How do you win over a fanbase?
By showing things have changed for the better. That whatever things went wrong with the previous group of players, coaches, administrators, whoever, have been addressed and things in that area of deficiency are getting better. Which is why Arkansas blowing yet another fourth quarter lead is especially deflating.
I could see it all week. After scoring 31 points against Alabama, there was optimism. You could see it everywhere, on social media, here in the comments, and even among the media. Still throughout that entire week of optimism, I couldn’t join in that. There was still that sense of impending doom.
That feeling that despite all the optimism, and good feelings, it still wasn’t that much better. Sure Arkansas put up 31 and looked like a functional offense against college football’s version of the death star. They still lost by 34. They’re still a 1-5 team that doesn’t get the little things right and doesn’t have the talent to make up for those mistakes.
Oh yeah, and the whole fourth quarter thing.
Arkansas has become so awful at fourth quarters at this point it’s become predictable. About five minutes into the fourth quarter of this one I got a text from a friend.
“We’re gonna blow this game aren’t we?”
“Looks like it.”
We both knew. We both had that sense of impending doom. That even though the Hogs we’re up 33-24 it still didn’t feel safe in anyway. Sure enough, adjustments weren’t made on defense. Arkansas’ offense didn’t have a plan B when the things that initially were successful couldn’t be replicated. Then Arkansas couldn’t score, and then gave up two touchdown drives in the final minutes to seal their fate.
It’s no one’s fault that Rakeem Boyd, Devwah Whaley, and Ty Storey got hurt (although we could probably spend some time in practice teaching Ty to slide.) But there’s got to be a contingency plan. And the lane integrity is a very teachable concept, especially for a coaching staff who likes to run an offense with athletic quarterbacks.
The previous staff had a major problem closing out games and seasons. That was a major factor in Bret Bielema failing at Arkansas. That was an important factor that fans wanted fixed. So far? Chad Morris is 0-2 at Arkansas with 4th quarter leads against FBS opponents. He had a chance to put things on the right path against Colorado State and failed to do so. He had another chance to do so in Little Rock, a win that could’ve started the second half of his first year right. One that could have started a winning streak and a whole lot of momentum into 2019. Again, he failed to do so.
Arkansas blowing fourth quarter leads has killed them in three consecutive seasons now. That fear of impending doom when the clock strikes four is now deep within a collective fanbase. If Morris wants to win over the fanbase, a fanbase that collectively is trying so hard to latch on to something positive, he has to kill that sense of impending doom.
The day I no longer dread a two possession fourth quarter lead is the day I’ll be all in on Morris. So far he hasn’t done that, but hopefully that will come soon.