Tyler Wilson and Razorbacks can still salvage some things in 2012 season

Ronald Martinez - Getty Images

With the Razorbacks stuck at 1-4 and playing nearly unwatchable football, what's left for this team to play for?

Tyler Wilson rolled right and threw the ball out of bounds near the orange pylon in the end zone. The drive was over, but at least the Razorbacks would score and take back the lead.

The field goal team trotted on to the field and the cameras panned to the Arkansas sideline.

As Wilson walked toward the metal benches, Paul Petrino wrenched his mouth sideways and said something short and direct to his quarterback.

Wilson kept walking, but when he registered what Petrino said, he stopped for half a beat, narrowed his eyes and shot a dark look into the back of his offensive coordinator's head.

The coach of a 1-3 team was cussing him. With his team leading. In the first quarter.

The moment captured by ESPN cameras was evocative of what a disaster this season already is for the Razorbacks - a season marked by the complete and utter failure of the men tasked to lead the program.

What's more is that Wilson's reply to Petrino shows that the team fully understands that the men tasked with leading them have failed in such a profound way that the players are starting to rebel against it.

It's hard to get up and go to work every day when you know your bosses are incompetent. And I can't imagine anyone wearing a Hog on their shirt has much inspiration to go hit the weight room or practice field anymore. But even though the coaches have not prepared the Razorbacks to play well, the 2012 team can still protect their dignity by at least playing hard for the rest of the season.

There's still a lot to salvage this year.

Arkansas is coming up on the easiest part of its schedule over the next few weeks - Auburn, Kentucky, Ole Miss and Tulsa - so the season's last few wins will surely come in this stretch. While that's not exactly an encouraging fact (the preseason Hogs didn't expect to be worried about that slate of less-than-mighty foes) a few more wins can at least salve the wounds a bit.

Wilson, for his part, can keep up his stock for the NFL draft. A good (well, good enough) end to the season might land him big money as the first quarterback selected in the draft.

Right now, the quarterback prospect playing the best football is West Virginia's Geno Smith, followed by EJ Manuel and Aaron Murray in no particular order. The rest of the class has been wildly variable. Matt Barkley has been forgettable. Logan Thomas has been awful. Landry Jones continues his regression. Tyler Bray has some nice tools, but... he's still Tyler Bray. Altogether, it means that Wilson has a chance to be the highest Arkansas draft pick since Darren McFadden. You have to imagine the 1-3 Chiefs are looking to invest in someone other than Matt Cassel.

The same goes for Cobi Hamilton. He's seen as one of the top ten wide receiver prospects right now, and if he continues to crush opposing defenses, even in losing efforts, he could push himself into the second round of the draft - higher than Greg Childs, Jarius Wright and Joe Adams.

For the freshmen and sophomores on the team, there are still seven games to play where they can put their talents on display for the next Razorback coaching staff. Whoever takes over the program in the winter will have plenty of time to assess the film (I can't imagine what kind of sadomasochist would want to watch it) and find out which young players can help turn the program back in the right direction.

Altogether, it's easy to want to hit fast forward on the rest of the year. It's gotten to the point where you don't even want to tune in to see the game. The offensive line's blocking schemes look like a very talented three-year-old has drawn them up. It always seems like an accident whenever a Razorback manages to tackle someone. Every play call seems to be worse than the last.

But even as bleak as it may be, the truth is that the Razorbacks are at a point in their season where they can salvage some things. The last eight weeks of this season should mean a lot to the individuals who actually strap up every game.

And while division, conference and national titles are well out of the picture, there's really only one thing they can't salvage - their coaches' jobs.

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