October 1, 2014

Connecting The Dots

You knew it would start with a frenzy following the LSU game.  A maddening time for fans as the coaching rumors run wild.

In the old days (or just five short years ago), when the Broyles Athletic Center leaked like a sieve with juicy nuggets of information, fans tended to know exactly what was going on and who the play was for.  Everybody had an inside source.

Now, with Jeff Long, there are NO leaks…none.  That foolishness is not tolerated.  A highly professional approach, but not so good if you are a fan, wringing your hands over the next hire.

Because of the absence of rumors from the BAC, you get what we have now which is the ‘scattershot approach’ of ‘throw out a name and see if it sticks.’

Long’s close to the vest approach is going to mean one thing: the ‘local guys’ — the guys we love to read every day — are not going to break this story when it breaks.  Like the Petrino firing, you’ll hear it from the other end first, and probably by a national media member — a Dennis Dodd or Tony Barnhart type.  Keep a close eye on them over the next 10 days.

There are a few that we follow (who have had good information in the past) who are intimating that Boise State’s Chris Petersen is the primary target at the moment, with Vanderbilt’s James Franklin as the fall back plan.

CBS’ Bruce Feldman has said before that Petersen, a California native, would likely only jump at the Cal or Oregon jobs.  Well, Cal is open after Jeff Tedford’s firing.  And according to some, Chip Kelly will be a hot commodity for some NFL jobs this time around.  If that’s true, why would Petersen consider Arkansas?

Well, let’s start with doubling Petersen’s salary — he currently makes $2 million a year.  Throw in the comical, week-to-week uncertainty about what conference Boise is playing in next year, and a little stability might sound pretty good right now.  The Broncos are scheduled to join the Big East, but with the conference losing their automatic BCS bid status, Boise has been making overtures to stay put in the Mountain West.

In addition, Arkansas has proven they will pay assistant coaches well.  If Petersen is looking out for ‘his guys’ and is willing to make a move, it could mean $1-2 million in raises collectively for them over what they are making in Boise…per year.  That’s significant.

Petersen as a hire would be a home run, given that every AD in America has been trying to lure him away from Boise for the last couple of years.  What worries us a bit, though, is that James Franklin might be the backup plan.

Sure, Franklin has turned around Vanderbilt in just a few short years, a feat that should not be understated.  Back-to-back bowl games is a first for the Commodores.  But his bravado, sideline demeanor and penchant for shooting his mouth off give us a little pause.

His statement earlier this year that before he hires an assistant he makes sure they have a ‘hot wife’ to prove they can recruit makes us question his maturity to be the face of a program like Arkansas.

Yeah, we know…it’s a funny quote, probably said in a good-natured way.  And a little bravado is probably not a bad thing.  At least he hasn’t slapped any assistant coaches that we know of, like some being mentioned for this job.  It just makes you wonder, though.

Boise State’s regular season finale is Saturday vs. Nevada.  So if Petersen is indeed a player, we don’t expect anything will be going down this week.  So sit tight, and enjoy the rumors…we certainly are.

  • Superhogger

    Heard rumor today that Long met with Bob Stoops…. that’s the rumor goin around Oklahoma newspaper sports desks right now anyway. If Long could pull that off, it would be a complete head fake from all of the rumors floating around now. Stoops could move to the SEC, and no longer have to compete with another in-state school for recruiting. Could make 5 mil a year, and new facilities. He may be thinking he’s spent enough time in Oklahoma given the hangups in the Big 12. Thoughts?

    • Skywalker

      I would question Stoops’ sanity if he considers coming here. He’s at a top-10 program in a less difficult conference, and he goes to the BCS every other year, if not more often. That’s not a level of success you can have at Arkansas — not trying to be a pessimist, just realistic that we’re in the same division with Bama, LSU, Auburn (who, don’t kid yourself, will be back), and now A&M.
      So I would be stunned if there’s any truth to that rumor. Not that I wouldn’t take Stoops if he were available and willing to come — he wouldn’t be my top choice, but you can do a lot worse than essentially a rich man’s Mark Richt, which is how I view Stoops.
      I do think the coming playoff system makes mid-tier SEC jobs slightly more attractive because it looks like in most years, the SEC will have two teams in the playoff — and the second spot probably will go to a divisional runner-up (e.g., it would have been Bama last year, Florida this year, etc.). So you don’t have to run the table in ANY year — you can be #2 in the East or West, finish with one loss or even two (in some years), and still potentially play for the national title. That may not make a difference to an up-and-comer coach (who is going to want to be in the SEC anyway) or an established AQ-conference winner like Stoops, but it could help swing candidates who are somewhere in between those groups.

  • GolfHog

    Admittedly Franklin is not the home run hire that many are dreaming of. He may not win the news conference. Unfortunately, he has one of the best resumes of all the coaches who would actually take the job. And, you’ve got to have a quite a bit of bravado to want to take on LSU and Alabama every year.
    Bobby left the program in its best shape in many years. We may never be this appealling again for many more years. And, we still are third in line behind Tennessee and Auburn. Long is our only real advantage against those other openings. He will have an advantage with other coaches knowing that Long would have given Chizik and Dooley at least one more year.

    • http://www.razorbloggers.net/ Walking on Sunshine

      Good points. One could argue that we are not third in line given Aubie’s penchant for attracting NCAA investigators to their campus of late. ;)

      • GolfHog

        One could argue. We are equals of sorts with different strengths. I think concensus leans my direction.

  • HungryHog

    This is the moment we have all been waiting on since we had to put an “L” beside the calendar next to the ULM game. The season was over then. Just make it to December 1. Now we are here and I am anxious!

    Can Jeff Long really pull out a big hire? Is Arkansas really capable of pulling another big name? We all know we got lucky to get Petrino – he wanted out, and wanted into the SEC. We were the only spot then. Did Petrino’s stay here show that Arkansas can be a top tier program with the right coach at the helm? Or are we still honestly – “third in line behind Tennessee and Auburn”?

    Is Jeff Long a recruiter? Can he do it? He just got a nice raise and contract extension – does the Administration know something we don’t?

    I hope and pray that a big news conference comes up within the next 7 days and Jeff Long steps up and puts a huge smile on every Arkansan’s face by announcing the new Head Hog and see a Gruden/Cower/Stoops/Fisher/Petersen/Patterson up on the podium calling the Hogs.

    I don’t know if I am trying not to get my hopes up – but I think we end up with Franklin/Smart/Strong/Pelphrey…

    If we learned anything – it is that a college coach makes all the difference in the world. It is worth every penny to get a good coach. Sugar Bowls are much better than 4 and 8 seasons. Jeff Long has had a 8 months to raise money – put his sales pitch together. Come on Jeff, make us proud. Answer the Call.

    • OwassHog

      Jeff Long makes the call but all he gets is busy signals… big time coach not in the cards… hail mary fails… Hogs, lose…. AGAIN! :-(

      • http://www.razorbloggers.net/ Walking on Sunshine

        It’s good to know that we can always count on Owasso to bring us back down to earth. ;) You must still be hanging onto that “eighth in potential” mentality.

        • OwassoHog

          Sorry… reality tells me that we will get a good coach but not a great coach. I still hold out hope!!! At this point, hope is all I got! ;-) If it is of any help… better than our last (Smith) but not as good a the next to last (Petrino)!

  • prairiehogcompanion

    SOS = same old speculation

  • Defense Wins Championships

    Interesting comments. I believe that AD makes a great hire. This time around he has more experience going for us. His Pitt hire of a NFL coach backfired at Pitt. So, I sure would be very surprised if he went that route. I would think that he would try an assistant before that happened; however, I believe it will be a seasoned coach. Few if any of us have all of the pieces to the puzzle that he is looking at and by that “all of the innuendos”, facts of their personalities and how they have fit into the college environment, how well they vet incoming players’ conduct, etc. How well they handle their players period. Long no doubt has learned a lot since his first hire before he arrived at Arkansas.

    Auburn: I do not see that as a good job. Too much Saban! And I surmise that there is too much interference in AU’s football program by the high rollers. I see that program always teetering on NCAA’s crystal ball of problem programs. That should weight in on any good coach; however, “money talks, and bull walks” in so many situations because there are always the Rodriguez’s in coaching. And then there is the male ego that many brings those who believe that they are smarter than the average bear. Problems is: recruiting. Those who are able to attract the best players make their coaches look good but we also know there are some coaches who have problems putting the pieces of a football team puzzle together. Jerry DeNardo comes to mind. And also the coach at Kansas State before the old coach returned to rescue the program, as well as the coach that took Nebraska down before Peline (sp) was hired.

    • Jim Dogg

      “smarter than your average bear”, I like that. I prefer smarter than your average domestic turkey. A friend once raised turkeys and thought they were the dumbest animals in creation. As an ex-unsuccessful turkey hunter I can attest to the IQ transformation that occurs to turkeys in the wild. But bear sounds very good. Much of the speculation on the new coach seems to center on Tuberville. I was dubious of Tuberville going to TT because I wasn’t sure he could develope the wide open spread offensive to be competitive in the Big 12. . He has seemed to do alright with Doege and Leach’s failure at Wazoo seems to have lessened criticism of Tuberville as his replacement at TT. Seems the pieces fit regarding recruiting Texas and Arkansas and his successful SEC experience. Insofar as Tuberville’s age is concerned, my gosh look at Bill Snyder. Seems that old white hetersosexual males are being highly underestimated. Under the radar seems to be Butch Dykes and Gus Malzahn. Butch has recruited the right area, the Arklatex, for a job at Arkansas.
      Personally, I think that Gus should keep building the ASU program and in about 2 years would be ready for a move up. However, no one seems to bring up the status of the Sunbelt and where it’s going or not going which might have an effect on Malzahn’s thinking. The snubbing of champion ASU for the NO Bowl does not build confidence for a future for ASU in the Sunbelt. Nor have the defections or the additon of only recently UCA type schools. I wonder if there is a move underfoot for ASU to change conferences. Consider this, attendence at the MTSU game was over 30,000. This was almost twice that of the MAC and Conference USA championship games (18,000), the same as the Oregon State-Nichols State BSU-Nevada games AND the PAC 12 championship game and only 9,000 less than the OSU-Baylor game. Has there been a larger crowd at another home Sunbelt game? It seems that fan support for ASU might be a factor in moving up. If ASU doesn’t move up in the conference musical chairs game then Gus will definately leave sometime, maybe next year. From the lack of ink given to the Sunbelt by major media and ESPN, relative to the MAC, the Sunbelt is a dead end. Interestingly, Memphis’ move to the Big East may have helped Gus’ recruiting the Memphis area. Away games at Troy, MTSU, WKU, ULM, and ULL easier for family to attend than games at whoever is now in the BIg (?) East. Bottom line is there a Malzahn in the HOG future at sometime in the future?

      q

  • VirginiaHawg

    Les Miles???? Really??? Sounds incestuous….

    • OwassoHog

      Provides me proof that I was right… :-(

      • Hawgfan100

        What proof?

        So far just a bunch of folks talking about the same rumor.

        You need more than that.

  • Defense Wins Championships

    TTU coach will be the one hired, and I am not pushing for any certain coach…that is just what I think. I would think that Tubby would love to be able to oppose AU and he certainly has the recruiting thing down quite good with his success in pulling top players to the far reaches of Texas. Petersen…I do not see him wanting to leave the west with his twin sister there. I do believe he will move when he sees the right opportunity out west. I do NOT believe our fans are patient enough for a person like him to take a job in a totally different part of the country with his recruiting ties mostly in the west. It sure will be interesting to see how this all plays out after Saturday and give fans the pleasure of speculating all winter! That is what we fans do best…speculate.

    • CoachingWinsChampionships

      Petersen does seem to good to be true. And, you make good points. But, Fayetteville and College Station are the most western outposts of the SEC, Long has the check book out, surely that’s 4 mil for the winning-est coach in college football, and there is only one place to go to compete for a National Title, the SEC. I can see it, although it is a lot to hope for.

  • GolfHog

    If it’s Les Miles I’m burning all of my Razorback merchandise. Well, except my 3 Razorbloggers T-shirts and my Nuttin’ but Fun shirt. I have to keep those.

    Then, I’ll spend the next two years following Johnny Football. After that I may become a Vanderbilt fan.

    • Roadhog

      Secede from Hogdom, Golf? That’s pretty radical. I share the feeling, tho I’d have a hard time rooting for a TX team. For a perpetual underdog, Vandy is a good choice. At least you could claim to have the smartest team in the SEC. Me, living in a north AR border county, I’d probably go with Mizzou, for cultural and geographical reasons. The only part of the country worse than TX is the Deep South, aka the rest of the SEC.

      There is still hope that Long will make a good hire. Just in case? Frank Broyles was recently spotted and registering a pulse in Fayetteville.

    • http://www.razorbloggers.net/ Walking on Sunshine

      You wardrobe is safe. We dodged the ‘Les Bullet’.

      • OwassoHog

        And a HUGE bullet it was… today is a GOOD day to be a Hog!

  • Roadhog

    It was probably Les Miles’s agent who leaked that little bit of disinformation. How better to negotiate a raise and contract extension for his client?

    I don’t have a particular coach that I’m hoping for, tho I’d gladly take Petersen. If Long can’t get a front rank coach, i’d go with up-and-comer Malzahn. I like Gus regardless of his ability to coach in the SEC.

    • HungryHog

      I totally agree. NObody here wants Les Miles.. We are such homers – and he can’t even pronounce the state name – ArKANsas. This week can’t end soon enough.

      Come on Long – just hire Petersen. I read somewhere in Petersen’s contract that if he leaves, he still has to coach their bowl game? Is this forceable?

  • Carolina Hog

    Les Miles just made fools of us and LSU. There is not even an original source on this story and the whole nation reported it as true. I’m going to lose my damn mind.

  • Defense Wins Championships

    There is NO credibility to the Miles BS. That is an agent’s rumor…nothing more and nothing less. Miles would not even fit our program. Our program has too much class to consider a stupid talking coach. He has even worn thin with LSU. Reportedly, he wanted the Michigan job but they smartly ignored him. Michigan knew that he would not fit their classy program.

    There is no need to get into the second-guessing game with talking heads who invent things and also take the word of agents who are working for particular coaches.

  • Defense Wins Championships

    If Long was indeed interested in Miles, then Long is a misfit as an AD for Arkansas and he does not have a clue as an administrator. Miles would be a total misfit. He is a misfit for LSU but they are tolerating him as long as he wins big but if he stumps his toe too often on Saban, LSU fans will not take it and will be Tiggeerrrr-mad! State paper said Miles turned Michigan down but I believe that is inaccurate…believe it was the other way around.

    • OwassoHog

      I couldn’t agree more with your first sentence!!! Hold on folks… things could get ugly around Razorback Nation.

    • uvahog

      DWC, the national sports media was quick to figure out what was going on with this whole Les Miles thing: it let all of the real candidates know what kind of a deal we were prepared to make without us actually having to talk to anyone. It was, in fact, a brilliant move on Long’s part. He knew LM back from his days at Michigan and the two of them most likely used a disreputable internet source to achieve what both of them wanted. As you point out LM is not always on solid ground with the LSU crowd and having your divisional rival supposedly offer him big bucks to leave made his stock rise among the faithful. How about we all chill until we actually know who the new coach is going to be.

      Owasso, why can’t you just switch to being an Oklahoma or Okie State fan and rid us of your ignorant, paranoid, inanities.

      • OwassoHog

        Brilliant move? Doubtful… so now we will probably over pay our next coach vs. his actual value.

  • GolfHog

    Barring an eleventh hour miracle finish, it’s starting to look like Long has whiffed again. We should start hearing about Tommy Tubberville and Butch Davis again soon. When you interview Bob Stoops you end up hiring Ron Zook. It’s just the way it is.

    But, Long had nine months. In April he had the only opening in football. Water under the bridge. There is no Bobby Petrino out there this time.

    Oh, wait. There is a Bobby Petrino out there. Is it time to kiss and make up? He may be a jerk but, he’s our jerk. Home is where they have to take you in after you mess up.

  • JIm Dogg

    It seems that now the hot stove favorites are Gundy, Peterson, and yes, Malzahn. Now rumors are that Auburn is interested in Gus. Gus’ offensive coaching was on display this year with ASU and the Auburn offense completely disappeared with Gus’ move to Jonesboro. Seems that the most compelling things for a hire here are money and desire to coach in the SEC, the top of the coaching profession. Insofar as money is concerned I like what Mark May said on ESPN in response to Lou Holtz’ blah, blah about loyalty to the school, the program, area ties etc. Holtz said it just depends on what the coach wants and likes. Mark then realistically said he knew what he liked implying, the money. Desire to coach in the SEC (and money) was apparently the motivation for FSU defensive coordinator taking the now most difficult job in the SEC at Kentucky. Does Gundy have the pride, Peterson the desire for more financial security, and Malzahn the desire to get back to the SEC and the PR.