Blog Archives

Bielema misses chance to take high road

For the first time in a while, someone said something more controversial than Bret Bielema. Unfortunately, the University of Arkansas coach didn’t take advantage of it. He made it worse. Instead of taking the high road and making Texas Tech Coach Kliff Kingsbury look like the hothead, Bielema fired back at his weekly presser Monday. And the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette took full advantage of a slow sports-news day to blow up the feud with a huge front-page spread and story. The whole thing started when Bielema spoke at the Texas High School Coaches Association in July. According to the story’s timeline, “Bielema apparently rankles some coaches in Texas by saying his style of play should be equipped to handle Spread offenses without a fullback who throw the ball a lot.”

Sounds pretty benign and no mention of Texas Tech. Since Bielema took the job, he’s had to repeatedly comment on his more physical ball-control style compared to the up-tempo Spread and finesse of many of the other SEC programs. However, Kingsbury obviously took exception, and after his team beat Arkansas 35-24 on Sept. 19, he wasted no time bashing Bielema in the postgame presser. According to the Democrat-Gazette, Kingsbury “referenced … Read more >

LR Touchdown Club unveils speaker lineup

The Little Rock Touchdown Club unveiled its 2015 speaker list Aug. 11 in the lobby of the Simmons Bank Tower in downtown Little Rock. In its 12th year, the club again presents a mixture of speakers with Razorbacks ties, and former legendary NFL and college coaches and players.

University of Arkansas football Coach Bret Bielema kicks the season off with a Aug. 24 appearance downtown at the Little Rock Marriott.

In conjunction with the Razorbacks’ games against the University of Tennessee and the University of Alabama, respectively, club creator David Bazzel is bringing in two former standout quarterbacks. Former Vol Heath Shuler will offer insight on his alma mater Sept. 28, and former Alabama signal caller Jay Barker, who hosts a radio show in Birmingham, Alabama, will preview the Alabama-UA matchup, among other topics, when speaking Oct. 5.

Bazzel says the complete lineup of Razorbacks induced into the SWC Hall of Fame will come Aug. 13, along with the unveiling of the awards banquet speaker, who Bazzel calls “one of football’s all-time greats.” Last year, former Cowboys receiver Michael Irvin spoke at the banquet, and the previous year was former UA and Notre Dame Coach Lou Holtz.

Aug. 24: Bret … Read more >

Hill signs with Ohio State as high school coach noticeably absent

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Photo by Gavin Lesnick North Little Rock’s K.J. Hill signed with Ohio State Wednesday.

North Little Rock standout receiver K.J. Hill signed with Ohio State University Wednesday without his high school coach, Brad Bolding, present. Rumors have swirled about Bolding’s job status for weeks, and his absence at the school’s signing day event was telling.
While North Little Rock School officials are mum on Bolding’s stratus, Hill and his stepfather Montez Peterson made it clear any alleged wrongdoing by Bolding didn’t include the recruitment of Hill contrary to rumors that have circulated on social media.
“They swear [Bolding] gave me money, but I didn’t get any money,” Hill told a throng of reporters shortly after he inked with the defending national champion Buckeyes. “That’s what they say. “People say he gave me money … I don’t know what the real situation is,” Hill says. “It’s all good, though.
“I’m not worried. People swore I couldn’t sign, but it is all good.”
North Little Rock’s silence and Hill’s decommitment from Arkansas last month has only fueled speculation that Hill’s recruitment is tied to Bolding’s troubles.
“Everything that we have done as parents and K.J. has done have been on the up … Read more >

Reflections on the great Razorback road trip

So, Justin Acri, Pat Brradley and I survived our Razorback road trip to Iowa and are now firmly implanted in our every day routines. After arriving home in the wee hours of Sunday morning, I’ve had some time to reflect on one of the more epic trips I’ve taken.

Iowans love vanity license plates
I hadn’t pondered much on this in the 24 years I lived in the state. After eyeing our 1,000th different vanity tag, Pat made the observation, and Justin I agreed that a lot of Iowans have personalized plates. Of course, Pat’s favorite was Justin’s father Frank’s plates that read ‘F ACRI.’ If you don’t know why that’s funny, drop me a line.

Thick-or thin-crust pizza, I’m in
On Wednesday night, Justin, Pat and I and Justin’s college-aged brother and roommate struggled to take down two large pizzas at Great Plains Sauce and Dough Co. in Ames. Nestled in downtown Ames, it is a tradition. The pizza comes on thick crust and is piled high with cheese and toppings. The cheese and toppings kept me from eating more than three, and I should have stopped at two.
Contrast that with Fong’s Pizza in Des Moines that features … Read more >

Stoerner to Lucas: The Best game I’ve ever seen even 15 years later

In the victorious Arkansas locker room, Frank Broyles called it “one of the greatest victories in school history.” It was, and still is, the best game I’ve seen in person. I’m betting most Hog fans won’t forget it either.
You know the one. Stoerner to Lucas. Arkansas 28, No. 3 Tennessee 24. Fifteen years ago today.
I was in my second year as as a sportswriter at the Benton County Daily Record, and I covered all the Hogs home games. I was eager to cover this one, after a week of hype.
The season before, in Houston Nutt’s first season as Arkansas’ head coach, the Hogs cruised through the schedule and entered a late-season game with Tennessee with an  8-0 mark. Arkansas led that game 24-21 late with the ball. A couple of first downs, and Arkansas would be 9-0 with national title hopes intact.
However, as many remember and wish they could forget, UA quarterback Clint Stoerner tripped over the late Brandon Burlsworth’s foot and when he landed, the ball it popped out of his grasp.
Tennessee recovered and a few plays later scored and won the game 28-24. The Vols eventually won the national championship.
I watched the … Read more >