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:
Gruden isn’t only option with credentials
Jon Gruden continues to be associated with the Arkansas job.
LITTLE ROCK Rumors of Jon Gruden coming to Arkansas flamed into a bonfire Monday when a Twitter post said the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach had an offer from the university to become the Razorbacks’ head football coach, allegedly for $6 million a year.
Allegedly, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was going to help his alma mater pay the salary. That is a big “allegedly.”
There was no denial, nor confirmation, from Arkansas Athletic Director Jeff Long or anyone else connected to the Razorbacks program.
That led some to believe that the rumor must be true.
It led more realistic people to wonder whether it will be a disappointing news conference if Arkansas hires anyone other than Gruden.
That suddenly coaches like Mike Gundy, Art Briles and even Sonny Dykes would be considered Plan B.
The truth is, all of those guys — and many more — have had success in college football as head coaches.
Gruden, who likes attention and adoration, has become a name that is bigger than life because he is so good, so colorful and comes across so knowledgeable on ESPN.
Just because Gruden wore a red tie on Monday night’s game doesn’t mean anything. It was probably picked out by his wife, a Tennessee graduate.
If a month from now Gruden is introduced as the head coach of the Razorbacks, it will be a bit of an experiment because he has not recruited, and head coaches, especially in the SEC, have to be able to close a recruit.
If it is not Gruden, it should not be a disappointment as long as the guy has won on the college level.
Miles a player's coach
By now, most people have seen or heard a replay of LSU Coach Les Miles’ odd postgame news conference after the Tigers escaped Ole Miss.
Miles is known for his disconnected speeches. There is even a website, thequotablelesmiles.com.
However, as strange and disjointed as his message was — it ranged from his playing days at Michigan, to kissing the players on the mouth if you are a girl, to this is not a flop of a season for LSU, to profanity — he was passionate.
If you were one of his players and you heard what he said, you would have gotten his message loud and clear. He loves his players, and no one should ever criticize them.
That’s why they play hard for the man. He may seem a bit goofy at times, but he never throws his players under the bus. He always defends them.
Some research did not indicate if his teams play better after one of his bizarre news conferences, but it will be worth watching how the Tigers play Friday against the Razorbacks.
Malzahn speaks at LRTDC
There was nothing odd about the talk Arkansas State University Coach Gus Malzahn gave Monday at the Little Rock Touchdown Club.
He did exactly what a guy should do who is happy where he is.
Malzahn talked up the future of not only the Red Wolves football program, but the school. He praised all his bosses for their vision, and he talked about recruiting Arkansas and making ASU known on a broader scale.
Yes, he said, the Razorbacks have been approached — and will be again — about playing the Red Wolves, probably at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock, and if he didn’t believe that, he wouldn’t be such a great fit at ASU.
Malzahn’s name has been linked to a few openings in the SEC, but this is the same guy who turned down Vanderbilt.
Malzahn did a very nice job and took zero shots at anyone.
Sports, Pages 19 on 11/21/2012