Saturday, October 4, 2008

The Hogs are still struggling

Yes, it was another terrible day in Arkansas after the 12th-ranked Florida Gators (a team good and mad about a loss against Ole Miss last week) came to Fayetteville and smacked the Razorbacks all over the field.

We Razorbacks fans knew it was going to be a bad year, what with a new coach and a bunch of freshmen, but it's still hard to watch. In the end, the Hogs lost 38-7 and fell to 2-3 overall (0-2 in the SEC). Will we see some improvement next week against Auburn? That's hard to say, but the smart money is on Auburn, sadly.

Speaking of Auburn, they went to Vanderbilt today and lost 14-13 against a team that used to be an easy win. I'm not sure what the hell is going on with Vanderbilt, really, as that team now leads the SEC West and has gotten off to its first 5-0 start since World War II. Yes, Adolph Hitler was alive the last time Vanderbilt did this well. How's that for a bit of trivia?

At any rate -- Arkansas. I'm not so sure that the problem with the team is Casey Dick as I have assumed in the past. Dick is still not the greatest quarterback out there, but I couldn't help but notice that the offensive line for Arkansas is so awful that Dick spent most of the game simply running for his life. It's hard to find your receivers when you're dodging Gators all day long, seemingly.

How bad is Arkansas' offensive line? Florida sacked Dick once when they brought the dreaded three-man rush. If your offensive line can't turn back a three-man rush, you've got problems. Florida managed to hurry Dick into throwing an interception, to boot.

In spite of all that trouble, Dick was able to complete 19 of his 29 passes for 235 yards -- better statistically than Florida QB Tim Tebow's 17 completions for 215 yards on 26 attempts. Dick's got to struggle with some young receivers who tend to drop balls and make dumb decisions when they get them, too.

Like statistics? Here's another fascinating one. In the past three games, Arkansas has managed to score 31 points while holding their opponents to only 139 points. That sums everything up, doesn't it? Head Coach Bobby Petrino will probably burst a blood vessel in his head before the end of the season.

Indeed, you could see Petrino fuming here and there as Arkansas made one stupid penalty after another. And, let's not forget that the coach has absolutely no confidence in the kicking game. If it's fourth and long on the opponents 30 yard line, you can bet that Petrino will go for the first down rather than risk a field goal. That lack of confidence is disturbing, to say the least.

The only games Arkansas has won this year came against two scrub teams at the first of the season -- Western Illinois and Louisiana-Monroe. There's nothing to brag about there, of course, for two reasons -- Arkansas is supposed to beat teams like that and the Hogs barely managed to win those games.

Were there any bright spots? Actually, yes. First of all the aforementioned Casey Dick performed pretty well. And then there's running back Michael Smith who had 133 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries. This season may be a wash, but no one has told Smith yet. That's fortunate.

Also, keep in mind that Petrino is having to play a lot of true freshmen. Yes, former head coach Houston Nutt's miserable attempts at recruiting have put the Hogs in a position where there just aren't a lot of good, experienced players on the field. All those freshmen that Petrino has been stuck with will improve and should be considerably better next year.

Oh, and speaking of Houston "Boxcar" Nutt, his Ole Miss Rebels were kind enough to give Steve Spurrier and the South Carolina Gamecocks their first win in the SEC today. It appears that the Ole Ball Coach pulled off a win over the Ole Nutt Sack with a 31-24 victory. That means Ole Miss is 3-3 overall and 1-2 in the SEC and I couldn't be happier as Nutt is a filthy goon who deserves to fail everywhere he goes. Nutt and his white trash coaching staff head to No. 2 Alabama next week and ought to be beaten to a pulp when they come to Arkansas the following week.

I do hope Arkansas fans will welcome the former Razorbacks head coach by showering him with garbage throughout the game. I started advocating giving the Ole Nutt Sack the tar and feather treatment around 2000, but watching him covered with egg shells, coffee grounds and other assorted bits of trash would be almost as good.

I should stress that I have absolutely nothing against Ole Miss. I just hate that team's coach with a white passion and love to see him fail. He screwed the Razorbacks, folks, and it's a shame that it's time for Ole Miss to be sold a bunch of crap and snake oil. They'll wise up and run him off soon enough. Maybe he'll find success coaching junior high ball one of these days.

Benton Panthers get mercy ruled!

In Arkansas high school football, the mercy rule is put in place when a team is ahead by 35 points. Under that rule, the clock simply isn't stopped unless you've got official time outs and things like that.

Friday night, my beloved Benton Panthers traveled to Lake Hamilton and the mercy rule was put in place sometime in the second half. That's one of the most humiliating thing that can happen to a high school team, by the way.

The Panthers, of course, lost 56-21 and fell to 1-4 on the season (the only victory so far came against Conway this year). Things probably won't get much better next week when the Texarkana Razorbacks come to town next week.

Two years ago, one of the funniest things I've heard in a high school football game happened when Texarkana came to Benton. There was this Texarkana coach who wore his baseball cap backward (I nicknamed him Hatty McBackward) and screamed at his team the entire game.

Dad and I always sit on the visitor's side, and Hatty kept screaming even as his team was rolling over Benton. In the fourth quarter, I heard someone (obviously a Benton fan) yell, "Settle down, coach! You're up 42 to 14!"

Here's hoping Benton has a better game against Texarkana on Friday.


just an OldGuy said...

I feel your pain, the current joke in my neck of woods (yeah I'm an Arkansan) is that the Gators took a time out and walked off the field, three plays later the Hogs scored.
It's gonna be a long season.

The Natural State Hawg said...

Yes, terribly long. We knew it was coming but it's hard to watch. Geez... said...


We seem to have a lot in common these days.

Conway lost again to fall to 0-5 on the year. Next up is Little Rock Central.

As my for my beloved East Carolina Pirates, we had an open date weekend! Ya! Up next is the Virginia Cavaliers. We play them at Scott Stadium. So though we beat them last year and they are down right now, it ought to be a good game.

I did see some of the Razorback game. The Hogs looked good at times. On one series, they had the Gators 1st down and 35 to go. They ended up making them punt - and promptly fumbled the ball. When you are a mediocre team, you just can't do those things.

Finally, as a friendly reminder, the 10th grade Wampus Cats football team plays at Benton Monday. The kickoff is at 6:00. Hope to see you there.

The Natural State Hawg said...


Indeed, we do have some things in common. Benton is terrible this year, but I do believe you've got the edge with East Carolina. Arkansas has disappointed all year long, whereas your Pirates have raised some eyebrows this year.

I'm afraid I'll miss the Conway/Benton game. My health is not real stellar right now and I've been advised to rest as much as I can.

So I shall...