Tom Murphy is a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of Louisiana Tech University, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and voter for the Heisman Trophy and AP Top 25 football poll.
In the lane:
Artwork captures ex-coach
NWA Media/MICHAEL WOODS --02/02/2013-- Former University of Arkansas basketball coach Nolan Richardson shakes hand with artist Opie Otterstad during a halftime presentation of Saturday afternoon's game against Tennessee at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE Former Arkansas Coach Nolan Richardson, who led the Razorbacks to the 1994 NCAA championship and the 1995 NCAA title game, had a painting in his honor unveiled during halftime of Saturday’s game against Tennessee.
The artwork, painted by Opie Otterstad, showed Richardson holding up the NCAA championship trophy the night the Razorbacks beat Duke 76-72 in Charlotte, N.C., for the national title.
“I was told they are going to honor a lot of schools who have won a national championship,” Richardson said, referencing the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the NCAA Tournament. “It’s more the University of Arkansas, all the players that played in that particular game, along with the coaches.” Legends
Walton Arena was chock full of coaching legends, with three national championship coaches in attendance Saturday.
Longtime Arkansas football Coach Frank Broyles had a brief pregame conversation with ESPN announcer Bobby Knight, who won three national titles at Indiana. Knight and Nolan Richardson, Arkansas’ national championship coach of 1994, also shared a hug and a chat before the game.
Arkansas’ pressure defense triggered 20 turnovers by Tennessee, the Volunteers’ second-largest total of the year, and the Razorbacks scored 27 points off the turnovers.
“These guys feed off their crowd a lot,” Tennessee’s Jarnell Stokes said. “When they get two or three turnovers, they get real hyped and you know they’re going to get their press going. … It just makes it that much harder to handle the ball.”
Tennessee guard Josh Richardson rated Arkansas’ pressure among the top three the Vols have faced.
“But, I mean, it’s nothing we shouldn’t be able to handle,” he said.
“I’ve just got to do a better job of not letting them speed me up and taking better shots,” said Vols guard Jordan McRae, who had two turnovers and scored six points, eight fewer than his season average.
Tennessee turned the ball over on its first four possessions of the second half, adding on to the 12 turnovers it had amassed by halftime.
Arkansas football Coach Bret Bielema shouted “I love it!” to a cheering crowd after being announced at halftime.
Bielema and Arkansas’ assistant coaches were at Walton Arena hosting prospects on official visits prior to Wednesday’s national signing day.
Bielema also praised his staff, describing it as second to none.
“They all came to Arkansas for the same reason,” Bielema said. “We didn’t come here to play in the SEC. We came here to win the SEC.”
Bielema also took a few minutes to visit with the ESPN announcing team of Brent Musberger and Bobby Knight on the air early in the second half.
Arkansas was called for 23 fouls, compared to 19 against Tennessee, on the heels of the Hogs’ 23-11 foul discrepancy at Alabama on Thursday.
The Volunteers entered the bonus at 9:26 of the first half and at 9:04 of the second half. Arkansas entered the bonus at 4:33 in the first half and with 59 seconds left in the game, only after the Vols committed three fouls intentionally in three seconds to put the Razorbacks on the freethrow line.
Arkansas’ 13-steal effort was led by big man Hunter Mickelson, who deflected a couple of passes and poked the ball away from Tennessee’s Jarnell Stokes, who had a team-high four turnovers. Marshawn Powell, Michael Qualls and Ky Madden had two steals each for the Hogs.
Sports, Pages 28 on 02/03/2013