New coach needs to be able to tackle Texas

By: Wally Hall
Published: Friday, November 30, 2012
Jonathan Williams (32), an Allen, Texas native, was one of Arkansas' most heralded recruits in the 2012 class.
Photo by Jason Ivester
Jonathan Williams (32), an Allen, Texas native, was one of Arkansas' most heralded recruits in the 2012 class.

— Only the most-optimistic thought Jeff Long would have a new head football coach for the Arkansas Razorbacks this week.

He has said all along that nothing would happen until the end of the regular season, and that is Saturday.

Then he will be able to complete his interviews, go to the Razorback Foundation board and ask for the funding, and then make an offer.

That doesn’t mean he hasn’t already talked to coaches, agents and other third parties. He has. It’s been an ongoing search for weeks.

And it doesn’t mean all of them are interested in taking over a program that finished 4-8 and is losing its starting quarterback, record-setting wide receiver and leading rusher.

Yes, the University of Arkansas has great facilities, a great fan base and enough money to hire the right guy, but the first question a coach asks is where is he going to recruit.

The obvious answer is Arkansas, but north Texas and north Louisiana are musts if the Razorbacks are going to be competitive.

Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and even Missouri have signed top players out of north Texas for years.

Long knows this, and only he knows if Art Briles of Baylor, Tommy Tuberville of Texas Tech, Mike Gundy of Oklahoma State and Sonny Dykes of Louisiana Tech are interested in the UA job.

Don’t discount Dykes. He might not be the guy, but he made Tech into a top 25 team in four years.

I’m not saying those guys are the finalists or should be, but all of them have good contacts in Texas, especially Briles and Dykes, who are native Texans. Briles is a legend among high school coaches. He spent 18 years as a successful high school coach before moving into the college ranks.

Again, I’m not saying those guys are candidates. All I’m saying is there are viable prospects who have one more game this season.

I expect the announcement Tuesday, because something big always happens on the day of the Broyles Award.

Heisman Trophy

As is the custom with yours truly, my Heisman Trophy ballot was submitted before this final weekend of play.

It seems unfair to me that players who are in conference championship games or play for schools with late games can have an advantage among late voters by posting one great game that puts them all over ESPN.

I vote on the body of work.

The guy I voted for was the single best football player seen this season. He reminded me a lot of Archie Manning when Manning was at Ole Miss.

Tip Off Club

The Downtown Tip Off Club is accepting memberships and has announced its first three speakers for the season.

Opening will be Arkansas native and former Razorbacks basketball assistant coach James Dickey, who is the head coach at the University of Houston.

He will speak Dec. 10.

Mike Anderson will be the speaker Dec. 21, and Tom Collen will speak Jan. 7.

The luncheons are at the Wyndham Riverfront. Doors open at 11:15 a.m., and the program begins at noon. Dues are $40; lunch is $15 for members and $20 for nonmembers.

Sports, Pages 21 on 11/30/2012