Wilson’s heroic, bruised; Allen needs minutes

By: Wally Hall
Published: Sunday, November 11, 2012
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/STEPHEN B. THORNTON -- Arkansas QB Tyler Wilson eludes South Carolina defenders in the the third quarter during their game Saturday afternoon in South Carolina.
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/STEPHEN B. THORNTON -- Arkansas QB Tyler Wilson eludes South Carolina defenders in the the third quarter during their game Saturday afternoon in South Carolina.

— Before the game, during the game and after the game, the big question was who will be the next head coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks?

Jeff Long was in the press box but continued to reveal nothing.

He did tease a little, asking if yours truly was the source for Friday’s hot rumor that TCU’s Gary Patterson was the front-runner and that Patterson had gone from definitely not to yes in a matter of weeks.

More than likely, that rumor originated out of Fort Worth, so expect a claim from Patterson that he is not interested in leaving TCU.

Meanwhile, the Razorbacks got beat, again.

A defense that started four freshmen, two sophomores, three juniors and two seniors made Connor Shaw almost look like a Heisman Trophy candidate. Not quite, but almost.

Cobi Hamilton set another receiving record, this time for yards in a season, and Tyler Wilson played well but took yet another beating.

It is no wonder he is throwing off his back foot, getting rid of the ball quickly and running for his life.

He’s taken more hits than Muhammad Ali in a career that had too many comebacks.

The senior quarterback has spent almost as much time on the dirt as grass. He was sacked four times and racked twice that many Saturday.

His courage, Razorbacks spirit and leadership are to be commended, but he’s probably more banged up than anyone but him knows.

It cannot be left up to him whether or not he plays late in a game that the Hogs trailed 38-13.

His future and that of the Razorbacks program rests with these interim coaches who need to tell him no, get some rest, let Brandon Allen get some real SEC road experience.

A perfect spot presented itself with 3:01 to play and Hogs starting at their 42, but Wilson hobbled back onto the field.

Of course, the lack of leadership has been obvious for 10 games. No reason to really expect that to change now.

John L. Smith is a great guy, but from his first news conference until the last play Saturday — and yes, he’s had a heavy personal load to carry this season with a $40 million bankruptcy and his brother dying — his mind has not seemed like it was ready for the rigors of the SEC or even the Sun Belt.

With 5:14 to play, Wilson threw his second interception. He was trying to make something happen. Get some points on the board. Be positive. But all it did was positively send most of the last of a crowd of 78,882 toward the exits.

South Carolina was probably the third-best team the Razorbacks have faced this year, behind Alabama and Texas A&M, in that order, and the Gamecocks quickly seized control of the game. For all practical purposes, it was over at the half.

It was so bad for the Hogs that South Carolina got three consecutive personal fouls and managed to be a touchdown ahead. The Razorbacks got a 40-yard pass completion wiped out for an illegal formation — in the 10th game of the season.

Arkansas would have to win their last two games — at Mississippi State and at home against LSU — to become bowl eligible, and that’s not likely. In fact, the Razorbacks could cost the SEC a spot in the Liberty Bowl, which, interestingly, might go to Arkansas State.

Right now, though, the focus of the Razorbacks Nation is on who is going to be hired to resurrect a program that went to the BCS Sugar Bowl two years ago and manhandled Kansas State, now No. 2 in the nation.

Long has had seven months to find his man. Word is he has told members of the board of trustees that he has secured his No. 1 guy.

Apparently, he and his No. 1 guy are the only ones who know it.

There have been no leaks, just a plethora of rumors. All unfounded, but proof that the fan base is concerned, cares and is still not apathetic.

Sports, Pages 23 on 11/11/2012