Don’t Push the Panic Button Hog Fans

Saturday’s loss to Rutgers was tough for Razorback fans, and social media was a popular place for venting. If the Hogs had trailed 24-7 in the second half and came back and lost, I think it would have been easier to take. Leading by 17 at Rutgers and losing late was enough for some Hog fans to suggest the firing of the entire coaching staff and lamenting the fact there aren’t three more wins on the schedule to ensure a bowl berth.
Normally, by Monday morning cooler he

ads prevail, but if you are still fuming here’s a couple of reasons to stay positive.
• Progress — I know you don’t want to, but remember last year at this time? Remember how Rutgers came into Fayetteville and punked the Hogs? And that was after an embarrassing and catastrophic home loss to Louisiana-Monroe and a home blasting by Alabama. What a difference a season makes. This team is more disciplined, organized and sound. This coaching staff is one of the better in the country, and they are showing it with the development of several players at different positions. (IE the offense and defensive line). There is a  noticeable difference in the execution and attitude of this team.
• Brandon Allen’s Return — The Fayetteville High School grad can’t return quick enough for most. It’s obvious there is a major drop between him and backup A.J. Derby. If Allen isn’t back against Texas A&M he should return for the game at Florida. His ability to pass when needed and his leadership is a big plus.
• The unpredictable SEC — On paper, Arkansas appears to be headed to four straight losses with a home tilt against No. 10 Texas A&M this Saturday followed by  a game at No. 20 Florida then home against South Carolina and at No. 1 Alabama and then back at home against No. 12 South Carolina. That’s a brutal stretch. Texas A&M is potent, but I still think Johnny Manziel is due for at least one terrible game. If Arkansas can force a couple of mistakes, he is a meltdown waiting to happen on the road. Florida isn’t as imposing as they appeared in the preseason and are now without starting quarterback Jeff Driskel. Arkansas has had South Carolina’s number, and being at home is a positive.

Arkansas backup quarterback A.J. Derby made his first start at Rutgers last Saturday.

Photo by Michael Woods — Arkansas backup quarterback A.J. Derby made his first start at Rutgers last is a factor. The game that most would agree the Hogs have little chance in is Alabama at Tuscaloosa. That could be said for more than a few SEC teams, as the Tide are clearly the No. 1 team in the nation … again.

• Recruiting — Arkansas is ranked No. 27 currently by Rivals, but have a chance to move up with highly regarded Springdale Har-Ber defensive lineman Josh Frazier considering the Hogs as well as others. Bielema and his staff impressed me with the full-court press they applied when Arkansas hired him in December. Two months later they had Alex Collins signed. He’s been an impact player so far. Look for more of the same from the 2014 class.
Overall, Arkansas fans have reason to be more hopeful than discouraged, even if UA finishes 4-8. Hopefully, the start of a work week and these nuggets help you stay positive.