January 18, 2019

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly — Auburn

Some random thoughts after the Razorbacks earned their first conference win of the season over Auburn.

The Good

  • [singlepic id=385 w=240 h=180 float=right]Tyler Wilson is obviously playing at another level right now.  Wilson has thrown for 772 yards and five touchdowns in the past TWO games.  And oh, by the way, both of those winning performances were against teams ranked in the top 25.
  • Joe Adams’ 92-yard touchdown run was great…but it was the blocking that made the play.  Pulling guard Grant Cook and wide receiver Cobi Hamilton sealed the edge, fullback Kiero Small got the kick out, and tight end Chris Gragg got a nice downfield block as Adams ran (and hurdled!) down the Arkansas sideline to the end zone.
  • The Razorbacks linebacking crew had its best performance to date this season.  Jerry Franklin (15 tackles), Alonzo Highsmith (12 tackles) and Jerico Nelson (10 tackles) combined for four tackles for loss on the night.
  • The seventh largest crowd in Razorback Stadium history (74,191) were into the game and loud.  And two thumbs up to the Razorback Stadium game day production crew…they had the music rockin’ during most of the timeouts on Saturday.  (Although we’re sure there will be some calling to complain this week about “all the racket.”)
  • Honorable Mention:  Good to see receiver Greg Childs looking a little more like he did before his season-ending injury last year.  Childs finished with four catches for 44 yards, but also had a 22-yard grab nullified by a penalty.

The Bad

  • The Razorback defense has shown all the signs of being a unit that plays their best in the 2nd half of games.  But that doesn’t make it any easier to watch them make numerous mistakes before adjustments can be made.  I mean…was it really a surprise that Gus Malzahn would run misdirection rushing plays that would try to attack the Hogs’ defense at the edges?  Luckily, the Tigers only scored 14 points before the defense finally clamped down for the rest of the game.
  • [singlepic id=379 w=240 h=180 float=right]The final outcome could’ve been even larger had the Hogs done a better job on third downs.  The 5-for-16 conversion rate — including two failed attempts at 3rd and 1 — certainly isn’t going to cut it with Coach Petrino.  The Hogs currently rank 64th nationally (35-for-85, 41.2 percent) in 3rd Down Efficiency on the season.
  • Honorable mention: Kicker Zach Hocker lining up right in the middle of the field — with the wind at his back — and missing a 34-yard field goal to start the game.  It was good, however, to see Hocker bounce back and make a similar field goal kick in the 4th quarter.

The Ugly

  • When the penalty flag came out during Joe Adams’ touchdown run, we got nervous that it might be called back.  But it turned out to be an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Auburn linebacker Daren Bates, who was yelling at and (it appeared) intentionally bumping an official out of bounds while running behind the play.  Stay classy there, Daren.  And speaking of that…
  • As someone said on Twitter during the game, the whole Auburn “us against the world” routine is getting tired.  At the end of the third quarter, with his team trailing 28-14, Auburn coach Gene Chizik sent his entire team down to northeast corner of the field to help fire up the Auburn cheering section.  The stunt by the ever front-running Chizik certainly didn’t motivate his team, as a Kiehl Frazier interception followed by Hocker’s 36-yard field goal quickly put the game out of reach.

Of course, we can’t possibly mention everything that was “Good, Bad and Ugly.”  What did we leave out?

Walking on Sunshine also contributed to this post.


  1. Carolina Hog says:

    Ugly-Did anyone see ESPN replaying the Joe Adams run as an example of taunting that wasn’t called. I don’t see it. They said that he slowed down and that setting the ball down was taunting. That rule scares the crap out of me.

    Also, someone who was at the game help me with this one because I may be wrong. In the 4th quarter, after the 2nd Tramain Thomas interception, after we run for no yardage on 1st and 2nd it sounded like a few boos from the crowd. If so that is ugly. I understand that the game had gotten boring as we got conservative in the 2nd half, but we do not need to be booing the playcalling of the best playcaller in the game. This point was driven home when we scored on the next play.

    Otherwise, great game. So nice not to let Auburn roll in with Arkansas players and beat our butts at home. Very workmanlike win and coming through this early season 5-1 is huge.

    • Carolina, there were a smattering of boos. Petrino was trying to run some clock with the two run plays, but the fans could smell blood…Auburn’s blood. It was apparent that the natives wanted not just to beat the Tigers, but to run it up some after what happend last year, and after the Aubie players put on their little “pep rally” at the end of the third quarter.

      • Carolina Hog says:

        I understand the sentiment, just not the action. Bobby P. smelled blood too and he had them set up for the screen to DJ on the next play.

    • This taunting penalty nonsense has gotten out of hand. It’s too subjective and gives the refs the power to turn a game, which should never be the case. Why hasn’t the NCAA specified what consitutes tauting and “excessive” celebration? If, as the announcers implied, that putting the ball on ground in the end zone is taunting then specify it. No putting the ball on the ground. Define other actions also. It would then give coaches the ability to teach what is unpermissible. Excessive celebration? Who knows? Players should be allowed to be joyous after a tremendous play as long as it isn’t “taunting” (whatever that is). I agree it’s a lot of crap along with the subjectivity of a hit out of bounds. (I think that those hits should be instantly reviewed, like sideline pass plays, as to whether the hit was legitimate or not.) I don’t trust refs (old basketball coach reflex). league officials, or the NCAA. As to the last, the Oregon player who suckered punched a Boise player should have been kicked out of college footbalI. One can never eliminate the possiblity of bias by officials whether it’s due to money, personal preferences, or other factors. With all of our new technology mistakes in reffing shouldn’t occur. All of those who didn’t like replay suddenly are fans when the replay works for them. I understand that reffing is hard and that given the personalities of the new athletes that control has to be maintained, but still, can’t things be sensible, reasonable, and well defined regarding the rules?

      Kudos to Tipsterhog for recognizing the blocking on Adams play. However, relative to the above, (I think it was that play), the announcer said how difficult it was for the final blocker to hold his block that long without being called for a hold. My interpretation: At Reynolds no hold, at Auburn, a hold. Forget BCS, Playoffs, league reallignments, recruiting cheating etc; clean up referring.

      In that vein, I saw on television something I had been advocating for years. It was the TVs use of an electronic strike zone in baseball. Not an official policy for MLB but it sure keeps the umps consistent and from moving the strike zones around not associated with the players dimensions.

      • I have to agree on the new taunting penalty. It’s too wide open for refs to make a clear cut decision if a big game were on the line. Too risky and very subjective to different opinions.

        Rules weren’t made for subjective opinions. They were made for following. There’s no following if a player/ref doesn’t have something concrete to follow.

        It isn’t like a holding call. Sometimes holding is missed by the ref, but that is all. With this new rule, a ref can be put into the position of reading minds. That not his job. The new rule stinks to say the very least.

      • Gonzo; I have to be a contrarian here. ‘Rules weren’t made for subjective opinions.” Not necessarily. It would seem to be morally and legally correct, but in my lifetime I have found that rules are made to favor those who make the rules or those in control of those who make the rules. Giving refs that much subjectivity might be done for a reason, the first of which that comes to mind is that of controlling to a great extent outcomes. How can one otherwise explain the Hog-SMU phantom pass interference or the Hog-Gator personal foul that was initiated by a Gator player with the official standing and looking right at the play. Refs can make mistakes, but seriously… And what redress does the offended team have? A hearing and sorry about that from the league office. When refs make bad calls my reaction is to suspect gambling or league wishes passed down to the refs, not in memos that can be evidence but in the form of innuendoes from league hacks.

        Regarding holding; there is holding all over the place. Announcers see and comment on it all the time. “He got away with one there.” The unwritten rule is if it is not involved with the play don’t call it… unless your trying to fix the game ala Florida. When such a call is made it is referred to as high school where there is a lot more home cooking that is not under the watchful eye of network TV. I am wondering if players are being coached (under the table and not officially of course) to try and initate or goad an opponent into a personal foul, especialy if your the home team. And if coaches know who to target, ie., the most volatile players on the opposing team. After all there is an unofficial school of dance and gymnatics for punters and QBs to learn to reallistically flop.

        Anyway Gonzo, I agree with you all the the way in that subjectivity should be eliminated but the question is, “Why isn’t it?”

      • Even if the intentions of the NCAA were good, (laugh) how do they explain allowing this nonsense of the ball carrier taunting opposing players go on for the last 30 years or so, then magically expect it to sieze at the snap of a finger?

        Kids now days have grown up watching these actions by the players they idolize and have come to accept them as normal or just part of the game. That’s the NCAA’s fault and no one elses. They didn’t just wake up one day and say “Oh, that is sooooo wrong. We can’t allow that to happen any more”.

        I wonder just how much money was made off of Dion “Prime Time” Sanders dancing his way into the endzone after an INT? Isn’t that what everyone came to see, once it became popular?

        What about the Icky shuffle? How ,bout Billy “White Shoes” Johnson? Weren’t those guys taunting? I don’t remember any of those points coming off the board.

  2. Good–After giving up the 55 yard TD run in the first quarter, defector Dyer was effectively shut down. After our porous run defense of the previous two games that was great to see.

  3. Hawgfan100 says:

    Good (possibly)-After watching Razorback Analysis with Bo Mattingly; hearing that Kiero Small has a mounted collection of bent facemasks?!

    According to Mattingly (whom I suspect heard it from someone else), Small has a set of 10 bent facemasks, from blowing opposing players up this season, mounted on a wall in the practice facility.

    Can anyone verify or lend any credence to this?

  4. Hmmmm was there didn’t here any boos we were pumped up!!!!!!! WPS

  5. MemphisHog says:

    The boos were definitely there and I heard them from where I was sitting. I think they were more directed at our inconsistent, and quite frankly pitiful effort on offense towards the end of the game. I mean, we had multiple opportunities to do something more towards the end of the game. I understand running the clock and finishing the game, but I believe we had 6 or 7 3-and-outs, a couple after turnovers in the 3rd and 4th quarters. The best way to run clock, in my opinion, is to sustain drives, stay in-bounds, and use all of your play clock. If we had sustained even 2 or 3 drives to more than a 3 and out, that game would have ended much sooner.

    Now, I understand that Petrino normally doesn’t have long possessions. But my worry here is that if we were in a game against an Alabama or LSU, we need to be able to sustain a drive in the 4th quarter to ice the game. Our defense was tired, though still making great plays and interceptions. They will be even more tired in a game against a top opponent. The defense has protected the offense a few times this year, but the offense needs to return the favor.

    • Two things about the booing: (1) fans were frustrated that the Hogs weren’t going for the throat after what happened last year (2) like myself, I think the fans didn’t feel comfortable with a 17 point lead after what the Hogs did themselves last week. I have cautioned before that getting a lead and sitting on it can be lethal. Wilson seems to have to get into and stay in a rythym or he gets rusty. The announcers noted the he wasn’t as accurate with wide open receivers after the half time break. I was watching the Bears-Lions game last night and I had the same feeling. Schwarz was siting on a lead and he was going to blow it. But coaches will play the odds rather than risk a mistake that could turn things around. Petrino obviously got Chizik into thinking he was going by the book and would run more clock. BP is pretty smart, but doesn’t anyone remember that Wilson previously tried the same play on third down and Dennis failed to haul it in for what would have been a very long gain and points. I think that the booing is overrated and not much attention is being paid to it or it’s having much significance. You can understand the fans frustration, a lot of passion in this game for them not to be involved. (Dyer will have to wait till next year to get his other 100 to total what he promised.)

  6. Carolina Hog says:

    Again. I understand the sentiment and think you make good points. My problem is when that is expressed by booing.

    Booing your team when they are up 31-14 and on the verge of going 5-1 is bad Karma. My other point is that nobody in that stadium has the offensive mind that Petrino does and while they were booing, he was setting Auburn up for the screen pass TD to DJ. Booing tells me you are not happy with the product. After the last 20 years, are there really people out there not happy with the product?

    • MemphisHog says:

      I’m definitely not condoning the booing, but I can understand the sentiment. I totally agree though, booing a team that is as good as we are while we’re up 31-14 is ridiculous at best.

  7. “The beauty of the whole thing was the crowd was into it so much. Our players really, really thrived (sic) on the backing crowd. They were energetic on the sidelines.” –Willy Robinson on the atmosphere in Razorback Stadium as reported on ArkSports360.

    Doesn’t sound like the booing bummed out the players or the coaches. If this is the ugliest aspect of the game you can come up with, you’re reaching for something trivial. Sometimes booing only means something like, “Aw, c’mon man. Surely we can do something better than that.” I support the right to criticize my own team, particularly the coaches, when they do something dumb. I never criticize players: they always give it all they’ve got even when they fail. To err is common.

    After Dyer made his long run I thought, “Oh, no. Here we go again. This defense really sucks. How much longer can Willy keep his job? Ain’t it about time for him to spend more time with his family.” I’m still not sold on Willy as DC. The defense is improving, I suppose, but at a glacial pace. (I may need a better metaphor here, considering how fast glaciers are melting.) I don’t see us having a top SEC defense EVER. Bama and LSU have set that bar mighty high.

  8. marion L pickens says:

    i would like to ask our fans to go on http://WWW.VOTE OBRIAN .ORG and vote for TYLER WILSON for QB. he is # 10 and with our fans voteing he can be #1 thanks for your vote!!

  9. Ugly- The refs overturning the call on the field. Wasn’t that a little reminiscent of the Auburn TD last year? I still think they need to set a time limit and if they haven’t made up their minds the call stands.

    • The knee hit the ground the same time that the ball touched the plane. The announcers felt that tie goes to ball. Reviewers disagreed, which to me requires a call to the league officials office to explain the call and will the tie now go to the knee or which ever body part goes down at the same time? I am not being facetious here. Even if it’s a tie then does that overturn the ruling on the field. As I recall the exact opposite occurred last year when replay showed that Green was down at the same time the ball came out (actually before it came out), but the ruling on the field was upheld. As I have said the biggest problem with college football is officiating, which is almost a scandal.