I don't have a lot to say about this game that can't be summed up with the old cliche of "An ugly win is still a win." And that is what we got on Saturday, an ugly win, a win that doesn't inspire a lot of confidence in our team as we start the SEC grind next week, but still a win. As everyone is saying across Arkansas and points beyond this morning, play like we played against Auburn or LSU, and we get ourselves beat. I haven't looked at a TV Guide in years (Are they still published?), but I remember the old Cheers and Jeers section of it where they would give a thumbs up or down to different programs. And that is how I am going to proceed with this week's post.
CHEERS: To the 86 percent of Americans who went on ESPN and voted Arkansas the winner. Thanks for your support, America! But if you knew Arkansas's trend of looking pretty bad coming off bye weeks, you might not have been so confident. I thought with the week off we might play ugly, and that was rather evident in the many penalities (those false starts!) and the lack of being consistent on offense. Just three points in the second half.
JEERS: To Herbie on Gameday for not even knowing where the game was going to be played (not Kyle Field) and then rather smugly picking against us with the remark that Jerod Johnson would be the Player of the Game. Ah, he was 15-40 and one of the main reasons Arkansas won the game. So, yeah, in a way, for Arkansas fans he was in part the Player of the Game, haha. Only Corso had our back on Saturday.
CHEERS: To the Defense. You guys clearly deserved the game ball. You bailed out the offense, which was something you weren't really able to do that much of last year. And cheers as well to the Special Teams units. You guys did your jobs and didn't let that area of the game beat us or contribute to beating us like it has in the past.
JEERS: Who do you think you are, Bobby Petrino? Les Miles? haha. The fake field goal was not a highlight moment for the Hogs. I like to think I would be critical of this play call even if it had worked. Honestly, I probably wouldn't be. With it not working, it is easier to say that it was an uncalled for play and that we should have just taken the points in the form of a field goal. That last quarter would not have been nearly as stressful if the Hogs had been up by ten points instead of seven.
CHEERS: To Ben Cleveland, who caught the difference in the game touchdown. He seems like he has been a Hog forever (five years), and he is the last of the Fabled Springdale Five to still play for the Hogs. He is also one of the few players who can remember what it feels like to have beaten Bama. So it was good to see a less used player who has stuck around make a touchdown.
JEERS: Jerry Jones's wardrobe. Did you see him wearing A&M colors? I can't recall what he was wearing last year, but maybe he selects the colors of the home team each year. Isn't there some rule in the alumni association laws that says if you are a football tycoon graduate you have to support your alma mater with the wearing of red inside the enormous monument to your oversized ego when your old team is playing?
CHEERS: To an improved running game. But I think it is going to take several more games before we can say we really have one that we can count on.
JEERS: DJ Williams, I love ya man. I like what you bring to the game. But you are just going to have to stop these false starts and holding penalties. This seems to be a trend here.
CHEERS: Joe Adams, who not even a stroke could stop, has to be one of the toughest Hogs we have. He took a tremendous hit on special teams in the second half and got back up. If there is one player who you can count on getting the snot knocked out of him (LSU game last year) but still keeps on ticking after that licken, it is Joe. My butt just doesn't tighten up as much when Joe is back there catching kickoffs and punts. He has held on to the ball, admireably so.
JEERS: The little checkdown safety passes need to be practiced more, for the Hogs didn't look all that sharp at executing them at times on Saturday. If I were the Hogs, I would spend the week practicing middle screens to Knile Davis and Ronnie Wingo. I would love to see us take advantage of Auburn's soon to come blitzes by just dumping it off over the pass rushers' heads and getting our guys beyond that initial line of defenders where they can make the YAC.
CHEERS: To Broadway's pass interference call during A&M's last drive. Where A&M was on the field and it being only a 15 yard penalty, that made Broadway's penality the best one of the day for the Hogs. The alternative could have been an Aggie touchdown. And Cheers also to Tremain Thomas for picking off Johnson's last pass in the endzone. I had Georgia flashbacks there for a moment. We are 2-0 in Hail Marys against us right now.
JEERS: To ever playing again in Jerry World during sunset. You would think someone would have thought about how the sun poring through the end of the stadium might affect players. Lucky for us, A&M's Fuller was thrown off the catching of a pass during that final drive by Helios himself, and I don't mean Jerry Jones, haha.
CHEERS: To the three touchdowns by Mallett. All three were things of beauty in their own way. I think that can be forgotten as we focus more today on the negatives of the game, the things we need to and must improve on.
JEERS: I'll end on a Jeer just as a point of emphasis. Where was Brandon Mitchell? I think that guy is too much of a play maker to be sitting on the bench as much as he is right now. Petrino, find a way to get that guy on the field. Line him up at receiver and do a reverse. Put him in a wildcat formation with the option of giving the ball to Joe Adams. This is an offense that is starving for another way to move the chains other than a Mallett bomb down the field. Feed it Brandon Mitchell!