Razorbacks’ Poor Season Not as Bad as It Seems
The season that wouldn’t end is finally over. Razorback fans will forever remember this season as one that began full of hope and ended in bitter disappointment.
Arkansas finished the season with a 4-8 record and are bowl ineligible for the first time since the 2008 season.
At the end of a season like this, it is hard to think that there might be something to celebrate, but oddly there is.
At the start of the season, quarterback Tyler Wilson held nine UA records. In his senior season, he added 19 to finish his career as a Razorback with 28 school records.
In the game against LSU, Wilson passed for 359 yards to finish his career with 7,765 yards and the record for career passing yards.
Wilson also holds the records for career completions with 562 and career completion percentage, as he connected with his receivers 62.7 percent of the time.
Wide receiver Cobi Hamilton broke the school record for career receptions against LSU. With his 10 catches against the Tigers, Hamilton brought his career total to 175.
Hamilton finished his career with 2,854 receiving yards, third behind Jarius Wright and Anthony Lucas.
Running back Dennis Johnson finished his career with 5,330 all-purpose yards, placing him behind only Darren McFadden for the UA record.
Johnson also finished his season with 2,784 career kickoff return yards, more than any other Southeastern Conference player.
These three seniors have been big contributors to the Arkansas football team the last two seasons. Losing these three players, along with the other seniors that were honored Friday before the game against LSU makes the future for Razorback fans look bleak.
However, there are many young players that got valuable playing time. I’m sure Razorback fans will remember that just a few very short years ago, guys like Joe Adams and Greg Childs were playing as freshmen.
After a rough couple of years, those players led Arkansas to two of the best seasons in school history, including the Razorback’s first appearance in a BCS bowl and the first 11-win season since 1977.
Razorback fans have seen flashes of brilliance out of two young offensive players this season.
Receiver Mekale McKay averaged 15.1 yards per catch and finished his freshman season with 317 yards and two touchdowns.
Running back Jonathan Williams saw the field in 11 games and averaged 5.1 yards per attempt, only .4 yards less than Johnson.
The defense has been a concern for Razorback fans for several seasons, but two freshmen linebackers, A.J. Turner and Otha Peters, have shown they may be the real deal.
Arkansas fans watched in dismay this season as a few outstanding seniors tried to overcome the problems caused by numerous injuries and mental mistakes by young players.
This season was by no means fun. Saturdays did not come with the same excitement as they did in previous years. However, some good may have come from all the bad.
With any luck, the talented freshmen were able to learn a thing or two from the experienced seniors and maybe, with the right coach, the next few seasons won’t be as bad as many of the Razorback faithful fear.
Haley Markle is the assistant sports editor for The Arkansas Traveler. Her column appears every Monday. Follow the sports section on Twitter @UATravSports.