National Title Aspirations? Not So Fast, Hogs
The UA football team came into the season with the goal of reaching the National Championship game. After losing two straight games, the focus at this point needs to be on making a bowl game at all. I won’t say this a problem that one part of the team needs to fix; it is a team problem that will require each player on the roster working hard and doing his job to correct.
There seems to be mass confusion from the coaches, players and especially the fans for what has transpired these past three weeks. The Razorbacks have been injury ridden, shocked and cannot get the chips to fall in their favor.
I’m not here to say the season is lost, because if you look back in history, that is far from the truth. When Arkansas lost to USC in 2006 they reeled off 10 straight wins, eventually making the Southeastern Conference Championship game for the Western Division.
I believe this team truly has the talent to win 10 straight, but things must start clicking and must do so quickly. Rutgers will be a good start to getting back on track.
Quarterback Tyler Wilson spoke with the media after the game Saturday and said, “If you’re not on the ship, then get out.”
Wilson was fired up after the game, and he hoped that his words would light a fire under everyone associated with the program.
I’m not like some people who are overreacting to the point of making themselves look foolish. People want their team to win and compete well, but those kids playing are actual people — not robots as some people may view them.
The amount of hatred and vulgar comments directed towards the players is just asinine to me. I know the team is out there working hard every day and that they want to win. The players just need to focus on one game at a time instead of looking ahead, which is one of the problems that have occurred this year.
On the other hand, fans should demand excellence and be harsh at times. One example that always sticks out to me is the Chicago Cubs. Wrigley Field is sold out almost every game, and yet the Cubs have not won a World Series in over 100 years.
Not to say that Razorback fans should quit coming to home games, but they should demand better, more consistent play from their players and coaches. The Cubs accept mediocrity, and that’s what they have been for the past century. Hog fans need to yearn for quality play, and I believe Jeff Long has a plan in place that will right the ship and get us to the next level.
The season is not over, not lost, and the players will do everything in their power to play better the rest of the way. Leaders such as Wilson, Knile Davis, Alonzo Highsmith and others need to get everyone on the same page and going in the right direction.
The coaches and everyone will work harder to correct the wrongs, and they are far from satisfied with where things stand right now.
The season has been a disappointment thus far, but let it be noted that it doesn’t mean things can’t be corrected. The Hogs can still have a special season despite it not being what they set out at the beginning of the year to accomplish.
Zach Wheeler is a staff writer for The Arkansas Traveler. His column appears every Tuesday. Follow the sports section on Twitter @UATravSports.