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Arkansas Unveils New Uniforms: Black Jerseys, Black Pants, White Helmets, Mix And Match

Right about now we should all just get ready for the day when each and every college football and basketball program features as many mix-and-match options as the 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates.  One, it’s a good way to sell more merchandise to fans (and schools are desperate for any new revenue streams they can create).  Two, recruits and players eat up oddball uniforms.

For those who don’t agree with that last part, you’re most likely from a different day and a different age.  Just watch this video to see how one football team lost their ever-lovin’ minds when handed black unis.  It’s crazy, but it sells.

Today Arkansas unveiled their new 2012 duds and what everyone expected… we got:


* Black jerseys (Nike calls it “anthracite”), cardinal jerseys and white jerseys.  All with gradated numbers in a new font.  Silver/gray is included in some areas of the design.

* Black pants, cardinal pants and white pants.

* Cardinal helmets and new white helmets.


Considering what else is out there in the world today — Oregon’s umpteen designs, for example — these aren’t the worst things to ever hit the gridiron.  Unless, of course, you’re a Razorback traditionalist, in which case the all-black number is probably making you lose your sooie.  But the other options are rather similar to what the Hogs have worn the past two years under Bobby Petrino.

According to Arkansas AD Jeff Long:


“We can do a little mixing and matching.  Overall we’ve been very conservative.  We’ve made it cutting edge.  We’ve made it futuristic.  We’ve stayed conservative.  We’re not going wild with it.”



We wouldn’t rank these as poorly as we did Missouri’s new alternate helmet (which looks like someone fired a yellow paintball at it).  And who knows what Mississippi State will unveil later this summer or how “shocking” that uniform might be?

So in the grand scheme of things, UA’s new unis are pretty much par for the course in 2012.  But this writer can’t shake the feeling that we’ll all someday look back on the this era just as we currently look back on some of the schlock and garbage that was trotted out during the 1970s — with great embarrassment.

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More Photos Of Hogs’ New Football Uniforms

Arkansas’ new football uniforms for 2012 will be unveiled tomorrow morning.  According to school, the Razorbacks’ new duds will “show respect to the past” while also incorporating “more modern elements.”

Those modern elements include gradated numbers, some silver text and — most likely — a new black or dark charcoal uniform.

UA will release a 15-minute video at 11am ET tomorrow.

Recruits and players will like the “more modern elements.”  Old coots — like myself — and traditionalists will likely ask how the new unis “show respect to the past,” aside from still featuring cardinal and white.

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Report: Stanford Approaches Long; Plus Conspiracy Theories And A Rumor

Fayetteville television station KNWA-TV — Eazy-E and Ice Cube reporting — have posted a story claiming that Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long has been approached by Stanford regarding their AD spot.  Bob Bowlsby is leaving that school to take over as the Big 12′s new commissioner.

According to KNWA anchor Matt Turner on the station’s website:


“Jeff Long is one of the candidates to replace Bob Bowlsby as the new athletic director at Stanford University. That’s according to three separate sources close to the situation, and one of the people providing the information is a school official at the University of Arkansas.

The primary source, who wants to remain anonymous, says Stanford officials have “reached out” to Long about filling the vacancy but added that Long has not yet responded to the inquiries.

The source also said that Long is not a finalist for the job despite rumors circulating on internet message boards.”


It would make sense for Stanford to reach out to Long.  He has shown that he can lure in just about any big fish he sets his mind to when it comes to coaches.  He’s overseen an increase in UA’s athletic budget and spearheaded the school’s drive to build bigger and better facilities.  He’s viewed as one of the top athletic directors in the SEC — which is saying something — and the nation.

While he ultimately wound up taking a figurative punch to the ribs for hiring Bobby Petrino, the ex-coach did improve the fortunes of the Razorback football program before he wrecked his motorcycle and his career.

Speaking of Petrino and messageboards and even anonymous email tips, yes, we’ve heard the conspiracy theories regarding Petrino, his one-time mistress Jessica Dorrell and her ex-fiance Josh Morgan.  All three are now ex-Razorback employees.  The chatterers in social media have suggested everything from the fiance driving the pair off the road to taking a baseball bat to the coach’s noggin.

“Why else would he look so bad while she escaped major injury?”  Uh, because Petrino was in front and Dorrell on the back of the motorcycle.  Because she had a helmet on and he didn’t.

Sorry, not buying that one.  One cop may have helped Petrino get to the hospital, but no officer of the law — knowing he could lose his job — would cover up an assault.

That said, there is a rumor floating around among media types in the Natural State and it’s something we wondered about at the time of the Petrino fiasco — What did Long know of the relationship and when did he know it?

Some in the Arkansas media believe Long and others inside the UA athletic department were aware of the Petrino-Dorrell relationship well before the two crashed the coach’s bike.  Anonymous sources have given them that information, but no one has gone on the record to confirm it.  If true, it would mean Long knowingly allowed Petrino to hire his mistress and that he helped speed up the process at the coach’s request.

We’ve been waiting since mid-April for Long to have to explain what he knew, when he knew it, and how something like Petrino’s hire of Dorrell was allowed to take place on his watch (whether he knew anything about their relationship or not).  And we don’t mean putting out a press release expressing shock.

Some members of the Arkansas media are now asking those questions and they’re hearing reports that he might have known more than he initially suggested, though for now those are only rumors.  Whether anyone inside the UA athletic department will roll over on the situation — if there’s anything to roll over about — remains to be seen.

But the odds are good that if/when Stanford officials meet with Long, they’ll have more than a question or two about how a mess like Petrino’s could occur on his watch.

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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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Hog Aides Hit The Recruiting Trail; Long Needs To Make A Call Soon

Arkansas AD Jeff Long gave new assistant head coach Taver Johnson control of the Razorback football program through spring practice.  On Saturday, spring drills concluded in Fayetteville.  Today, Hog assistants are hitting the road for the spring evaluation period.

But Long has yet to announce who’ll be leading UA from here.

Johnson told on Saturday that he would “have a 6 a.m. flight and I’ll be on it,” when it comes to luring in new players.  But what will he and others say when asked, “Are you coaching us?”

Long needs to make his call.  Soon.  He said last week that his decision would come in “days, not weeks.”  One report suggested that pick could be made official today.  Good.

From the start we’ve said that the best bet for Arkansas this season and beyond is for Long to simply promote a current member of a veteran coaching staff to the title of interim coach for the 2012 season.  No fuss, no muss, no players-getting-to-know-new-coaches, no issues with an outside interim coming in and running the show over a group of aides who already know how to work together.  Best of all, Long would be able to spend the next few months targeting the right man for the job long-term.  And the pool of candidates willing to move in December would be greater than the pool of candidates who would be willing to move now, as well.

The fact that Long has dragged out his interim selection so long suggests that he didn’t agree with our advice.  If he had, he’d have tabbed Johnson or Tim Horton or Paul Petrino as his guy two weeks ago.  Instead, it’s been rumored he’s talked to everyone from Phillip Fulmer (as an interim candidate) to Pete Carroll (as a full-time candidate).

If and when he promotes someone from within — be it today or tomorrow or later this week — there will be little doubt that he’s done his homework.  That’s a positive.

But sending his coaches out on the recruiting trail without a plan just yet?  That’s a negative.  That will only help to add to the perception in some kids’ and parents’ minds that UA is a rudderless ship at the moment.

Long needs to make a call.  Quickly.  And he needs to make the call we suggested when he first gave Bobby Petrino the hook.

An interim from within for now.  A solid, smart search for eight months.  And a darn good hire come November or December.

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Hogs’ Long Draws Praise From QB Wilson; Shows That Ex-Coaches As A.D.s Can Still Make Sense

Since pulling the trigger on the Bobby Petrino dismissal two weeks ago, Arkansas AD Jeff Long has received support from the vast majority of the Razorback fanbase, from some cash-tossing big boosters, and now from members of the UA football team.

Because of Long’s willingness to talk with the team about the situation, quarterback Tyler Wilson has been singing the praises of his school’s AD:

“He acted like he was the man in charge, and he is.  I appreciate that from him.  He’s an athletic director, not a football coach, but he has been (a coach) in the past.  I think that’s great.  I’m proud of the leadership he’s displayed.  Absolutely.”

Wilson brings up an interesting point.  As athletic departments have evolved into multimillion dollar business entities, more and more of the men (and women) running those departments have come up through the sales, marketing or accounting ranks.  There are fewer and fewer ex-coaches at the tops of big-time athletic departments today because schools want proven business people overseeing what amounts to big business.  Hard to blame them.

But in situations like this with Petrino — scandals, coaching changes, etc — it’s probably good to have an ex-coach at the helm.  Long knows how to talk to a team.  He knows what the men (or women) in a locker room are looking for in terms of answers from him. 

Long has proven to be the best of both worlds for UA — an ex-coach (at Miami of Ohio, Rice, Duke, NC State and Michigan) and a seasoned administrator.  This seems to be especially true in terms of dealing with the current football team in the midst of this current upheaval.

Now if he can just find the right coach to finish what Petrino started.

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Enough Already: More Docs Released In Petrino Scandal

Bobby Petrino had an affair.  He also lied to his boss and hired his mistress and tried to cover-up who was with him during a motorcycle crash… but the big news is he had an affair!  Oooooh.  Scandalous.

And that’s why there’s still a big dig going on for any document tied in any way to Petrino’s ouster from Arkansas.  Late yesterday, the University of Arkansas released 300 pages from the personnel file of its ex-coach following a Freedom of Information Act request.  A full 131 of the pages were added during the review that eventually led to the coach’s ouster earlier this month.

In the notes we basically learn three things:

* Jessica Dorrell was more forthcoming than Petrino.

* Petrino tried to deny everything right up until the end.

* AD Jeff Long was skeptical of Petrino from the beginning of the process and he didn’t find many of the coach’s answers to his questions to be believable.

Aside from that, most of the info that’s being talked about today regards the affair – when did it start, when did it end, did it ever really end, etc.  And that’s where I lose interest.  When Petrino first kissed Dorrell doesn’t matter nearly as much to this writer as does the fact that he hired the woman and gave her $20,000 in gifts. 

The AP’s version of the story actually includes this bit:

“At one point last October, Petrino and Dorrell were sitting in a car, eating lunch and talking and ‘she said are you going to kiss me,’ according to Long’s notes of his April 10 conversation with Petrino.”

Ah, important to know.

We said we’d cover the news of this story when it first broke.  For soap opera coverage, you can find plenty of other outlets.  Paul Finebaum, for example, has had a bevy of sex experts and urologists on to discuss ED and sexual addictions.  Ha-ha.  Several lives are ruined so let’s all laugh about it.  (Until of course we’re the ones caught with our flies open and then we have to beg for forgiveness and mercy and understanding.)

Eventually this story was going to bring out the gawker in all of us.  That’s happening now. 

We know why Petrino was fired.  We know why Dorrell is gone, too.  Sorry, but I don’t care to know how many dinners or evenings the two shared together before were exited from the UA campus.

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Ex-Coach Nutt Weighs In On Arkansas Situtation

Former Arkansas and Ole Miss football coach Houston Nutt made an appearance on Tim Brando’s radio show yesterday.  Not surprisingly, he was asked for his take on the decision facing Jeff Long — hire now or hand it the UA job to an interim for a year:

“Arkansas is a good job.  It’s a hard job, but it’s a good job. … I don’t know exactly what’s going on and you hear different rumors about (Long) going out to go get a big-name coach, which he probably could do.  But the problem is the timing.  The timing of everything now, as you know, it’s right here in the middle of April.  Most coaches are getting ready to finish up a spring game and get ready for recruiting in May and all of these things.  It makes everything very tough.  The interim position, there’s been talk of Tim Horton, who is a former Razorback, who has held recruiting together.  I know when we left he did an unbelievable job there of keeping all the recruits there at home.  So there’s been talk about him, what people have told me…

If you keep the interim, if you keep a coach there an you’re talking about now taking over the responsibility of being the voice, being the face, talking to the media, and your time is divvied up, it’s almost better if you ahead and say, ‘I’m going to hire another coach to take my spot and now I’m going to concentrate on being the manager.  On gameday I’m going to be the face.  I’m really going to take care of and get close to these players and take care of the media.”

That, of course, ties back to what we wrote just a few hours ago suggesting that UA promote an interim from withing and then hand a grad assistant some of the duties currently held by the coach being promoted.

Nutt also said that his heart went out to Arkansas players and fans in their time of hurting.  Yeah, I’ll bet.

As for possible big-name hires for the Hogs, how ’bout this name that was just tossed into the ring by an Arkansas sportswriter yesterday — ex-Kansas coach Mark Mangino.

Make cracks all you like, the guy won games at Kansas.  In football. 

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Dorrell Out, Fulmer In (?) At Arkansas

It was only a matter of time before Jessica Dorrell and the University of Arkansas parted ways.  The only questions were: How much would she be paid to disappear and how ugly would the episode become?

Turns out, not too much and not too ugly.

Dorrell — the young UA staffer who Bobby Petrino has admitted to having an “inappropriate relationship” with and who was on the receiving end of a $20,000 gift from the coach as well as a $50,000-a-year job — has resigned as the football program’s student-athlete development coordinator.  The University of Arkansas will pay her “approximately $14,000″ as part of a “settlement and resolution of all matters between the parties.”

In other words, the buy-off was cheap in terms of avoiding some form of potential sexual harassment suit.  Kudos to AD Jeff Long and the UA legal team and quite possibly to Dorrell herself for ending things quickly and somewhat amicably.  There certainly could have been a lot more mud slung in all directions and thankfully the school won’t be forced to endure that.

Long’s press release said:

“While Ms. Dorrell had a legitimate right to apply for and accept a position within the football program, the circumstances surrounding the former coach’s decision to hire here compromised her ability to be effective in such a position.  She and I believe she should have the opportunity to move on.”

Most importantly, the 14-page document Dorrell signed includes an “irrevocable release and covenant not to sue.”  When asked about her exit, “Ms. Dorrell covenants and agrees to state that any and all disputes were resolved amicably or words of similar effect.”

Meanwhile, some big money Arkansas supporters have shown their approval of the administration’s handling of this mess by turning over donations equaling $1.25 million in honor of “the courageous leadership demonstrated by Jeff Long in the course of recent events” saying his actions have “further affirmed our confidence in his leadership and his vision” for UA’s athletic future.

Meanwhile, the search for a new head coach — or a new interim coach — continues.  Yesterday that search took an interesting turn as a former Phillip Fulmer assistant told Nashville radio station WGFX-FM that the coach and UA have spoken in some fashion.  According to Doug Matthews:

“I know Phillip has had conversations with them.  And when I say with them, all that is going to take place behind the scenes.

But everything I’m hearing from Arkansas is the spring game, I think, is this Saturday.  ‘Let’s get through spring.  Let’s see where we are.’  But I think they’ll either go with a guy that they’ve got on the staff or they’ll bring in someone to be — caretaker’s the wrong word — but bring someone in who has been through it all before.

If there is a place for Phillip, that will be the place.”

Matthews made no mention — apparently — of who exactly Fulmer had spoken to and who it was that had done the initial contacting.  The former Tennessee head coach last led a team onto the field in 2008.

Those of you who’ve read this site know that we are firmly of the opinion that Arkansas and Long should rely on an interim coach for the 2012 season and use the next eight months to identify, target and land a perfect long-term solution for the Razorback program.  From Jack Crowe’s resignation after one game in 1992 — a loss to The Citadel — to now, UA has had more ups and downs than an elevator. 

And more and more people seem to be arriving at the same conclusion — there will be more and better candidates willing to jump to Fayetteville in November than there will be now.

That said, it will be interesting to see where Long turns if he indeed decides to go the interim route.  Fulmer makes as much sense as anyone.  He knows the Southeastern Conference and current Hog defensive ends coach Steve Caldwell was a long-time Fulmerite at Tennessee.  So the interim coach would have some insight into the personalities on the team and on the staff.

But it might be better for Long to simply promote from within to maintain some semblance of stability.  Bringing in an outsider — whether that be anyone from Fulmer to Ron Zook to Sean Payton to Lou Holtz to Frank Broyles himself — could create unnecessary turf wars and friction within the staff, within the team.  (And no, we’re not serious about Payton, Holtz or Broyles.)

It might be wiser to promote an existing staff member to interim coach for 2012 — as Ohio State did last year with Luke Fickell — and hand some of that coach’s duties off to a grad assistant who is already working with and familiar with the current roster.

And for those who’ll point to Fickell’s 6-7 record in 2011, remember, the Buckeyes lost a number of players in their dust-up with the NCAA, including their star quarterback.  That won’t be the case at Arkansas.  Whoever takes over in Fayetteville — be it Paul Petrino, Paul Haynes, Taver Johnson, Tim Horton, Fulmer, or the reanimated body of Knute Rockne — will be taking over a roster primed to win double-digit games in 2012.

We believe promotion from within is the simplest, quickest solution.  But the school could do worse than Fulmer if it’s looking for an outsider.

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Where Was Long While Petrino Hired His Mistress At Arkansas?

When Bobby Petrino hired Jessica Dorrell as the student-athlete development coordinator for his football program, he did more than hire a woman he’d been having an “inappropriate relationship” with… he put his own boss, athletic director Jeff Long, on the hot seat.

A review of the 159 resumes Arkansas received shows that Dorrell was not necessarily the most qualified candidate for the job.  That happens.  If resumes were the only things that mattered, interviews would never be conducted.  However, a review of the hiring process shows that it was actually sped up at Long’s request, despite regular UA hiring procedures.

And that is a big deal.

According to the school’s policy — in accordance with an affirmative action policy — the interview process cannot begin until 30 days have passed from the time a job is posted.  The job Dorrell eventually landed was posted on March 4th.

But on March 9th, Arkansas’ AD wrote to the assistant director of affirmative action at Arkansas, Danielle Wood, and asked that the process be sped up in this case.  On March 12th, Wood asked the human resources manager for the UA athletic department, Carrie DeBriyn, why the process should be fast-tracked.

“Coach Petrino would like to request to interview early due to needing a Player Development Coordinator as quickly as possible,” DeBriyn responded in writing.  “Fantasy Football Camp preparation, Red White Game preparation and all recruiting coordination is falling short due to not having this position filled.”

Later that day, Wood approved the speed-up.  Dorrell — it turns out — was already interviewing for the job by the time the fast-track plan was actually approved.

Sex and motorcycle wrecks and phone records and bikini models make for big headlines.  So do coaching searches and the decision whether to go with an interim coach or hire a brand new man in April.  We get that.

But eventually Long will have to explain how Petrino’s actions took place right under his nose.  And in the case of the hiring process acceleration, with his actual blessing and aid.

Long has done a tremendous job at Arkansas.  He’s raised money, built facilities, and excited fans with his big name hires.

In this case, however, the University of Arkansas could face several potential lawsuits due to the actions that took place in a department that he is charged with overseeing.  Yes, Petrino is the man who tied a noose around the UA department.  But it was Long who gave him rope enough to do so.

At some point you can bet Long will have to address the subject and that he will say new safeguards have been or will be put in place to better monitor the hiring practices of his subordinates.  But that won’t save his department or the university the cost of legal fees tied to the hire Long allowed Petrino to make on a sped-up schedule.

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