Here is the second part of our recent interview with comedian/actor Matt Besser, a Little Rock native and rabid Hog fan (here's part 1). In today's installment, Matt discusses last season's infuriating loss to Florida and John Pelphrey's woes. We'll be posting the rest of the interview throughout this week.
Expats: One reason to think that this could be a very good year is that the schedule is at least a little bit easier than it has been the last two or three seasons. It's not easy by any stretch, but Florida is off the schedule, and they've got Alabama at home. It seems like there are some pieces in place for it to be a really strong year.
Besser: Alabama at home - that's going to be an amazing game. That's definitely the game of the year.
Expats: Going back to what you were saying about Mallett and the Heisman — I don't know what our odds are to beat Alabama this year, but if we do, and he plays well, I think the hype is going to start to go through the roof at that point. But that's probably getting a little ahead of ourselves.
Besser: (Laughs) Yeah, yeah.
What's great is that it's not a one-dimensional deal - they've got a lot of great running backs too. It's just like the receivers - you can't point to one being so much better than the others. There are four, maybe even five guys that the defenses are going to have to - they're never going to know what's going to happen. That's what I like.
Expats: Is there a running back that, as a fan, you particularly like?
Besser: I don't know - I like Wingo. That's maybe the obvious choice. He seems to be a more exciting runner.
Expats: What about the receivers?
Besser: With those guys, you think, "Yeah, Joe Adams is my favorite." And then the next week, it's somebody else. I don't even want to pick one. I'm so happy with the offense.
I'm happy that there are new players coming on defense. I hope they really rise up.
We brought in a lot of kicking recruits, it seems. I'm interested to see what's going to be up with that.
Expats: If we're having this conversation a year from now, are we going to be lamenting that we lost games because of missed field goals or allowing punt returns against us touchdowns? It feels like that's a common thread in Razorback football in recent years.
Besser: The most upset I was last year was after the Florida game [editor's note: check out the seventh comment in this post-game thread]. I was just beside myself. We had a ton of screw-ups on special teams that day.
Well, first off, we should have won. As I remember, the referees fucked us that game. As I remember, the kicking game just failed on every level that day. I feel like they've brought in a lot of guys that, at least when you read about ‘em, they sound interesting. I'm excited to see this Zach Hocker guy.
Expats: Switching subjects - we'll get back to football in a little bit - but as exciting as the football situation is, the basketball situation is every bit as depressing. What's your take on Coach Pelphrey so far? Do you still have hope that he can turn out to be a good coach for Arkansas, or do you feel like the jury's already in?
Besser: Man - you certainly can't blame all that's happened on Pelphrey. That's for sure. All of the discipline that has happened - and then no one ever knows what it's for. You're guessing. But you know there are a lot of discipline problems in every program, and you appreciate a guy that doesn't just let that go by the wayside, I guess.
But it happened so much last year, and it just crippled us. It really makes you second-guess the coach when you don't know what's going on. He's kind of in a bad place. I feel sorry for him on that. You ultimately just don't know.
But the one area that you could see in game situations that frustrated me was when a player would play out of his position, and Pelphrey didn't seem to shut that down. Maybe that's because he didn't have many choices to put on the floor.
But sometimes certain players would just play beyond their skill set, and it just really bugged the shit out of me. And it seemed to last the whole game.
To me, a coach should say, "Stop doing that or you're sitting on the bench." But I feel like it happened a lot, where games just got out of control because of that. That's the one frustrating thing that I see.
But I don't know - he's had a lot of bad circumstances too. So, I'll give him another year, but what can he possible prove this year? Who's he going to have? Marshawn Powell. I love Rotnei Clarke. I think it's very unfortunate that Courtney Fortson is leaving. I don't know what to think of that guy, but he had a lot of talent.
Expats: If you had to look into your crystal ball, what do you think Courtney Fortson is doing at this exact moment?
Besser: Learning about Greece and Russia. That's where he's going to be playing.