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UltimateHog
Arkansas Fan
Springfield, MO
Member since Dec 2011
53883 posts

State of the Program: ‘No quick fix’ for Arkansas, but Razorbacks have the blueprint
LINK

quote:

Late in the first half of Arkansas’ April 6 spring game, quarterback Ben Hicks found freshman receiver Trey Knox over the middle of the field. Knox snatched the ball out of the air, turned upfield and headed toward paydirt, juking safety Kamren Curl on the way there.

The electric 45-yard touchdown was one of the highlights of the spring game — and a sign of hope.

“He’s definitely a difference-maker,” coach Chad Morris said afterward. “But, again, we’ve seen that. That’s been consistent all spring. And that’s what’s probably been impressive about Trey. A lot of times, freshmen get in there and they hit a wall. And Trey has really worked hard to get through that.”

Wait, there’s more. Another freshman receiver, Shamar Nash, hauled in a 48-yard reception during the game. Junior college transfer Myron Cunningham started the contest at left tackle. Freshman cornerback Devin Bush intercepted a pass and returned it 55 yards for a touchdown. Freshmen defensive linemen Eric Gregory and Mataio Soli combined for three sacks and four tackles for loss.

All that is a sign that Morris and his staff are beginning to improve the overall talent level at Arkansas, which had just 16 four- or five-star prospects on the roster last season — Morris’ first with the Hogs. In 2019, Arkansas signed 11 such prospects.

Twelve newcomers enrolled early and went through spring ball. Knox, a four-star prospect from Murfreesboro (Tenn.) Blackman, is showing the kind of difference-making talent that led offensive coordinator Joe Craddock to wonder if Arkansas had any chance of signing him.

“Trey Knox, when we got him on campus, I didn’t think we’d ever see him again, honestly,” Craddock told The Athletic earlier this year. “I told the staff, ‘I think he liked it here, but I don’t know if we’ll see him.’ (Receivers coach Justin) Stepp just kept on developing a relationship with him.”

Craddock had a similar feeling about Nash, a four-star prospect who is from Memphis but played his senior season at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.

“We loved his film, found out he went to IMG and we were like, ‘Well, we may not see him again, either,’ ” Craddock admitted. “To sign those two kids mid-year was huge for us.”

It should get even better once the rest of Arkansas’ class arrives this summer. Four-star receivers Treylon Burks and T.Q. Jackson will join Knox and Nash. Then there is four-star prospect Hudson Henry, one of the top tight end recruits in the country; he is from Little Rock and an Arkansas legacy. His dad, Mark, played for the Razorbacks from 1988-91. One of his brothers — Hunter — was an All-American at tight end for the Hogs and now is playing for the Los Angeles Chargers. Another brother, Hayden, is an Arkansas linebacker.

Craddock conceded that “it would’ve been really bad” if Arkansas wasn’t able to land Hudson Henry. It was so important, he said, that coaches purposefully worked extra tight end stuff into the offense early last season to show Hudson that he would be used extensively. When Morris and Craddock were at SMU, there was “a misconception” that they didn’t use tight ends, Craddock said.

“(Predecessor) June (Jones) didn’t have any tight ends on the roster when we got there, so we had to make some tight ends,” Craddock said. “Well, when you ‘make’ a tight end, you don’t want to feature that guy.”

Morris used tight ends extensively when he was the offensive coordinator at Clemson, so it became vital to show Henry that his talent wouldn’t go to waste if he became a Razorback. Craddock said when a tight end would catch a touchdown pass in practice last season, he would send a video of it via Snapchat to Henry.

“I’m serious,” he said. “It was a big deal. We had to really go back and show him, when our offense is what we want it to be, it’s a heavily involved tight end offense.”

And that was the biggest problem: Arkansas’ offense in the first season of the Morris Era was nowhere near what he wants it to look like. The results reflected that, with the Razorbacks finishing a dismal 2-10 overall and 0-8 in the SEC. It was arguably the worst season in Arkansas football history.

It won’t be easy to climb out of that rut against an SEC West schedule. But Arkansas’ freshman class is a sign that Morris and his staff are working hard at righting the ship.
This post was edited on 5/8 at 4:42 pm


TheCheshireHog
Arkansas Fan
Cashew Chicken Country
Member since Oct 2010
34468 posts
 Online 

re: State of the Program: ‘No quick fix’ for Arkansas, but Razorbacks have the blueprint
If you slipped and fell and accidentally copied and pasted that article in the process then we could all accidentally read it.


UltimateHog
Arkansas Fan
Springfield, MO
Member since Dec 2011
53883 posts

re: State of the Program: ‘No quick fix’ for Arkansas, but Razorbacks have the blueprint
It's like 5 pages tbh. Huge article. I ran out of characters just trying to post the first part before the depth chart analysis.

I posted as much as I could of the first part in OP and the last little bit below.


quote:

Final assessment

Arkansas still has a long way to go before it can be considered a legitimate threat in the SEC West. The majority of the most talented players on the roster are underclassmen, and Morris’ offense won’t operate at its full, “hammer-down” capacity until some of those guys are more experienced.

The Razorbacks need to show signs of life this season. That means going unbeaten through a light non-conference schedule and being competitive during the SEC slate. Arkansas doesn’t have to make a bowl this season — if it does, that would be a huge marker of progress — but four or five wins are a must in Year 2 under Morris. Otherwise, Arkansas’ passionate, statewide fan base will begin to lose patience.
This post was edited on 5/8 at 4:40 pm


ArHog
Arkansas Fan
On the Muss Buss
Member since Jan 2008
19076 posts

re: State of the Program: ‘No quick fix’ for Arkansas, but Razorbacks have the blueprint
Meh


Full tilt boogie and Hammer down BS has subsided. Chadillac has realized what he's gotten himself into.


Unless Starkel comes in and takes over the QB position, another year going ofer in the SEC.


DaleDenton
Baylor Fan
Member since Jun 2010
39998 posts

re: State of the Program: ‘No quick fix’ for Arkansas, but Razorbacks have the blueprint
quote:

but four or five wins are a must in Year 2 under Morris


Such a high bar.



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31
cubsfan5150
Arkansas Fan
Member since Nov 2007
8019 posts

re: State of the Program: ‘No quick fix’ for Arkansas, but Razorbacks have the blueprint
#footballexpert


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10
TheCheshireHog
Arkansas Fan
Cashew Chicken Country
Member since Oct 2010
34468 posts
 Online 

re: State of the Program: ‘No quick fix’ for Arkansas, but Razorbacks have the blueprint
Thank you sir. Very good read and I appreciate the honesty by Craddock there. Hopefully they get it turned around.


UltimateHog
Arkansas Fan
Springfield, MO
Member since Dec 2011
53883 posts

re: State of the Program: ‘No quick fix’ for Arkansas, but Razorbacks have the blueprint
quote:

The Arkansas defense returns several promising players, and the recruiting class added several more. Still, the Hogs’ defense has struggled for several seasons now; Arkansas finished 79th in total defense and 108th in scoring defense nationally last season. Longtime SEC defensive coordinator John Chavis is back for his second season in Fayetteville, and before the spring began, he told The Athletic that senior linebacker De’Jon Harris and senior defensive lineman McTelvin Agim are about the only two guys returning who he could confidently pencil in as 2019 starters.

“It was a tough year for everybody,” Chavis said. “It’s not our standard. We’ve got to get better in a lot of areas. Some of it is recruiting, but a lot of it is developing. We’ve got good talent here.”

Because of Morris’ offensive pedigree, most of the focus will remain on that side of the ball. And last season, that unit fell far, far short of his expectations.

“There is no quick fix,” Morris told The Athletic. “One, it’s got to start with the quarterback. We have to get consistent quarterback play, and we didn’t have that. It’s nothing against those guys; we just didn’t have consistent quarterback play. And when that position isn’t consistent, everything else is magnified.”

Biggest on-field question
Quarterback is the most pressing on-field question facing this Arkansas team.

Cole Kelley started the 2018 season opener but was replaced by Ty Storey after three games. Neither played consistently well in Morris’ up-tempo, no-huddle offense. Arkansas was 114th nationally in scoring offense — just 21.7 points per game — and 98th in passing offense. Kelley (to FCS member Southeastern Louisiana) and Storey (Western Kentucky) transferred after the season, around the time Morris and his staff were trying to woo graduate transfers.

Hicks — who played for Morris and Craddock at SMU — will play his final season at Arkansas. He went through spring practice with the Razorbacks and enters the summer as the front-runner to start the opener.


Hicks ended his SMU career as the Mustangs’ career leader in passing yards, touchdown passes and total offense. He brings a high level of knowledge of Morris’ system to Arkansas, which could help jump-start the Razorbacks’ revival. But Hicks hasn’t played against an SEC schedule and was somewhat turnover-prone at SMU; he threw 71 touchdown passes but also 34 interceptions.

There’s also Nick Starkel, a graduate transfer from Texas A&M. He passed for 1,962 yards, 15 touchdowns and six interceptions in his Aggies career; he lost out to Kellen Mond in A&M’s quarterback battle last season. Starkel — who has two years of eligibility — isn’t on campus yet but will push Hicks for the starting job once he arrives.

“I’m excited to get this team back to where it belongs and where it deserves to be,” Hicks told The Athletic. “I’ve heard Coach Morris talk about how this state just wants to win games and be relevant again. I’m doing all I can to help us get to that point. I think we’ve got the pieces to do it.”

With more experience at quarterback and talent at running back and receiver, a lot of the Razorbacks’ offensive success will be determined by the line. Arkansas’ line was considered the best in the SEC early in the Bret Bielema era, when Sam Pittman was the Hogs’ O-line coach. But once Pittman left before the 2016 season, the Razorbacks’ line plummeted and became one of the SEC’s worst.

In each of the past three seasons, Arkansas finished near the bottom of the SEC in sacks allowed. The Razorbacks also rushed for just 3.91 yards per carry last season as a team, next-to-last in the SEC.

Morris arrived in Fayetteville in December 2017 promising to “get in the left lane” and “put the hammer down” offensively. But that simply won’t happen until the Hogs get better players — and that starts with the quarterback.
This post was edited on 5/8 at 7:23 pm


UltimateHog
Arkansas Fan
Springfield, MO
Member since Dec 2011
53883 posts

re: State of the Program: ‘No quick fix’ for Arkansas, but Razorbacks have the blueprint
quote:

Schedule analysis


Last season, Arkansas’ open date didn’t come until early November. By that point, the Razorbacks were 2-7 and knew they wouldn’t go bowling.

This season is different. The Razorbacks have two open dates; the first comes in early October, and the second is in mid-November.

Arkansas lost two non-conference games to Group of Five opponents — North Texas and Colorado State — last season. The Razorbacks get another shot at Colorado State in 2019, with the Rams coming to Fayetteville on Sept. 14. The other non-conference games seem eminently winnable, with FCS member Portland State (Aug. 31), San Jose State (Sept. 21) and Western Kentucky (Nov. 9) visiting Arkansas.

If that non-conference slate seems absurdly light, remember that the Razorbacks were supposed to play at Michigan in 2019. The Wolverines canceled that home-and-home in 2016 after revamping their series with Notre Dame.

The flip side: This is a tough season, schedule-wise, because of Arkansas’ commitment to playing in Little Rock and playing Texas A&M every year in Arlington, Texas. The Razorbacks will play Missouri on Nov. 30 in Little Rock — a nod to tradition that keeps one home game away from campus each year.

In the old days, Arkansas played half its home games in the state capital in an effort to give the entire state a chance to see the Razorbacks play. The school now remains contractually obligated to play one game at War Memorial Stadium — a venue in desperate need of modernization. Recently, Arkansas announced that in every odd-numbered year, it would host Missouri there.

Former athletic director Jeff Long wanted to move all home games to the Fayetteville campus but was rebuffed by big-money Little Rock donors — and later was fired. Soon after current athletic director Hunter Yurachek took over, he announced the new Missouri agreement.

Arkansas technically will be the “home” team this season against Texas A&M, which means the Hogs should have four conference games in Fayetteville. Alas, they instead will have only two — Oct. 19 against Auburn and Nov. 2 against Mississippi State.

Like the rest of the SEC, Arkansas has top-of-the-line facilities in Fayetteville. The school recently completed a $160 million renovation to Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. But its annual neutral-site game with the Aggies and its insistence on continuing to play in Little Rock costs it one or two chances every year to show all of that to recruits on official visits.

This season’s SEC rotating divisional crossover game comes Oct. 12 at Kentucky, a team the Hogs haven’t played since 2012.


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30
DaleDenton
Baylor Fan
Member since Jun 2010
39998 posts

re: State of the Program: ‘No quick fix’ for Arkansas, but Razorbacks have the blueprint
Not sure who the author is or who is contributing to the statement that Chad is ok going 0-16 or 1-15 In the sec as long as he wins the non con schedule this year.

0-16 who have to yield major changes, no? Not even smile or bert was that bad.


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ArHog
Arkansas Fan
On the Muss Buss
Member since Jan 2008
19076 posts

re: State of the Program: ‘No quick fix’ for Arkansas, but Razorbacks have the blueprint
Losing coaching record Coach will compete in the SEC...


Makes sense



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02
Inadvertent Whistle
Arkansas Fan
Member since Nov 2015
968 posts

re: State of the Program: ‘No quick fix’ for Arkansas, but Razorbacks have the blueprint
I think we have enough talent at QB to compete. Offensive line is just as scary as last year. I don't feel like we're any better there.


STLhog
Arkansas Fan
Nashville, TN
Member since Jan 2015
9566 posts

re: State of the Program: ‘No quick fix’ for Arkansas, but Razorbacks have the blueprint
Don’t even care.

Wake me up when basketball starts. Will be the second year in a row of not attending a game for the first time since I could whipe my own ass.


BadPiggy
NW Arkansas
Member since Jan 2015
131 posts

re: State of the Program: ‘No quick fix’ for Arkansas, but Razorbacks have the blueprint
Comments on this thread reads like "The Book of Bitterness" from the old Alt.Bitterness usenet from back in the day before most knew what the internet was.

Keepers of that collection of posts kept committing suicide. Please call 1-800-273-8255 if it begins to get too overwhelming or begin to think about jumping off the ledge.


STLhog
Arkansas Fan
Nashville, TN
Member since Jan 2015
9566 posts

re: State of the Program: ‘No quick fix’ for Arkansas, but Razorbacks have the blueprint
Can only go up from rock bottom my friend.

And we have been feeding down there for 2, going on 3 years now.


BadPiggy
NW Arkansas
Member since Jan 2015
131 posts

re: State of the Program: ‘No quick fix’ for Arkansas, but Razorbacks have the blueprint
Oh I agree. But even in the best circumstances it takes some time to change the direction of it changes at all. Dont know if Morris is up to the task or not, but do know those responsible for where we got to, aren't here anymore. To build a foundation, you have to clear away the problems to a clean base to build a foundation. That should have been last year. You cant.build anything without preparing the job site and building a foundation. This year should be the foundation. Nothing more. Season 3 should be when you really begin building upward. I work on infrastructure projects, and it often appears nothing is being done, when in reality the correct prep work has to happen, sometimes for long periods, before progress becomes visible to Joe/Jane public.

Bitterness to Long/Fatbert is one thing, but at this point last season is done, and it was going to be bad no matter who was running the show.

FWIW, I have the same view for basketball.


Beached Tusky
Arkansas Fan
Bert-Free Zone
Member since Oct 2016
491 posts

re: State of the Program: ‘No quick fix’ for Arkansas, but Razorbacks have the blueprint
I won’t pay a goddamn cent to support Arkansas Razorback football until they show something more than a half-assed commitment to winning.

I will happily pay top dollar to follow DVH to Omaha and support a Razorback program that’s actually shown a consistent commitment to winning, but the football and basketball programs are absolute shitshows until proven otherwise.

It may happen with the leadership of Yurachek and Morris, but Morris must out-recruit piece of shite Ole Miss and MSU this next cycle or forget trying to compete against the programs in the SEC that actually care about winning football.
Resources are there to get the players, but the program has to be committed to making it happen.... that’s not on Morris. It’s not like that idiot Chizik had anything to do with assembling Auburn’s championship team.


DaleDenton
Baylor Fan
Member since Jun 2010
39998 posts

re: State of the Program: ‘No quick fix’ for Arkansas, but Razorbacks have the blueprint
So when the AD starts the adds soon with "great" ticket packages for games this year or asking for season ticket renewals next year, Chad has had an SEC schedule of Mizzou x 2, Ole Miss x 2, Ms State x 2, aggy x 2, vandy and Kentucky.

10 winnable games over a 2 year span, but oh and fricking 16 is said to be acceptable going into year 3.


oklahogjr
Arizona State Fan
Gold Membership
Member since Jan 2010
27785 posts

re: State of the Program: ‘No quick fix’ for Arkansas, but Razorbacks have the blueprint
if he can't win an sec game next year lets find someone who can in year 3 cause i'll be way fricking over this experiment.


STLhog
Arkansas Fan
Nashville, TN
Member since Jan 2015
9566 posts

re: State of the Program: ‘No quick fix’ for Arkansas, but Razorbacks have the blueprint
quote:

football and basketball programs are absolute shitshows


Easy there turbo.

One is not the same here.


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