The sun is shining in Fayetteville today. Birds were singing this morning. Pretty roses are in bloom outside my window. Cardinal red roses actually.
If these beautiful things were paying attention to Razorback football, they would surely be different. The day would be dark and rain would be falling. The birds would be silent, and the roses would be turning white.
Sad Razorback fans filed out of the stadium Saturday night to go through the motions of packing up their once joyous, but now depressing tailgates. The mood was somber mixed with anger.
We want to blame something — recruiting, freshmen, coaches, schemes, play calling — surely if we can find the right thing to blame, this situation can be quickly fixed.
The word ‘execution’ comes up a lot. Inconsistency in execution is said to be the main problem. Why can’t the Hogs execute? Without Bobby Petrino, this Razorback team no longer has the discipline and preparation in place that it takes to compete.
I’ll be surprised if this team wins two or three games the rest of the season. The discipline and preparation needed can’t be regained inside of the season.
So do I blame Bobby Petrino? Yes, it is true he was doing something stupid. I blame Bobby Petrino for riding motorcycles and, in spite of reputation, not being ready with an effective lie when needed.
Do I blame John L. Smith? A check of his job history should have let us know what we were getting. Blame Paul Petrino? Check out how his offenses performed at Illinois. Blame those new defensive coaches that had never been coordinators? Hmmm.
Long traded ‘doing right’ regarding Bobby Petrino for a situation that pretty much guaranteed a few years of suffering for the program. He held the program in his hands and made the ‘right’ short-term decision and arrogantly thought he could manage through the longer term ramifications with no harm to the program. Did he really do the right thing or did he take a short-term view and actually double down (or more) on the wrong?
Assigning blame gives no consolation. The Razorback football program is bigger than any one person and will survive. But at any given point in time, the program is only as big as the head coach has the ability to make it.
Long proudly hired the snake and the snake bit him. He proudly killed the snake and then proudly stole a coach away from a contract to keep house for a year. Personally, I’ve questioned every one of those decisions.
I’m really interested to see how he gets himself out of this mess.