Monday, January 01, 2007

Hogs lose another bowl game

As Houston Nutt's last decent season, 1998, he ends his season with consecutive losses. The weak link this year, alleged special teams "coach", James Shibest and a fat, unathletic excuse for a kicker, Jeremy Davis. Jeremy, I believe Missouri Southern needs someone to miss chip-shot field goals and extra points. Is Hendrix College still considering fielding a football team? I believe Davis would fail to make the cut if he tried out. Davis has missed 6 of his last 8 field goals for the season. Three consecutive losses because of special teams miscues including the facemask penalty on Goode that practically sealed the Hogs fate after pinning the Badgers inside their own 15 late in the game are inexcusable. James Shibest should be reassigned on the Hogs staff or fired. He has been a failure at coaching his position and he should be treated accordingly.

Let's all hope the Hogs find a qb next season. I have no hope for Casey "Just Short Every Time on the Long Passes" Dick. Every deep ball he throws short or he throws it 10 yards past the receiver. Mustain MUST put it together this spring and fall or we'll have three talking heads in the booth talking about "what if" the Hogs had a real qb all next season. I'm certain Frank Broyles would find Shibest responsible for the past three losses sealed by sloppy special teams disasters and fire him. Nutt has to pull the plug on Shibest and find a legitimate special teams coach. Is Ken Turner still available? Last I heard, Ken lives in Arkadelphia, Houston. Ken Hatfield was an excellent special teams coach when he was an assistant and I hear he's moving back to NW AR, so give him a call, Houston.

Wisconsin's defensive strategy was not to outmaneuver themselves against speedsters Jones and McFadden and they held their positions and rarely overpursued the football. Also, the field conditions took away the most effective tool of our great backs, the cutback. They slipped and slid all day and Jones still managed to gain 150+ yards and McFadden gained a "meager" 90+ yards rushing. The Badgers defense refused to help the Arkansas rush attack as so many opponents have done this season. Herring made some crucial adjustments after the Badgers tweaked their offense in the first half and scored all their points. The Badgers were hapless offensively except for Arkansas penalties that accounted for at least 130 yards and took away a great roll of the punt late and some tenacious man-to-man defense in the 2nd half.

There's a lot of upside to this Hog team, but I'm tired of losing bowl games. Oh well, even the GREAT Notre Dame has lost 8 consecutive bowl games, largely because their revenue generation value has had them placed in bowl games in which they simply didn't deserve to play. That's not quite the story for Nutt's tenure, but severe weaknesses at qb and in the special teams, specifically the field goal and extra point game, has been his Achilles'. I hope the entire staff except for weak link James Shibest returns next season and another qb prospect in recruiting would be nice to put some pressure on both Dick and Mustain. Dick just doesn't posess the passing accuracy of Mustain. He needs to get to work to maintain ANY chance of starting in the future as anything but the "DeBerg" qb, i.e., the marginal qb(no offense to DeBerg, who had a great late career run with the Chiefs, but he was NO Joe Montana--who supplanted Steve with the Niners and Chiefs) who holds down the position until the "franchise" qb progresses to starter or a real qb arrives.

Matt Jones was never a real qb, but his wheels and instincts gave the Hogs their best chance to win. It is time for Nutt to find a true answer at starting qb and he, Malzahn, and Wood have got to get through to these qbs in the off season and make them assets instead of obvious liabilities. Paul MacGuire stated several times during the Cap One broadcast that "if only" the Hogs had a qb, they'd be much more fun to watch today and D-Mc might have had more yardage as well as Jones.

The only thing that bothers me about next year is the lack of non-conference opponent that will help with the BCS ratings. We've got to win them all to get a shot, even then, we will need help from opponents of the media darlings such as ND, Michigan, USC, and OH State. Speaking of USC, it would have been nice to have had a legitimate starting qb against them this year. That way, the score could have been 38-21 SC, but at least that's not 50-14. Let's hope to pick up some more great athletes this recruiting season. I'm happy with the commitments all ready in the bag(assuming no one 'de-commits'). We need some bigger asses for both lines and another legitimate qb prospect. With Danny Nutt coaching running backs, I suspect we'll add yet another great back for the stable next year. Smith could be more important next year and a healthy Hillis would be welcome. Mitchell and Anderson will anchor a fine d-line returning next year, as long as we find someone else to man the middle like Jackson. Keith Jackson Jr. really turned up his intensity this year after a slow start and will need to be replaced with a taller, quicker specimen who is also 300 pounds plus (ah, dream a dream of bigger, faster, stronger, and smarter d -linemen--not that I see any morons on this year's d-line--I've witnessed great instincts and excellent prep in the film room and practice field for this bunch, particularly when early in the game Herring was spotted yelling at his kids to get the hands high, like a great b-ball coach would adjure all game long and we started batting down balls and Jackson got the int).

OK, Stan, all eyes on the Hogs. Let's never lose to Bucknell again, who lost last week to UCA(that's right, Central Arkansas from Conway beat the team the put us out last season). Granted, last year's Bucknell is better than this season's, but a good coach would have beaten Bucknell with our kids last year. I'm glad Heath earned another season because I'd have hated to see yet another b-ball coaching change. However, I see in Heath a coach who just can't quite get through to his kids who was hapless to help his kids adjust against Mizzou or Tx Tech. Mizzou employed a very recognizable defensive strategy with which Heath seemed unfamiliar. My God, Nolan Richardson's teams dominated the airwaves through most of his career with UA and he SHOULD have recognized the fact that Nolan's and now Anderson's kids will trail the ball handler down the floor and wait to snag the ball away when it's put on the floor or a pass is attempted. Heath NEVER adjusted and kept Gary "Turnover Waiting to Happen" Ervan in the game to make certain he lost by 20.


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