Andy Hodges

With recruiting season closing, we’ll move on to more important football matters

With another recruiting season winding to a close, we will finally get around to some football that matters with players that are actually here in a few weeks as spring practice will start.

Excuse me, but recruiting season is something that has become a competition all by itself with some folks worrying more about that than what actually happens.

Yeah, I know it’s kind of a big deal but I don’t spend a whole lot of time talking about folks that aren’t here, whether they are still in high school, the transfer portal or not in Arkansas any more.

It simply means to me we’ll be moving on to more important matters regarding football soon.

Spring practice is around the corner. We don’t have a schedule for Sam Pittman’s first spring drills, but there should be some information coming on that around signing day next Wednesday. We’ll get our first official visit with him then.

Recruiting rankings are one thing. Yes, I’m well aware the teams that finish near the top of those are also usually in the running for championships come November, but not always.

For the Razorbacks, those two have never really coincided. For a program that’s never been a consistent recruiting powerhouse they’ve seriously over-achieved at times.

Great talent can’t overcome bad coaching. That has never been more evident than the last two years with the Hogs.

The last coach started with a great plan he had no idea how to implement. He got the job based on a just four years at a Power 5 program that got better when he left. Hey, I fell into the trap like a lot of other people who told me he was a can’t-miss for a big time head coaching job.

They were wrong, proving it’s not really a fine science picking these things.

Coming on the heels of another coach who got the job based on a resume that was a mirage. Combine that with an athletic director and his merry band of idiots that rewarded mediocrity too much, well, you end up with a mess.

Which is exactly what Pittman inherits for his first head coaching job. A lot of Hog fans wanted a coach with a winning record, but they weren’t coming to Fayetteville unless they were over-paid, which means they really didn’t WANT the job.

But Pittman can thank the previous coach for leaving him some pretty good young talent. Especially keeping the redshirt on a large number on a talented freshman signing class.

It will be interesting to see how they develop with some coaches that actually have a clue how to coach at this level. The guess here is this coaching staff would have been bowl eligible the last two seasons with the players on the roster.

There is no way that talent would have competed for a division title, but they would have qualified to make it to SOME bowl game.

I’m extremely reluctant to make a lot of absolute statements on any of the players the last two years because they were not coached, poorly prepared for even practices and didn’t really have a chance in most of the games they played.

Especially at quarterback. Considering none of them ever experienced an offensive staff that knew how to prepare for practice (much less a game), there’s not really much objective baseline to judge them with.

There were flashes the players could perform over the last couple of years, which is an indicator they weren’t that inept.

In four wins over two seasons that were over teams clearly over-matched, if you want to see what happens when a team doesn’t know HOW to prepare, well, there you have it.

Don’t get carried away. It’s not likely this team is competing to go to Atlanta this season, but they will have a realistic shot at a bowl game.

Remember, “a realistic shot.”

Let’s hold off on predictions for a few more months.

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