Last Saturday, one-time Heisman-hopeful Tyler Wilson was forced to watch from the sideline as his Arkansas squad battled Alabama without him. The concussed QB saw a 52-0 beatdown of his fellow Hogs and — from what he said afterward — he didn’t see quite as much battling as he would have liked.
After the contest, Wilson went so far as to say that Arkansas’ players “at times, gave up.” Interim coach John L. Smith quickly moved past that remark and praised Wilson for taking on a leadership role within the team. Even Arkansas AD Jeff Long praised Wilson’s desire to win on Twitter. But still, the comments were a bit more controversial than what you normally expect a quarterback to say about his teammates.
For that reason, Wilson tried to explain yesterday what it was he was trying to say on Saturday:
“I was going into that room not to speak to the team, but to speak to the people because I’m an Arkansas kid. I know how much it means to me growing up, to a lot of you guys in this room, to a lot of the fans in the stands to see that display out there on the field, the product we displayed. And it’s tough.
And I wanted everybody to know that that is not acceptable here and going forward we are going to do the best we can. I’m going to do the best I can to keep everybody together and display a much better product out there on the field.”
OK, but that really doesn’t change the fact that some Arkansas players were accused of quitting by Wilson after Saturday’s game. Was it a case of a 20-something getting caught up in the emotion of the rout and saying something he’d later want to take back? No doubt in my mind.
But the fact is, the signal-caller called out his teammates. Now he says he’s going to “do the best I can to keep everybody together” following the Hogs’ 1-2 start. And Smith yesterday said “I don’t listen to that crap” when asked about fan criticism.
Arkansas has the talent on offense to turn things around if Wilson can be kept upright. But I’d foam the runways just in case. This once high-flying program with stratospheric expectations appears to be nosediving following last weekend’s whooping.