Thanks to Daylight Savings Time, the Hogs and Hog fans got an extra hour of misery after the 35-17 loss to Auburn this weekend. Time itself is even working against us! I am looking forward to the Hogs winning again on a weekend that we turn our clocks back. Actually, I am just looking forward to the Hogs winning again - period. To get an extra hour of joy in 2014, that will mean a win in Starkville, as we play Mississippi State on November the 1st, earlier than usual. Here are some assorted thoughts about the game, the season, some historical perspective, and as always, the weekly poll, which attempts to look at the heart of this darkness.
* How about we start at 4th and 1 on the goal line with the possibility of making the score 14-10. What do we do? We forget that Auburn's defensive line is not our own and run right into it over and over for squat. Whereas our line went red cape matador with Tre Mason, Auburn's held firm. Play action? QB keeper? Something! I think out of that stadium of over 60,000 Razorback fans, if given an opportunity, only a coaching staff would have made those calls. I say "a coaching staff" because I have seen others do the same stubborn thing of trying to run it up the middle, play after play.
* Speaking of Tre Mason (168 yards and I believe all but one of Auburn's touchdowns), I think we have to say that he is still running through Fayetteville like we like to say that Fred Talley is still running through Auburn.
* That other Auburn touchdown. Geez. I like how Tevin Mitchell sprang right back up, but yet another Razorback defender not making a good play on the ball. Which makes me wonder, what in the world do our corners and safeties do during practice? Do they practice looking for the ball? You would think that they would develop a sense of when the ball is coming their way. I don't know. Hands thrown up in the air!
* I hear that we won the stats for the most part. Hurray! Of course, that means nothing. Or does it? After the last two games, 35-17 and winning some stats does feel like some progress.
* After the first offensive series went downhill, I really wondered if it was possible for the Hogs to go the rest of the season without scoring another point on offense. I didn't know that Allen would be back. With A.J. under center, going scoreless for the rest of the season was starting to go from "No way" to "Hmm, could happen."
* A.J. Derby. Is this guy even on our team if Bret didn't once play with his father?
* But we didn't. We got the Hocker field goal and Brandon Allen's first touchdown pass since September the 29th. Talking about a bad October! And I was happy to see Kiero Small on Senior Night get a touchdown.
* Speaking of seniors, face it guys. You are going to be forever known for your involvement in two of the best years of Razorback football (2010 and 2011) and two of the worse. There's been nothing in-between about you! You will still always be Razorbacks, and I hope to see your names on Senior Walk the next time I am on campus. Thank you for all the work you put into being a Razorback.
* Turnovers. We produce them - for the other team. But again this year we can't produce them for ourselves. We had a small window Saturday night to turn this game into something that would make Auburn fans nervous. But Marshall's fumble, with Hogs all around it, still ended up back in Marshall's hands. The score was 28-17 at the time. We get the ball then and score, 28-24, and the Mighty Mo is with us, who knows. Instead, Auburn recovered and kept racking up rushing yards on the way to another Tre Mason touchdown. How did we produce that fumble that got away? Nothing more complicated than getting a helmet on the ball and having it pop out.
* Wondering how many three win seasons Hog fans have had to endure? Well, here they are. 1899, 1901, 1903, 1918, 1919, 1920, 1930, 1931, 1941, 1942, 1945, 1953, and then Jack Crowe's 1990 squad that resembles the present plunge seeing as the Hogs were coming off of two SWC Championship years in 1988 and 1989.
* That 1990 team holds the record of the longest losing streak within a season at seven straight losses. TCU, Texas Tech, Texas, Houston, Rice and Baylor even, and Texas A&M gave us losses. Our wins were against SMU at Dallas to end the season and two wins earlier against Colorado State and Tulsa. I wish Tulsa were on our schedule this year, for it doesn't seem to matter how bad we are, we still usually manage to beat Tulsa.
* There was some talk earlier in the season about Alex Collins and JWill being compared to McFadden and Jones. Unfortunately, as good as Alex Collins is with patience and vision, he doesn't have that breakaway speed that McFadden and Jones had. Hopefully he can find it. JWill, I was very impressed with his hard running against Auburn.
* Keep this in mind. No bowl game also means there's no way Arkansas's bad bowl record will get worse! And I feel like it would if this team got sent to Memphis or Shreveport. Better to go to the next bowl when we can put a team out there that can give us bowl win number fourteen.
* Did any of you catch 60 Minutes on Sunday night? It went inside Nick Saban's empire in Tuscaloosa. And I have to say, though I really hate the guy for the way he kicks Arkansas in the face every year, that hate has a large amount of envy and admiration attached to it. Attention to detail and perfection, he demands it, demands it. He said that they set a standard and expect the players to live up to that standard with each and every play. They even showed Saban at a football camp for kids instructing them how to shake his hand after getting a certificate from him.
* Saban Part Two: Before running out on the field, they showed the Alabama players doing a chant about getting their mind right. And in a game where Arkansas did more beating of itself, I think we need some type of chant from the stands, such as 60,000 plus at the start of the game hollering, "Play Smart Hogs!" Or one side could holler "Play Smart, Hogs!" while the other could respond with "Play Smarter, Hogs!"
* If you know an Auburn fan, and I do, you will hear him or her tell you that Swain was not faking it there in the endzone. Yeah. I like to think that my fan glasses are not so dark that I would have called it what it was if it had been Arkansas doing the fake-a-roony out there.
* Oh, and I can't conclude without bringing up the onside kick. Bret, I am on your side. Still with you. I say give him time. Let him recruit. Yadda, yadda, yadda. But calling plays like that really makes me wonder about what type of football intelligence you are working with. Maybe the losing has got to your head as well? There is risk / reward. And that call was way too heavy on the risk than it was reward. And we paid for that with seven Auburn points from a short field.
POLL: Here is one for you to ponder. Where do you think our current players this season have been most lacking? I know, what a negative poll question. But I think it goes to the heart of the matter of these six straight losses. In reality, I think it is a combination of lack of football IQ, physical ability, and will or fight (in Nutt speak, heart). But does one predominate? I think one does. I hate to type it. But I don't think our players are very football smart. The penalties, the missed assignments, making the same mistakes over and over, the busted plays, the keystone cop moments, they are signs of players who have not mentally internalized what they need to know to play the game at a winning level. But what do you think? Click and comment.