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 for staff to develop Razorbacks’ mold
University of Arkansas head football coach Bret Bielema walks past the signing day list of 22 players who committed to the Razorbacks as he begins the press conference Wednesday afternoon in Fayetteville.
LITTLE ROCK It was believed the Arkansas Razorbacks would move up from their No. 53-ranked national football recruiting class, but the jump to No. 31 was because of a great team effort by Bret Bielema and his staff.
That was before Alex Collins got around his mom and signed with the Hogs, which moved them up to No. 26, which is an exceptional number considering Bielema was on the job less than two months.
That still left the Hogs averaging No. 12 among SEC teams, but Bielema may have served notice what he is capable of doing when given a full year to work on recruiting.
While recruiting has become a sport of its own, almost as important is the development of players on the field, and that starts with strength and conditioning.
Which begins with proper nutrition.
One of the major changes head strength and conditioning coach Ben Herbert has made is to reduce the amount of fried food in the diet of the football players.
One of the staples for the players, and a longtime favorite, has been the fried catfish from the Catfish Hole, which now serves up lots of great baked chicken with plenty of herbs and spices.
Herbert changes the team player by player, and he will have a lot to say in determining how good this recruiting class really is.
As expected, Alabama’s football recruiting class moved from No. 3 to No. 1 in most rankings.
By a consensus of the national rankings, the SEC took six of the top 10 spots and 10 of the top 25.
In other words, the most powerful college football conference just got better and positioned itself for more national championships to the dismay of all the other conferences that have been playing catch-up for at least six years.
No doubt a lot of the Razorbacks Nation was disappointed when Altee Tenpenny signed his letter of intent to play football for the University of Alabama.
Some held out hope that Bret Bielema and his staff could get Tenpenny to change his mind, and they tried very hard.
The problem was they were in too deep of a hole to begin with.
Tenpenny orally committed to Alabama more than a year before he signed with the Tide.
Bielema, whose offense stresses using a running back like Tenpenny, worked hard, but the cold, hard truth is that Tenpenny’s family was on the UA campus three times and never met former coach Bobby Petrino.
By then they were already on a first-name basis with most of the head coaches who were recruiting Tenpenny.
Tenpenny was able to make up his mind and not be tempted long before Bielema was hired.
Back when Lance Armstrong was winning the Tour de France and the most dominant cyclist in the world, long before we knew he was using illegal drugs to enhance his performance, one of his primary sponsors was the U.S. Postal Service.
The thought crossed my mind more than once: What was the U.S. Postal Service getting out of spending millions to have its name on Armstrong’s shirt?
Now, the U.S. Postal Service is losing so much money that it will drop mail delivery on Saturdays, unless Congress steps in.
Where are the people who approved wasting all that money on one cyclist now?
Sure, it was a small amount compared to the losses, but it never made sense for a government office to be involved in any sport, especially one as corrupt as professional cycling.
Sports, Pages 19 on 02/08/2013