Hog fans await the end of the football season like a dutiful grandchild at the impending passing of a beloved patriarch, terminally ill and clutching to life fueled solely by rote.
The 2019 Arkansas football season undoubtedly will go down as the worst in school history; a sad footnote in the tale of a once-proud program.
The infection may have been removed — and I hesitate to use that term. Chad Morris is a good man, but his tenure on the Hill can only be described as infectious. But the damage was done. Therapy begins once a new coach is hired. Barry Lunney Jr. is the hospice nurse, doing all he can to ensure a palatable end.
The Hogs did show some fight in Baton Rouge, two quarters worth anyway, and hey — improvement. Two quarters’ worth beats what we’d seen on the field the last month or so. Whatever the factors that led to the devolution of the program under Bret Bielema and the continued downward trend under Morris, and there are a few, perhaps the new coach will foster unity. Because from the outside looking in, it sure seems like players and coaches haven’t been on the same page in a while. The curmudgeon in me bemoans the fact that players today need be coddled. The realist in me suspects that while Morris can recruit, his leadership skills were far from adequate.
A new coach — Lane Kiffin, Justin Fuente? — will come in and provide stability, and soon enough Arkansas will be back to competitiveness with a blue moon 10 wins thrown in for good measure. Too much is invested in the program for Razorback football to stay down.
But in the meantime, there’s another SEC losing streak to address. The new coach will inherit talent at the skill positions, top 20 facilities and a hungry fan base willing to be patient as long as progress is evident. Sure, it would be nice if he didn’t inherit that conference losing streak as well.
On paper, Missouri will win Friday on Little Rock, in what of course should be bad weather. (Bad weather seems to follow the Morris crew to Little Rock regardless of the time of year.) But the 5-6 Tigers have lost five straight after a fast start, and on probation don’t have bowl eligibility on the line. Something tells me Lunney — Arkie through and through — will coax four quarters of fight out of our Hogs regardless of who’s behind center. To better days ahead.
Lindsey to Burks for the win. Why not? Hogs, 23-22.