Former Arkansas coach Jack Crowe, in retirement now, has apparently appointed himself to study college football programs and offer his analysis.
Crowe learned a lot during his years coaching, including stops at Auburn and Clemson before a rather unforgettable tenure coaching the Razorbacks after Ken Hatfield’s sudden exit in 1990.
His latest report is entitled “Leadership sovereignty is the lifeblood of football excellence.” You can get to it by clicking here (warning: you will need to be able to read Microsoft Word documents).
He is providing commentary on “a comparison of the traditions, coaches, AD’s, and authorities of their (Alabama, Auburn, Clemson and Arkansas) organizational structure.”
Earlier this season he tweeted that the Hogs are apparently content to be mediocre. His view on that is shared by many former players and increasing numbers of fans.
Here is what he said about Arkansas (and it is edited to correct some grammar issues and add paragraphs as a convenience to make it easier to read):
Arkansas, like Tennessee, is a tougher job because of its access to talented players.
Sovereignty is achievable with success.
The head coach here has to be a master at managing expectations and getting the right four or five explosive players.
Arkansas is part of my study group because Arkansas is like Oregon in that when they have the right coach they can play for the National Championship.
I believe in their tradition. I enjoyed coaching Arkansas players more than any. They play to prove something. Emotions and teamwork are standards of their tradition and it is my personality.
Bobby Petrino had the strategy, as did Houston Nutt, to get the right explosive players in the mix with toughness and teamwork.
I see only mediocrity at Arkansas until that returns.
My last radio interview, this year, the commentator made excuses for my assertions. Apparently, the media has become apathetic. Who will Change it?
Crowe’s conclusions pretty much fall in line with what many fans feel, even if they don’t know the exact reasoning.
In Arkansas’ past, success at a high national level occurred when they had in-state players who often played a couple of stars above their rated ability. Having a system in place that maximized what the skills are of players is what has worked.
No coach has had a lot of success trying to make the players he can recruit to Arkansas fit some ironclad system.
That didn’t even work for Lou Holtz when he decided on the bus ride from the Superdome after being hammered by Alabama on Jan. 2, 1980, that he was going to a physical type approach with the I-formation.
By the fourth game of the year he had abandoned that plan and went back to the Houston Veer, which was an offense that allowed a team that didn’t quite have a two-deep roster of future NFL players compete with those that did.
Even Ken Hatfield wasn’t above making some modifications to his offense to take advantage of what the players he had could do. When he brought Crowe in as offensive coordinator in 1989, the Hogs set school offensive records and won their second straight Southwest Conference championship.
After a second straight 7-5 regular season, there’s not an overwhelming call to change the coach. Bret Bielema is not in danger of getting fired and apparently will be allowed to maintain his coaching staff as he sees fit.
In the fourth year of any coach’s tenure at a school, you have an idea of what you’re going to have. It doesn’t take the five years we’ve been told by sources connected to the Razorbacks that Bielema was given.
Right now, Razorback football has, at best, flat-lined.
The reality is the Hogs took a step backwards this year, losing five league games and four in the SEC West, which is the most important area to improve. Anybody that says this year is equal to last year is blowing smoke.
The overall record is the same as last year because they played a weaker non-conference schedule and getting TCU in a down year. They still nearly lost the opener to Louisiana Tech and the Frogs took them to double overtime.
There’s only two ways to go from there.
One way is what everyone hopes for, but likely will require some changes, either in better personnel with a better plan.
The other, well, puts Arkansas in a position where somebody is going to have to make a decision.
Which doesn’t provide a lot of hope for many.