Arkansas Razorbacks

Open Letter to Kyle Porter: Choose the Arkansas Razorbacks

Kyle Porter

(Photo Credit: Scout)

Dear Kyle Porter:

As you’ve narrowed down your schools to the University of Arkansas, University of Texas and Texas Christian University, I would like to explain why playing for the Razorbacks offers you the best advantages. If you’re really interested in a career in the NFL, then you certainly don’t want to play for the Longhorns. To be frank, the Longhorns are awful. The team has a horrible passing game, a pitiful defense, and unacceptable special teams. Even if the coaching staff has informed you that you’re going to be the featured running back and the answer to the team’s woes, how realistic is this? How can you be the answer when defenses will simply load the box against you, considering there’s no passing game in Texas? With Texas out of the way, let’s get down to real business: the choice between the Hogs or the Horned Frogs.

Yes, since Gary Patterson has taken over as head coach at TCU, the school has been successful. Gary Patterson is an excellent coach. Each year, TCU presents an explosive offensive. What kind of “explosiveness” is the question, though? TCU’s explosiveness is a product of their passing game. Yes, the team does run a little but the running game isn’t central to what the Horned Frogs do on offense. Just for the sake of argument, let’s say TCU becomes much more of a running team this year, and they agree to feature you as the star running back, NFL coaches and administrators will evaluate whatever you would accomplish as a running back at TCU as primarily resulting from playing in the Big 12 where defenses are horrible. You can, therefore, amass great statistics in the Big 12 but they will not be highly respected.

Now, let’s talk even more serious business since we’ve gotten Texas and TCU out of the way.

The University of Arkansas is Running Back U! Darren McFadden, Felix Jones, Peyton Hillis, Jonathan Williams, and Alex Collins: names of just some of the great running backs that have been a part of the Hogs. Those running backs have always benefitted from great offensive lines. Last season, as you know, the Razorbacks had the largest offensive in football, NFL included, and it was arguably the best offensive line in the nation. Mr. Porter, as you know, Bret Bielema is known for producing superior running backs, as they run behind massive, athletic and talented offensive lines. With Kurt Anderson, former offensive line coach for the Buffalo Bills, as the new offensive line coach for the Hogs, the team is poised to achieve even greater things in the running game. Under Anderson, the Buffalo Bills had the top offensive line in the NFL. The Hogs’ offensive coordinator, Dan Enos, offers a balanced attack on offense, which led to the Razorbacks having the best offense in the SEC last season. The Hogs are just as explosive on offense as the Horned Frogs but they do it with a truly balanced attack, which means you have less risk of injury.

Kyle, there’s a reason four-star running back Devwah Whaley, one of the top running backs in the nation in this year’s recruiting class decommitted from Georgia to come play for the Hogs: Arkansas constantly has one of the leading running games in the country and one of the top running games in the SEC.

NFL coaches and administrators understand that the SEC is a semi-professional league. When drafting players, they look first to the SEC and not the Big 12. The reality is the top players at every position come to play for an SEC school, with few exceptions here and there. At Arkansas, you have an opportunity to join a backfield where you will be a star running back and will be loved and treated as a star by the school, athletic department and the passionate Razorback fans.

As an experienced defensive coordinator and assistant offensive coordinator, I urge you to commit as soon as possible to the Hogs. Fayetteville, Arkansas is a wonderful place to live, study and play. I’ve worked in the athletic department at the University of Arkansas and can ensure you that you will receive strong academic support in the athletic department, and no other school is going to supply you with the level and quality of academic support you will receive in the Hogs’ athletic department. The University of Arkansas has athletic facilities that are second to none.

Why delay your decision any longer? Who doesn’t want to play in the SEC? Playing in the SEC best positions you for the NFL Draft. The Razorback football program would love to have you and the wild and crazy Hog fans are eager to welcome you to the Razorback family, a family that lasts long after you leave the institution.

Come play where the big men play: the SEC West. Arkansas awaits your commitment to the team and arrival on campus!

Sincerely,

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Arkansas

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Beware of the Arkansas Razorbacks in 2015

Jonathan Williams Arkansas Razorbacks

(Photo Credit: Whole Hogs Sports)

Don’t be surprised if the Arkansas Razorbacks win the SEC Championship in 2015.  As Bret Bielema enters his third season as the Head Hog, he has restored toughness, discipline and power to the team.  We had an opportunity to witness the type of team to expect this season in the final four games of last season and against Alabama.  The Hogs won three of their last four games last season, including back-to-back shutouts of ranked SEC opponents LSU and Ole Miss, and the team concluded the season by crushing Texas in the Texas Bowl—not allowing the Longhorns to earn even 60 total yards.  Let’s not forget Arkansas nearly defeated mighty Alabama, losing by only one point.  In every loss last season, the Razorbacks were close to winning and probably should have won each one of those close games.  In the Auburn game, the Hogs were tied with the Tigers at halftime.  However, former Arkansas offensive coordinator Jim Chaney abandoned the running game—the strength of the Arkansas offense—and the Tigers were able to capitalize on his misguided offensive strategy (or lack thereof).

The Year of the Hogs?

The Hogs are ready to win the SEC Championship this year.  Although the Hogs surrendered a few valuable defensive players to the NFL, the team returns the core of its offense, defense and special teams.  Last season, Arkansas had one of the best defenses and offenses in the nation.  Based on Arkansas having fundamentally the same squad it had last year, including some talented new players, we can expect the team to continue to improve and surprise many teams in the SEC and stun many college football fans across the nation.  The recently released pre-season coaches’ poll has Arkansas ranked as the #20 team in the nation.  However, Las Vegas gamblers—people willing to put their money where their mouths are—have Arkansas ranked as the #6 team in the nation.

When Arkansas Goes on Offense

Again, Arkansas has the largest offensive line in football: both college and NFL.  The offensive line is not only massive but also highly talented and athletic.  Arkansas has two of the best running backs, Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams, in the nation—arguably the best running back duo in the country.  This season the Hogs will feature a third solid running back, Kody Walker, giving the Razorbacks a three-headed monster rushing attack.  Bielema is committed to a power running game—just as he was at Wisconsin—and it’s paying tremendous dividends for him at Arkansas and will continue to pay even greater dividends for him this season and beyond.  With new offensive coordinator Dan Enos at the helm, Brandon Allen, Arkansas’ senior quarterback, seems to have made significant improvements during the off-season, and Enos has been a proven-leader in ameliorating passing games and producing quality passing games.  The success the Hogs will have on offensive will aid them immensely on defense as they’re bound to dominate the time of possession in most games this season.

A Tough but Doable Schedule

Again, the Razorbacks will have one of the toughest schedules to combat, but a few huge wins can propel them to the SEC Championship game and give them a chance to play in this season’s National Championship.  It will be difficult to defeat Alabama on the road, but remember the Hogs only loss by one point to the Crimson Tide last year.  Also, it will be difficult to go on the road and defeat Ole Miss and LSU, but remember the Hogs shutout both teams in back-to-back weeks last season.

Teams situated in the SEC West have to win big games almost every week and Arkansas understands this by now.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Arkansas

Open Letter to K.J. Hill: Recommit to Arkansas and Become a National Star

K.J. Hill Arkansas Football Recruit

(Photo Credit: Whole Hog Sports)

Hello, Mr. Hill:

The purpose of this open letter is to urge you (and cause others to urge you) to recommit to playing football for the University of Arkansas. You’re being heavily recruited by the University of Alabama and Ohio State University, but those teams are loaded at the wide receiver position. You, therefore, seriously run the risk of simply sitting on the bench your entire college tenure, squandering an opportunity to live up to your full potential on the football field and make it to the NFL. At the University of Arkansas, you will have the opportunity to emerge as a star, possibly your first season. Although all who follow college football know that Arkansas has a superior power running game—with the biggest offensive line in football (college and NFL)—the team is only an improved passing game away from winning national championships. Arkansas returns a tough defense, a defense that ranked #10 in total defense, holding Alabama to only 14 points and holding LSU and Ole Miss scoreless last season. You, Mr. Hill, will be the featured wide receiver at Arkansas. At Alabama and Ohio State, you will sit on the bench—no matter what the coaches at both schools are telling you right now.

If you’re unaware, one of the significant jobs in college football recruiting, especially among elite football programs, is to not only recruit the best and most appropriate players for one’s team but also to recruit players away from teams to prevent them from progressing. Unfortunately, this brutal recruiting game results in those players never being intended to be used. Nick Saban recognizes the great difficulties he faced against Arkansas last season, which resulted in many Alabama fans calling the team “mediocre” and questioning whether Saban is in decline. Saban understands that Arkansas’ physical play on both sides of the ball is a substantial threat to his team in the SEC West. You’re nothing more than a pawn in his recruiting game.

Urban Meyer and Bret Bielema simply don’t like one another. Meyer isn’t genuinely interested in you—he simply wants to recruit you to anger Bielema. Again, you’re nothing more than a pawn in Meyer’s recruiting war, and he knows his team could face Arkansas in the playoffs, which it’s really possible for both teams to make it there.

If you recommit to Arkansas, you will be just as important to the team as its power running game is to its success. Arkansas has a great tight end, Hunter Henry, who occupies the attention of every defense the team faces. While those defenses are focusing on Hunter Henry, they will open up even more touchdown opportunities and big plays for you. With the recruitment of big-time recruit, Will Gragg, a tight end, defenses will have to concentrate on him as well, allowing increased opportunities for you to gain separation from defenses that will attempt to defend you man-to-man.

Mr. Hill, I have worked for the University of Arkansas’ athletic department and I can honestly attest to the fact that the athletic department has some of the finest facilities in the nation, and you will receive some of the finest academic support inside of the athletic department in the nation. Don’t forget how important it is to have great academic support to maintain your eligibility to play. Too often recruits don’t ask those athletic departments what they’re going to offer them to ensure their academic success. In the academic support center in the athletic department at Arkansas, you will receive tutoring, training, support, and help with your academic work that will ensure your success. If you commit to Arkansas, I make a personal commitment to help you with every assignment you need assistance with completing.

In closing, Mr. Hill, I strongly urge you not to become distracted by offers by Alabama and Ohio State. Those offers are to have you to sit on the bench. Contact Bret Bielema today and make an unwavering recommitment to Arkansas.

I look forward to hearing of your recommitment to Arkansas in the coming days.

Best wishes,

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Arkansas

Arkansas’ Physicality Will Be the Difference against Missouri

Darius Philon

Darius Philon (Photo Credit: SW Times)

In the inaugural 2014 Battle Line Rivalry, Arkansas’ physicality will prove to be too much for Missouri.  Missouri demonstrated that it cannot handle a highly physical team when Georgia demolished the Tigers 34-0 in Columbia, Missouri. Arkansas employs an even more physical style—on both sides of the ball—than Georgia does. On offense, Missouri will be punished by the biggest offensive line in football, including the NFL. Arkansas’ stable of running backs, led by Jonathan Williams and Alex Collins, are powerful running backs and difficult to bring down.  The Arkansas Razorbacks have the most underrated defense in the nation. This defense has played well all year. The Razorbacks’ defense gave up only 17 points to Mississippi State, 14 points to Alabama, and shutout LSU and Ole Miss. Arkansas is the hottest team in the country and is far better than its record suggests. The team has played the toughest schedule in the nation, according to the NCAA. If a play or two would have went differently for the team in each game it lost, the Hogs would be undefeated. You shouldn’t, therefore, doubt that the Hogs have a great chance to go on the road and defeat the Missouri Tigers.

Every coach who has played against Arkansas this season has stated that the team is either “great” or “very good”—Nick Saban said Arkansas is a “great team” and he congratulated Bielema on building a great team the right way. Today, the Razorbacks will need to get consistent pressure with its front four to stop Missouri’s potent passing game. The Hogs’ defense has played well against teams this season that have employed the type of offensive strategy the Tigers use. Missouri will not be able to handle Arkansas’ beast on defense, Trey Flowers. Flowers is one of the top three defensive ends in the nation. Also, look for Darius Philon to have a great game for Arkansas on defense.

Offensively, the Hogs should be able to do enough to defeat the Tigers.

Although the Tigers are playing to be SEC Eastern Division champions, the Hogs are hungry and ready to feed on the Tigers. The Razorbacks want to prove what they did against LSU and Ole Miss is going to continue on into next season, and a win will ameliorate the type of bowl game the team will get. Georgia fans, coaches, and players will need to send the Hogs a letter of gratitude after this one is over. The Hogs win in Columbia, Missouri 31-23.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Arkansas

Don’t Count Arkansas out against LSU

Arkansas vs. LSU 2014

(Photo Credit: Bleacher Report)

Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville, Arkansas is a mighty tough place to play—even more so at night. Although the Hogs have yet to win an SEC game this season, they have been a tough out against every team they’ve faced, nearly defeating Texas A&M, Alabama, and Mississippi State. Arkansas Head Coach Bret Bielema has his team ahead of schedule and the team is so close to being something special. An SEC win can be the catalyst to propel the Hogs into being a truly elite football team. The Razorbacks are actually slightly favored in this game, and what an excellent way to end its losing streak against SEC opponents by defeating LSU, the Hogs’ greatest rival. This rivalry game is known as the Battle for the Golden Boot. When Arkansas and LSU play one another, throw out all of the records and statistics—only this game matters for the two teams. They simply don’t like one another.

Arkansas plays LSU at the right time: after LSU’s deflating overtime loss to Alabama. The Razorbacks have more hanging in the balance than LSU does: the team is trying to become bowl eligible. The Hogs must win two of the last three games to become bowl eligible. As long as the team performs well in the fourth quarter of each of the remaining games and demonstrates that it has learned how to close out games, the Hogs can legitimately win the final three games (all SEC games) on its schedule.

Both teams have similar styles. On offense, they both like to run the football—and run it often. Arkansas has the edge on offense. On defense, they’re both aggressive, although LSU has the edge on defense.

This game will ultimately come down to which team can perform the best in the passing game. Both teams can certainly benefit from improvement in the passing game. The LSU passing game will struggle against the Hogs because Arkansas defensive end Trey Flowers will give LSU’s offensive line nightmares. When this game is over, the person who will have impacted the game the most will be Trey Flowers. He is a beast and will be playing in the NFL next season.

Arkansas will win 24-20.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Arkansas

Why Arkansas Lost to Auburn in the Second Half in Week One

Arkansas Razorback Football 2014

(Photo Credit: Bleacher Report)

Although several of the Arkansas coaches, including offensive coordinator Jim Chaney, got stuck in the elevator during the entire halftime period and didn’t have a chance to meet with the players, it was the failure of Jim Chaney to stay committed to the running game that resulted in Arkansas losing in the second half of the game.  Chaney had to send text messages with his instructions for players to the coaches who were present with them during halftime.  As a coach, I understand how important it is to be physically present with your team during halftime, considering you have a chance to make key adjustments.  Chaney foolishly decided to abandon the power running game, featuring Arkansas’ huge offensive line, and a power running game that Auburn couldn’t handle in the first half, for a greater focus on passing.  While Arkansas quarterback Brandon Allen had a good game, the strength of the team lies in its great stable of running backs, led by Jonathan Williams, Alex Collins and Korliss Marshall.

Arkansas has one of the biggest and most athletic offensive lines in the nation.  For Jim Chaney to fail to remain committed to the running game in the second half defies all logic.  Yes, Arkansas did run the ball in the second half, but passing the ball so much in the second half resulted in Arkansas not being able to wear down the Auburn defense as it did in the first half.  When Jim Chaney decides to neglect the power running game, which made Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema one of the winningest active coaches and such a success at Wisconsin, Bielema must step in and refocus Chaney on the running game.

Without question, Arkansas is a much improved team than last year, and the team is going to surprise some teams this year.  Arkansas’ coaches, however, must stay true to who the team is, a power running football team; a team designed to play physical on both sides of the ball.  The NCAA has determined that Arkansas has the toughest schedule in the country.  It will, therefore, be essential for the Arkansas coaching staff to make wise decisions throughout this season.  Arkansas has some really great coaches, including Bret Bielema and Randy Shannon, and those coaches will need to evince their great coaching prowess this season to maximize the team’s success and make it to a bowl game.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Bobby Portis: The Nation’s Most Underrated Freshman Basketball Player

Bobby Portis

(Photo Credit: SW Times)

ESPN listed Bobby Portis, Arkansas freshman sensation, as the 16th ranked recruit in the nation.  He leads Arkansas in scoring and rebounds with 13.1 points per game and 6.6 rebounds per game.  The 6’10 242 pound freshman has been named SEC Player of the Week 3 times.  Mike Anderson, Head Coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks, consistently plays 12 men every game.  Arkansas has a deep and balanced team.  Under Anderson, Arkansas has an aggressive defensive style of play.  The goal is to wear the opposing team down over the course of the game.  With this defense-first style of play, Portis has still been able to average 13.1 points a game and 6.6 rebounds.  Because the Razorbacks have so much talent and balance, they do not have a traditional “go-to” player.  Imagine the numbers Portis could achieve if Arkansas used him as its “go-to” player.

Arkansas has a 18-9 overall record and is 7-7 in SEC play and the team is winners of 5 of their last 6 games.  On Thursday, February 27, 2014 on ESPN, the Arkansas Razorbacks will face the #17 ranked Kentucky Wildcats in Rupp Arena.  In the first meeting this year against the Wildcats at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville, Arkansas, the Razorbacks defeated them in a thrilling game.  Another win against the Wildcats and a highly favorable remaining regular season schedule should land the Razorbacks in the NCAA Division I Tournament.  Without Bobby Portis, however, the team would not have achieved its current record and boasted high quality wins against Kentucky, Minnesota and Clemson.

With what Bobby Portis has been able to accomplish this year as a freshman, why has he not received as much national attention as other freshmen have?  Is Bobby Portis the nation’s most underrated freshman basketball player?

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison