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Petrino/Dorrell Costume Becomes The Halloween Hit Of The Year

Cruel or funny?

I’m guessing if you’re connected to the families of Bobby Petrino or Jessica Dorrell, you’re probably filing this year’s hottest Halloween costume under “cruel.”  And it probably is.  Two adults made a mistake that millions of other adults make, but because one of the mistake-makers was a football coach, their mistake is the joke of jokes for 2012.

While I feel bad for Petrino, Dorrell and their loved ones for having to relive their very public mess-up, I once attended a Halloween party shortly after the death of John Denver with a broken guitar, broken glasses, and a tattered cowboy hat.  So it’s hard for me to call folks out over gallows humor like that displayed by
















More after the page turn…

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Fan Apathy An Issue At Arkansas?

When fans start leaving a game in the second quarter, it’s not a real good sign.  And that’s just what happened during Alabama’s thrashing of free-falling Arkansas.  What’s it mean?  According to Doc Harper of, it means AD Jeff Long needs to start worrying about the psyche of the Razorback fanbase:


“In a matter of eight days, events have resulted in fans blaming Athletic Director Jeff Long, former coach Bobby Petrino, the current coaches, and some have even blamed players. One has to wonder how much more the Arkansas fan base can absorb. After spending several seasons passionately pining for the removal of Houston Nutt, fans seemed to have the answer to all of their questions in Petrino. After a brief taste of the high life in college football, the program feels like it’s back at square one.”


So it only takes some Arkansas fans eight days and two losses to jump from their beloved cardinal-and-white (and now black and silver, too) ship?  Yes.  Is that an indictment of a fanbase made up frontrunners?  Not really.  It says more about today’s culture than it does about Arkansas fans.

With the prices fans have to pay to go to games, the smallest reason to stay home often leads many to do just that.  In an instant gratification society, the gratification needs to be both instant and constant.  Or else.

Don’t believe me?  Let Nick Saban lose back-to-back games and there would be a few Alabama fans who’d start barking about complacency.  Guaranteed.

As Harper astutely points out, the current situation in Fayetteville could impact who Long brings in as the school’s next coach:  “Now, if the new coach fails to generate instant enthusiasm, will fans have the patience to wait for success?”

The key word in his closing sentence?  Instant.

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Sumlin’s System Not As Pass-Happy At A&M As Most Expected

Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin tried to warn folks.

Even at SEC Media Days Texas A&M’s first-year coach told several reporters that if folks want to make his offense out to be a pass-crazy system, he’d be happy for them to do so.  That’s because he likes to the run the football, too.  Despite the big passing numbers at Houston, Sumlin’s offense does not ignore the run.  And with a mobile quarterback like Johnny Manziel, the pass-run ratio might look a whole lot different than what most SEC fans and media members expected.

Ask Florida’s Will Muschamp:


“You get the illusion that these guys are a passing team, but really they are not.”


In fact, in Saturday’s 20-17 loss to the Gators, the Aggies ran the ball 38 times and threw it just 31 times.  Granted, Manziel — who Muschamp said Texas recruited to play safety — was a redshirt freshman making his first start.  But it’s unlikely A&M will near Houston’s pass-run ratio of 682-to-420 at any point this season.  Not with the Aggies’ deep stable or running backs and Manziel’s mobility.

Bobby Petrino’s offense at Arkansas was viewed as pass-happy, too.  Certainly, the pass set up the run and no one can deny that.  But a fast check of last year’s stats shows that the Razorbacks passed the ball 471 times and ran it 412.  That’s balance (to keep the defense off-balance).  Don’t be surprised if Texas A&M’s numbers at the end of this season more closely resemble Arkansas’ 2011 pass-run ratio than Houston’s 2011 ratio.

Sumlin tried to tell us that all summer.

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The Tyrann Mathieu Dismissal At LSU: The Reaction

1. Jim Kleinpeter: “The Honey Badger’s days at LSU are done.”

2. John DeShazier: Mathieu ”doesn’t hold moronic exclusivity because he created a way to get kicked off the No. 1 team in the nation. But it doesn’t take long to call roll in his class.”

3. Scott Rabalais: “Overwhelming gloom and doom is to be expected at times like this, but unfounded.”

4. Stewart Mandel: The LSU offense “could be the difference between being No. 1 in the country or No. 4 in the SEC West.”

5. Glenn Guilbeau: “I am not changing my vote. LSU, which is No. 1 in the preseason USA TODAY Sports Coaches Poll, is still No. 1 on my ballot.”

6. Bruce Feldman:  ”I still see the Tigers as a top-five team but I’m moving Alabama in front of LSU now.”

7. Tommy Tomlinson: “As great as Mathieu is, the Tigers might go undefeated without him.”

8. Dennis Dodd: “In a preseason poll this close, in a conference this talented, Mathieu absolutely made a difference.” 

9. Mark Schlabach: “LSU lost one of its best players on Friday, and college football fans lost one of the sport’s greatest entertainers.”

10. Matt Hayes: “We build them up, and they eventually fall down. We make them stars, and they eventually are humbled.”

11. Jon Solomon: “At this rate, there could be an All-SEC castoff team. Bobby Petrino would coach once his apology tour ends.”

12. His LSU timeline.

13. Who will fill the void?

14. Other prominent players to receive the boot at LSU.

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Arkansas’ Smith At The Podium – 7/18/12

This one might be pretty entertaining.  John L. Smith steps to the mic to discuss his appointment as Arkansas’ interim coach.  Smith is a colorful guy off the field.  Throw in the fact that he’ll likely be asked about Bobby Petrino’s downfall, his own recent money woes, his shaky job status and the way he left his alma mater, Weber State, after just a few months on the job and you could have the best presser of Media Days.

We shall see…

* Smith talks about the great opportunity before him and calls “Hog nation” among the best fanbases in the country.

* Smith says adversity will make Arkansas’ team stronger.

* Smith said the welcome he got from Razorback fans led him to “wipe away tears.”  “We all have to relish our position in this program.”

* The coach says UA’s goal is still to win the BCS title.

* Asked if he wants to be the Arkansas coach beyond this year, Smith exclaimed: “Certainly.  Do I look stupid?!”  Asked if he had to go 14-0 to keep that job, Smith said that’s up to the athletic director.

* Smith says pressure has to roll off his players’ backs like water off a duck’s back.

* Smith says Missouri is a natural, geographical rival for Arkansas.  “To me it’s an automatic.  Now we get to develop that rivalry.”  He also said, “I see that developing into a big rivalry for us.”

* The coach said that his decision to leave Weber State was simply a matter of weighing options.  When one door opens, etc.

* Regarding recruiting, Smith says he’s told kids that no coach can guarantee he’ll be back.  “You’re not committing to an individual” is his sell.

* After a rough start — not knowing really how Media Days works and that he wouldn’t be introducing his players today — Smith is really getting fired-up.  His voice will rise depending on the question.  Not in an angry way, but in a pumped up kind of way.

* Smith said his wife updated him on Petrino’s situation, but it wasn’t something that he followed closely “from the outside.”

* He said he was “surprised” and “shocked” by what went down with Petrino.  He said “you pray for them” and hope the issues inside Petrino’s family can be remedied.

* Brandon Mitchell — UA’s backup quarterback — may not be the only Razorback to play a couple of positions this season.  He said fullback Kiero Small may play some linebacker because the Hogs aren’t deep at that position.  Mitchell has been working some at receiver.

* Smith says is LSU/Texas A&M becomes a season-ending game, Missouri/Arkansas would be a good season-ender.

* Smith said he got onto the radar of AD Jeff Long by talking to UA’s assistant coaches after the Petrino scandal broke.

* Smith said he talked to Petrino last week and that it was a good conversation.

* Smith’s high-pitched, loud voice is certainly unique to the league.  It’s a bit like someone stepping on a gas pedal.  He’ll answer for a minute or two in a normal tone and then he’ll get excited and BOOM… the voice goes up.

* Smith bragged on quarterback Tyler Wilson and his leadership abilities.


Our overall grad for Smith’s “performance” based on comfort, friendliness, openness… we’ll give him a 4 on a scale of 1-5.  He was friendly.  He was entertaining.  But he also didn’t seem to know how in the world a Media Days session was to work.  He tried to dance around a question about whether or not he approached Arkansas or vice versa, but — as noted above — he eventually gave an answer.  Smith may well lead the Razorbacks to their first SEC title, but we’ve got a feeling that we just saw Smith’s first and last appearance in Hoover.

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Call It What You Want, Mizzou’s Pinkel Has Got A Chip On His Shoulder

Over a pair of answers and about a 10-minute span, Missouri’s Gary Pinkel revealed what appeared to be a chip on his shoulder regarding the analysis — and he said there’s been “analysis of the analysis” — of how his program will fare in the big, bad SEC:


“The transition has been significant for me.  We’re doing things we never thought we’d be doing in this transition that’s taking place… I think the continuity of our staff has been real important.  You know we have a staff that’s been in place and we do what we do.  Are we changing how we recruit?  No.  Are we changing how we train our players?  No.  We do what we do.  We believe in what we do.  And that certainly will get tested and that’s fine…

You know our offense is a spread offense and people know about it.  We can do a lot of different things.  You know we were top 15 in the nation last year in rushing the football.  So we can go a lot of different ways with our offense depending on what we need to do in our personnel.  We’re gonna get tested.  We’re playing some great defenses.  We understand that.  But we’re going to do what we do and adjust accordingly as we always do as he season wears on so that we can play our best.


Taking note of the chip that seemed to be on Pinkel’s shoulder, one writer followed by asking if Missouri fans really have a chip on their shoulders because people seem to think they’ve been playing “JV” football and they are now headed to “the big league.”  Pinkel’s reply:


“You get a lot of ‘we’re playing SEC now and it’s this great league’ and — as I go around this summer, I’ve got a place down in Florida — and people come up to me and act like we’ve been playing a bunch of high schools teams.  We played in a pretty good league.  I don’t think it’s a chip necessarily.  To me it’s being a competitor.  I think as a competitor you get challenged a little bit… Bottom line you got to go out and prove yourself and I’m fine with it.  I have no problem with it… You gotta go out compete and earn respect.  You gotta go out and compete to win.  And the only way you’re gonna get respect is winning games.  That’s the only way it’s gonna happen.”


Uh, yeah, I’m gonna go ahead and just call that a chip on the shoulder.  Nothing wrong with that, of course.  And Pinkel will have to win — just as he says — to earn respect.  Even if he took a bit friendlier approach to matters, he’d still have to win games to earn respect.

A few years ago it was suggested that Bobby Petrino’s style of play wouldn’t work in the SEC (and we’re talking about his on-field style of play, mind you).  Turns out, he won a lot of games just doing his thing.

If Pinkel can mimic Petrino’s success, I don’t think anyone will be talking about Missouri having to earn anyone’s respect or Pinkel having to change his system.

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More Evidence That Arkansas Will Be Wearing New Football Duds This Fall

The University of Arkansas will be breaking out their third new uniform set since the arrival (and now departure) of Bobby Petrino five seasons ago.  After a fuzzy photo of three Razorback-ish unis hit the web last month, AD Jeff Long hinted that the school might be getting some new duds.

Yesterday, clearer photos of the uniforms — taken inside the team’s football facility, apparently — burned through the Razorback messageboards.  And yes, there will be a new black jersey thrown into the mix (shown at left).

I say this everytime a school unveils a black uniform: If everyone has a black uni, what’s special about it?

Ah, well, if Arkansas’ players respond the way Ohio’s players did last fall when they saw their own black unis (they went out and thumped Marshall after flat losing their minds — see the video below), then I guess that’s all that matters.


Ohio Football: Reaction to Black Jerseys

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Golf Clubs, Luggage And A Falcons Jacket From Petrino Being Auctioned Off

Last month, Bobby Petrino’s wrecked motorcycle — yep, the same one he was riding when he wrecked his career — was put on the auction block.  Now, several other items belonging to the former Razorbacks football coach are being auctioned off to benefit Goodwill of Springdale, Arkansas.

There are golf clubs and bags featuring the coach’s name and Razorback colors and logos.  There’s luggage.  And for the masochistic Atlanta fan, there’s even a Falcons jacket once owned by the team’s short-term ex-coach.

Petrino reportedly brought the items to the Goodwill store himself and donated them personally.  As of mid-day yesterday, there had been no bid on any of the items.

I wouldn’t feel too bad for the coach over all this.  Once the radioactivity of his downfall is hosed away “Silkwood” style and once a program gets desperate enough for a winner, Petrino will be back on some other school’s sideline raking in millions more and getting all new logo-emblazoned clubs, bags and jackets.

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Smith Says He’s “Gotta Be Me” At Arkansas

John L. Smith was hired to be the caretaker of the Arkansas football team for 2012.  As interim coach, he’ll walk back into a program — one that he left just five months ago — that is expected to be a Top 15 team or better in 2012.

But it doesn’t sound like he intends to just sit in the shadows.  Instead, he believes the Razorback program needs to get the word out that all is well in the Ozarks, despite the recent Bobby Petrino scandal and dismissal:


“I’m sure there is (an image problem), from the outside in particular.  That’s why we have to become maybe a little bit more outgoing as a program and let people know there is no problem… I think us as a team and as coaches, we have to mend that.”


That means being “accessible” and “approachable” when it comes to fans, media and even the Razorback players.  ”I just have to be myself,” Smith told  ”It’s going to change that way.  Bobby… I don’t know if a little more rigid is the word.  These kids are going to know that, “Hey, Coach Smith is going to kick you in the butt.  But he might hug you walking in the door.”

(Insert joke about “Petrino” and “rigid” being used in the same sentence… here.)

Talk to those in Arkansas post-scandal and you’ll find that Petrino wasn’t exactly buddy-buddy with his players or his co-workers.  About the only person to get “close” to Petrino during his time in Fayetteville — if you believe the backspin now being put on things — is the one young aide whom he shouldn’t have gotten so close to at all.

But whether you believe a kindler, gentler coach was needed at UA or not, there is definitely expected to be a different leadership style on display at Arkansas this fall.  Whether that will help or hurt the Hogs’ fortunes on the football field remains to be seen.

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John L. Smith Introduced At Arkansas

Saying “we’re gonna play for a national title,” John L. Smith was formally introduced as the new football coach at Arkansas this afternoon.

Smith, who had recently left a job as an assistant at Arkansas to become head coach at Weber State, said he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to guide a team he helped mold.

The new coach got a 10-month, $850,000 contract and by one account, “hit the ground running” today in a style dramatically different than the “clammed-up Bobby Petrino.”

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