Another season ends for Hog fans
by Tony Rhea
Another season of Razorback football has come and gone. The season ended a lot sooner than the fans wanted.
Over the past year, we have seen one coach leave, go to an opposing program, bring that team to the state and leave with a victory, and then take that team to a bowl game, probably the Cotton Bowl.
We saw two running backs drafted in the first round and a third back assume the starting role on a division leading NFL team.
What did we get? A NFL coach who left his team before his first season was even completed. He inherited an inexperienced team especially the defense and running back. His most experienced back was only 5’ 7” and about 170 lbs wet. Most of the preseason predictions picked Arkansas to finish last in the West. The season did not look bright.
After winning two close games against teams from smaller leagues and interference from a hurricane, the Hogs were scheduled to play four top ten teams within four weeks. I was hoping to win one and if we were really lucky two games. The Hogs did win one. Sure it was against an Auburn team that should have never been ranked, but the other three teams finished in the top 4 in the nation.
After losing by a combined 108 points to Alabama, Texas, and Florida, Arkansas came within one win from going bowling.
The one win could have come at Kentucky. It was a touch loss after leading 20-7 with 5 minutes left to the game and losing 21-20. For the final game on a cold rainy day (I was there), the Hogs won the ‘Boot’ by beating LSU with a last minute touchdown pass to win 31-30.
The season was not a total loss. That inexperienced defense shut LSU’s offense down after they took a 30-14 lead gaining a lot of experience for next season. That running back, Michael Smith, rushed for 1,072 yards and led the SEC in rushing for most of the season and finished 4th.
We did not make it to a bowl game. I believe that will change next year. The defense will be more experienced. We lose Casey Dick, but we will have Michigan transfer Ryan Mallett and Nathan Dick competing for the starting QB job. Micheal Smith should be back healthy with help from Dennis Johnson, who looked good against LSU rushing for 127 yards on 18 carries and one TD.
I think we will reach a bowel game next year and, if we could beat Ole Miss, it will be a much better Hog season.
Major, US Army
Fort Campbell, KY