OK, I knew this already, but the game against Alabama just reinforced the lesson. It is hard to win a football game in the SEC. I drove down to Tulsa to watch the game at the Greater Tulsa Razorback Club watch party. They met at Indigo Joe’s, which is technically in Bixby. It is a great place for a watch party.
When I arrived, the main viewing area was full of LSU fans watching the Tigers play in Starkville. Their game ran a little long, so we had to wait to move where we could watch the wall of TVs.
When Arkansas held Alabama to 14 points in the first half and then scored the first touchdown of the second half, I thought we had a chance to make the game competitive. Like my friend Ken (HOGinBA) I was disappointed in the defense.
I think I will end this now and look ahead to the inaugural Southwest Classic, Texas A&M vs. Arkansas in Jerry’s World. I’m treating myself to the Arkansas Alumni Association travel package. I get two nights at the Hilton-Anatole, a party on Friday night, transportation to and from the game and access to a party/parade pre-game. It should be fun.
As I posted last week, I was very excited for the first SEC game of the 2009 Arkansas Razorback Football season. I knew there were still some questions to be answered, but I was confident that there would be a great improvement over last year. Well, the offense was impressive, but the defense needs some work. So instead of posting about the game itself (you can find a lot of information about the game elsewhere), I will concentrate on the surrounding “festivities.” BTW, for the Monday Column by Malvie, check out: Georgia vs. Arkansas: Oh, where, oh where has my Defense gone?
I was able to spend time with several friends and I really made a full day of it. By the way, I apologize for the quality of some pictures. They were taken with my cell phone.
I got up at 6:30 a.m. so that I could take care of the dogs and be on the road by 9 o’clock. That allowed me to be in Fayetteville in time for …
I originally planned lunch so that my friend Jim (aka AZHawg), his brother, and I could have lunch with Holly and Carl (aka StressHog and Mr. Stressie). Then Holly got sick and the “Stressies” had to stay in Choctaw, Oklahoma instead of coming to the game. Our friend Clay Henry (once known as arkansaspub) was able to join us before he had to go to work reporting on the game.
We stuck to the original plan and went to Mama Dean’s Soul Food Kitchen. I had fried pork chops, yams, corn nuggets, hot water cornbread, sweet tea, and lemon cake. I was full when I took the picture of my plate. As you can see there was still a lot of food left.
Al, Clay, and Jim were great company for lunch.
It’s a shame that I didn’t get a better picture.
After Lunch – Tailgate!
It was beginning to mist when I left the car and started up the hill. I was lost in musing as I walked when I heard someone say “Is that Marty?” It was Jeremiah (JGage), his wife Ginger and a friend of theirs. (I’m sorry that I forgot her name. I’m bad that way.)
I stopped by the old WebHogs Razorback Club tailgating site. While I was visiting, a car stopped on Leroy Pond Drive. It was Fred (Tuschawg) and Jan from Tuscaloosa. When Daddy and I first started going to tailgates, Fred and Jan were the first to welcome us. After they parked, the three of us walked up the hill looking for the location that Nick (MalvernHog) had told me about.
Once we found the spot, we were all welcomed by Joey (WherezThePork). I have been spoiled by pre-game tailgating and I sure do not want to give it up. So folks, look for me to join your tailgate!
After some high-class tailgating, Fred, Jan and I walked over to the Alumni House. They offer a great get-together too! They had hot dogs, hamburgers, etc. But there was also a contingent of the cheer squad and the band to get everyone in the mood. By this time I had forgotten to keep taking pictures, so I failed to get any shots of Kathy (PetuniaPig), Larry, and their son Ben. Nick took care of that by getting a photo of Kathy and Larry after they joined the tailgate. (See the post linked above.)
For the first time in recent memory, the sides of the A were straight!!
Good job band.
The Game and after
The game was incredibly exciting and very long. As I said earlier, you can find lots of game analysis elsewhere. By the end, I was exhausted.
Then there was the long drive home. I was pretty tired so I thought that I would take a nap before starting the journey. Usually by waiting a while, the traffic will clear. Not this time. I stopped at the McDonalds in Siloam Springs for coffee. But the line for the drive-thru wrapped all the way around the building and I decided to pass. I finally made it home at 3 a.m.
So there you have it, a very boring recital of an exciting day. Maybe you enjoyed the pictures?
“I’m excited. I’m ready to go.” That is how Arkansas football coach Bobby Petrino ended his news conference on Thursday afternoon. I am too Coach.
I have been trying to decide how to make this post for weeks. Much of what I want to discuss has to do with the intangibles surrounding Coach Bobby Petrino (CBP).
First the tangibles: CBP has developed a practice system that is (perhaps) the most efficient in the country. Everything in practice is scripted and everyone has a critical part to play. Something as simple as tossing a ball to a GA instead of handing it to him can get a player in trouble. Coach wants to get the maximum out of the time allotted and he does that. Because of the pace, practices are extremely hard. Once the games begin, the players can have fun. The players have worked so hard that the schemes have become second nature. They no longer have to think about where to line up and how to react, they just do it. With the speed of the game, particularly in the SEC, that is valuable time that is saved.
My friend Clay Henry, publisher of Hawgs Illustrated, has covered a lot of football in his career. He has been to practices at Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Tulsa, Arkansas and other places, covering such coaches as Barry Switzer, Jimmy Johnson, Pat Jones, John Cooper, Lou Holtz, Ken Hatfield, etc. He has stated that he has never seen anything quite like the way that CBP runs practice.
In these days of restricted roster size and restricted practice time, Bobby Petrino has found a way to get the most out of what he has. He is also very focused on practicing good technique. When you listen to his coaches show, you can hear him comment on a player “having his feet turned the right way.” All of that pays off come game day.
I am a big believer that playing relaxed and having fun in games is the way to win. CBP has a system that stresses just that.
Now the intangibles: There is something about Coach Petrino’s attitude this year. I noticed it in the SEC media days interviews. I have noticed it his interview since. It is nothing that he has said specifically. He likes this team, but more than that I think he really believes in this team. He seems to believe that they will win a lot more than the pundits have predicted.
According to Rece Davis on ESPN.com, “Arkansas has the toughest road schedule in the history of football. That might be a bit of hyperbole, but how would you like to stare at trips to Alabama, Florida, Ole Miss and LSU?” If you can survive an SEC schedule, you can be competitive with nearly anyone in college football.
As Arkansas gets ready to play in the first SEC game of the 2009 season, I’m excited. I think the Razorbacks will surprise this year with some unexpected wins. But I don’t think that Coach Bobby Petrino will be surprised at all.
First an apology, I started this post nearly two weeks ago and put it aside. But I thought that I should finish it before I write the next one.
Before you leave
You must prepare the vehicle.
Random Football Thoughts
Jarius Wright is a player. On the 58 yard pass to Wright in the first quarter, he could have eased out of bounds, but instead he lowered his shoulder and gained several more yards. Then, just a few plays later he reached up and made an outstanding one-handed catch that was almost a touchdown. That seems to be a characteristic of the entire team under this coaching staff.
No, it is not a complete dump. In some ways it is even nicer than Neyland Stadium (the home of the Tennessee Volunteers.) The difference of course is the capacity: Neyland holds 102,037, while WMS holds 53,727. It felt newer than Neyland did, but that may well be because of recent enhancements to WMS.
It has the capacity for being really loud. The first Hog Call was impressive. Since WMS is an enclosed bowl, when the entire crowd is involved, it is really loud.
Is the crowd better than at RRS? Not to my mind. There were too many waves or attempts to start the wave. And why on earth were there beach balls being tossed around? Maybe that is a function of the Razorbacks never being pushed by the Bears.
I don’t mind people who stand when the action calls for it. But the folks in front of us stood for most of the first quarter. They did finally sit.
I agree with Coach Bobby Petrino that it is the responsibility of the team to perform in such a way that the crowd gets into the game. Now to my mind that does not mean that the players should run around and motion to the crowd to get them involved, no, it means that they should play hard and the intensity will transfer.
My Host for the game
Carl Long (Hillcrest Hog for those on the HI message board) sold me a ticket for the game. But then he allowed me to park at his home (just a few blocks from WMS) and then gave me a brief tour. We made it to the old WebHogs tailgate site. Some of the crew were there and it was good to see them. I also managed to find Ken Neil (HOGinBA) and we had to talk a little baseball in addition to predicting great things about the future of the football program.
Thanks to Carl for his hospitality and his suggestions on getting out of town. Although he has never had to fight that traffic, his idea of a way to leave was a good one.
I haven’t posted since the College World Series, so I think it is time.
College football begins this week. More importantly, Arkansas Razorback football begins Saturday (September 05) at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock, Arkansas. Surprisingly enough, I have never been to the Rock for a football game. When a friend posted on the HawgsIllustrated message board that he had a ticket for sale, I decided it was about time to remedy that.
The sad news is that the Web Hogs Razorback Club will be disbanding and Saturday will be their last event. No, it will not be a tailgate, rather a sale of all remaining equipment. I understand that the football team walks by the old WHRC tailgate site on their way into the stadium. If you are interested in any tailgate equipment, check out the Web Hogs web site for details on the sale.
My friend Nick has created a series of posts about attending games in the SEC. If you like football, you will love his stories. Check out Malvie’s Musings.
So now it is time to wash the van and apply all the Hog magnets. I’ve given up on car flags, they get whipped to pieces before I get to a game. So I just keep adding more magnets, just in case no one can tell which team I support.
The Alabama bloggers site is sponsoring a contest to score points for schools. Kathy at Life in the Slow Lane has asked Arkansas bloggers to help out. To learn more about how to score points for your school, click here.
Go Hogs, beat the Bears!
What a good idea, go on-line, find a ticket that fits your needs (if you can) and get it at Will-Call. Now understand, I have made many purchases on-line. I am NOT inexperienced. But this thing defeated me.
I have a post office box. Customer Service told me to enter the box number BEFORE “PO Box.” Huh?
I am not the only one in the nation to have a post office box. Yet the credit card processing application could not handle it and there were no instructions about entering a PO box. Why do other applications on other web sites work?
The customer service office did not open until 8 a.m. But at 8 a.m. the tickets for today’s first game were no longer available because it was within five hours of the game.
The College World Series is great, but the ticket situation is really frustrating.
I’m staying in a Motel 6 for the College World Series, so the kitchen facilities are whatever I brought with me. Of course, this setup was developed for traveling to dog shows. The most important component is the plastic coffee maker that brews into an insulated mug. The second most important is the cooler. This week it holds orange juice, Dr. Pepper and water. For dog shows you would add some Bil-Jac frozen dog food.
I made it in for the Arizona State game! But there were no tickets left for tonight's Southern Mississippi - Texas game. And I kept my promise, I wore my ASU hat, stayed for the entire game and brought home a win for the Sun Devils (in ten innings!)
BTW, there are no divided loyalties here. I will cheer for ASU in their bracket, but once they face the Razorbacks again, all bets are off!