fans didn’t like Florida at all.

Alabama, I get that. They’re the best football program in history of college football with the top two coaches ever in Bear Bryant and Nick Saban. I think most Hog fans respect that. They may be frustrated by 16 straight losses to the Tide but accept the fact that Bama is a great program.


(Last updated: 2023-02-07 17:56 PM)