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Pigskin Picture: One Step Forward and Two Steps Back

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It’s not great.

Vanderbilt v Arkansas Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Let’s rewind to three weeks ago, when Arkansas got blasted by Alabama but the overall feeling was positive because it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. And then there was optimism! The next three games looked pretty winnable! The Hogs have now gone 1-2 in that stretch following a disappointing performance against Vanderbilt. Now the Hogs a firmly cemented at the bottom of the conference for this season and are likely looking at losing double digit games for the first time in program history.

Following the Alabama game, this is what I said about this three game stretch.

If the Hogs go 2-1 in this stretch or better it will feel like a justification that things are moving in the right direction. Things needed to change and are changing. 1-2 will be understandable but a little disappointing, and 0-3 will be an abject failure. For the first half of the season, it was apparent that expectations needed to be readjusted. Now there’s all this talk of improvement, and it feels like it’s there. Now is the time where you’re not playing juggernauts, and have some more things to build on. If that improvement is real and not fools gold, it will show on the scoreboard in these next three weeks. It’s time to take the positives and grow. It’s time to start to turn the corner.

“Understandable but a little disappointing” definitely feels right with how these three games have gone. Arkansas had the chance to come out of this 2-1 but couldn’t get over their 4th quarter yips against Ole Miss. They did their job against Tulsa, but couldn’t take that momentum into the Vanderbilt game and pick up a conference win. It’s one step forward and two steps back.

So far this season any feeling of optimism has been yanked out from underneath Hog fans. Get a good season opener against a weak FCS opponent and thinking you’ve found your quarterback, only to lose the next game in very Bielema-like fashion and continue to fumble the quarterback situation for the next two games. Have the offense in a good spot with a lead against a Conference opponent? Well now you’re quarterback and two running backs are knocked out of the game and you can’t hold on. Get a win and a shutout against an FBS opponent? Now you just gave up 45 to Vandy.

The game to game inconsistency is maddening and every one should get the share of the blame for it. The previous staff, the current staff, and the players. It’s no one’s fault in particular, it’s everyone’s fault. For all of the people blindly blaming Bielema for leaving the cupboard bare, it’s conviently forgetting the very obvious coaching mistakes this staff is making (seriously you punted on fourth-and-short in plus territory AGAIN?). Only blaming the current staff puts the pressure on making a turnaround that is very difficult due to the circumstances and environment everyone is in. So right now Arkansas is in a big mess, and it’s no one person’s fault, it’s a lot of people’s.