Arkansas Team News

Razorbacks’ candidate list should have only one name on it (not Gus Malzahn)

unhappy Arkansas fans

I was born in Louisiana and lived in Arkansas for eight years before moving to Florida when I was in high school. Before becoming hooked on Gator football, I was a die-hard Razorback fan.

I remember making the drive from North Little Rock to Fayetteville with my dad and I loved the occasional game in Little Rock. I still pay attention to Razorback football although I have been gone from there for 25 years now – once a Razorback, always a Razorback.

In Arkansas, there is no professional football team so the Razorbacks mean everything. Living in Jacksonville, FL now and hosting a radio show on the Jaguars’ flagship station makes me a different kind of fan and observer than I was then. I can only assume that the Razorbacks are still as important to the state as they have always been and no topic generates fan passion like a coaching change. That’s true for Arkansas, Florida and everywhere in between.

My advice to my former home state is this: go after the low-hanging fruit.

Arkansas was really on to something with Bobby Petrino and the program on the field has yet to recover from his departure. Petrino was about the best hire in Razorback history not named Nolan Richardson.

I think Arkansas has the chance to recapture that success with its next football coach.

Many Arkansas fans will figure that the man to do that is Gus Malzahn – HECK NO!

The Razorbacks’ power-brokers should take their considerable resources to Memphis ASAP and not even consider anyone else until you hear “no” coming out of Mike Norvell’s mouth at least three times.

I don’t think he’d say “no.”

I’ve been a passenger on the Mike Norvell train since before this season started. I was telling anyone who would listen that Florida should do whatever it took to hire him 10 weeks ago.
All I knew at the time was what I was seeing him do on the field. I was completely unaware that he coached at Central Arkansas or that his wife is from Arkansas. One thing I know is that Arkansas is a great place to live and the University of Arkansas is a dream job for anyone who has spent time there.

Mike Norvell is a star.

Well, he’s not yet because he doesn’t have the platform, but he would be in short order at Arkansas.

Getting caught up trying to bring Malzahn back to Fayetteville would be a fool’s errand, a 99% most-likely fruitless pursuit that could cost Arkansas the best candidate for the job who’s right next door.

I don’t want Arkansas to cheap-out on its pursuit of Norvell either because others will be pursuing him – Tennessee, Florida, Ole Miss all come immediately to mind. He’s the “hot” guy this coaching cycle. He’ll have offers. Razorback supporters being willing to spend over $10 million dollars to buy athletic director Jeff Long and Bret Bielema out of their contracts indicates to me money is not an obstacle at this juncture.

Offer Norvell whatever he wants, lock him up, then then sit back and enjoy your success.

Arkansas is one of the best jobs in the country when things are going well – don’t let anyone tell you different.

The fan base can, and should, be used as a selling point to a coach who was once right in the thick of that fan base. Norvell knows what it takes to recruit that part of the country as well as what he needs to do to bring in talent from other parts of the country.

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