Players better than senior season record suggests

Published: Saturday, November 10, 2018
Arkansas linebacker Dre Greenlaw claps during warmups prior to a game against Auburn on Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018, in Auburn, Ala.
Photo by Ben Goff
Arkansas linebacker Dre Greenlaw claps during warmups prior to a game against Auburn on Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018, in Auburn, Ala.

FAYETTEVILLE -- Frank Broyles' 1964 Razorbacks led the University of Arkansas to its lone football national championship.

Unofficially, it seems they lead the UA in reunions.

Louis Campbell once mused he couldn't recall another team and its seniors reuniting so often.

Louis would know. The Hamburg native recently retired to Fayetteville, lettered as an interceptions record-setting defensive back during his 1970-72 active playing career for Broyles' Razorbacks. From 1990-2007 he served the Razorbacks either coaching the secondary or in administration before coaching at Mississippi State and finally head coaching Sheridan High School.

Louis likely would have continued serving the Razorbacks had not the Revenge of the Nerds eased out Athletic Director Broyles effective 2008. They hired those avidly exterminating about everything Broyles related from the Broyles Center like the Orkin man on steroids.

So Louis left. Too bad. Because Louis, who coached for Bear Bryant at Alabama among others, not only was a great coach and great administrator but is an even greater people person. He relates to all, a quality the UA badly needed when so much of the Broyles legacy was removed.

But we digress. Louis had commented that while the 1964 crew constantly reunited his 1972 team never did.

The 1972 Razorbacks had some seniors fashioning great careers like Campbell, Joe Ferguson and Mike Reppond. They love the Razorbacks as much as any who played here.

But that 1972 team, preseason touted by some as national champion timber, went 6-5.

"When you don't win you don't have reunions," Campbell said.

Sad but true. And likely true for this 2018 senior class playing its last home game tonight for a 2-7 team and two-touchdown underdog at Reynolds Razorback Stadium vs. nationally seventh-ranked LSU.

Like 1972, some good seniors play tonight on a team not up to what they accomplished individually.

Had they played during the best of the preceding Houston Nutt and Bobby Petrino eras, or perhaps for what first-year Coach Chad Morris fields in the future if he can recruit Arkansas' way out of its current plight, seniors like Hjalte Froholdt, Dre Greenlaw and Johnny Gibson would be remembered for the unique stories that they are overcoming backgrounds not easily overcome.

Denmark native former high school foreign exchange student Froholdt converted from defensive tackle to offensive guard and became this team's most likely to be NFL drafted.

Linebacker Greenlaw, officially adopted by the family that rescued him from a life of foster homes, for years has been the defense's strength whenever his health allowed.

Gibson arrived as an overweight walk-on out of Dumas. He exits as a 3-year starter on the offensive line.

All three, along with spirited senior safety Santos Ramirez, kept their heads up and their team up even as the losses rained down.

For that, knowing the histories of so many then new coaches eternally grateful for those seniors buying into and smoothing that first-year transition, expect Morris to remember them and some others fondly however forgettable the season.

Sports on 11/10/2018


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