Wally Hall is the managing sports editor for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Arkansas-Little Rock after an honorable discharge from the U.S. Air Force, he is a past president and member of the Football Writers Association of America, member of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association, past president and current executive committee and board member of the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame, and voter for the Heisman Trophy.
LIKE IT IS:
Time no friend to ASU; Manziel noticed early
New Western Kentucky head coach Bobby Petrino, left, speaks with athletic director Todd Stewart during an NCAA college football news conference, Monday, Dec. 10, 2012, in Bowling Green, Ky. The 51-year-old was fired by Arkansas in April for a "pattern of misleading" behavior following an accident in which the coach was injured while riding a motorcycle with his mistress as a passenger but now wants to make the most of his second chance. (AP Photo/The Daily News, Joe Imel)
LITTLE ROCK At first, it was a bit of a surprise to learn that Bobby Petrino had agreed to be the new head football coach at Western Kentucky.
Obviously it isn’t as good a situation and the pay won’t be as good as Arkansas State, and there was, and should have been, some interest there.
Talks with A-State officials, who had some very real concerns about continuity, continued until late Saturday afternoon.
That was when everything changed.
From my seat, Petrino deserves another chance. He should have the opportunity to prove he has learned a hard, hard lesson.
More important, his wife, Becky, deserves a new start, too.
As hard as this has been on Petrino, it has been more difficult on his wife.
This way, for less money, both get a fresh start.
Arkansas State fans should know that their leaders were doing their due diligence. No offer had been made to Petrino, but there were serious talks.
Especially about a buyout.
There are still viable candidates for ASU, but time may not be on the side of the Red Wolves much longer.
Leaving College Station, Texas, back in September, the Heisman Trophy was already on the minds of Tom Murphy, Bob Holt and myself.
We are Heisman voters.
That night, there was discussion about Johnny Manziel and his chances of winning the Heisman over some bad wings at a dismal place near the Houston airport.
No one’s mind was made up, but Holt said something that resonated with me the rest of the season.
He said he wished he had voted for Oklahoma’s Adrian Peterson in 2004 but didn’t because he was a true freshman and thought there would be more opportunities.
As it turned out, Peterson was slowed by a high-ankle sprain his sophomore season and his junior season he missed seven games with a broken collarbone. He went to the NFL before his senior season.
Instead of Peterson winning the Heisman when he rushed for 1,925 yards, soft armed USC quarterback Matt Leinhart won the Heisman.
When it comes to voting, I have two hard, fast rules. One is vote before conference champion weekend because most of the best players’ regular season is finished. The other rule is to not reveal my ballot until after the announcement.
Like the majority of the Heisman voters, I voted Manziel No. 1. His play reminds me of Archie Manning, who was a great quarterback at Ole Miss.
Perhaps the toughest question next season for Heisman voters will be: OK, he’s got one Heisman, does he deserve two?
Of course, everyone has an opinion about the Heisman. That makes great radio, and Sunday morning on the way home from church I heard Bill Vickery say on The Buzz that he thought the Heisman was a sham this year.
His candidate, whom he proclaimed as America’s best football player this season, was Barrett Jones of Alabama.
The Crimson Tide’s publicity department did no promotion of Jones for the Heisman, but give the zany Vickery credit; Jones is a great player as an offensive lineman.
His redshirt freshman season he started 14 games for the Crimson Tide and was named a Freshman All-American by The Sporting News.
His junior year he moved to tackle to help the team, and all he did was win the Outland Trophy, the highest award given for offensive and defensive linemen.
This season he moved to center, was a unanimous preseason choice as All-American, and went on to win the Rimington Award, given to the nation’s best center.
He was never on anyone’s Heisman radar but Vickery’s, but when it comes to sports, everyone has an opinion that matters.
Sports, Pages 17 on 12/11/2012