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 member and past president 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. He has been awarded Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year 10 times and has been inducted into the Arkansas Sportswriters and Sportscasters Hall of Fame.
Like It Is:
Lone Little Rock game could be a wet one
Fans walk into War Memorial Stadium for the Arkansas Razorbacks' spring game Saturday, April 7, 2018, in Little Rock.
This column was going to be about folks showing their loyalty to the Razorbacks by getting a ticket to the Missouri vs. University of Arkansas game at War Memorial Stadium.
Make this another senior day. Maybe one the Razorbacks could actually win. Maybe.
Interim head coach Barry Lunney Jr., gave some credibility for that column when he choked up talking about playing in Little Rock.
Many former Razorbacks have those same emotions.
Maybe one of the pitches would be a chance to be part of history on two levels.
First, it is the last game in Little Rock on an annual basis for the first time since 1948, and second, the Hogs might be able to end their SEC losing streak since the Tigers have not won a road game all season.
Definitely a streak will be broken — the Tigers have lost five in a row. Someone has to win.
This is the perfect reason to buy a new poncho since it most likely will rain.
That it is payback time after the Tigers shut out the Hogs last year 38-0.
All of that and much more were going to be the subjects here today.
Instead, let’s be honest, this season should not count against central Arkansas in its requirement to sell 45,000 tickets.
There was more than one game in Fayetteville that probably had less than 40,000 in attendance, and yes, more than 50,000 tickets were “distributed.”
When tickets are being given away or sold at a deeply discounted price it wouldn’t be right to say tickets sold. So distributed is the term.
Selling tickets at a discount price apparently started when Jeff Long was acting like the athletic director.
Long — along with Dave Gearhart, sat in my office a decade ago and swore no more games would be moved, that it would stay at two a year as long as they were in charge — wanted desperately to move the games from Little Rock.
Those games were part of Frank Broyles’ great legacy, and it seems Long’s No. 1 objective was to destroy Broyles’ memory.
Broyles was remembered for many things, including adding and updating facilities.
Maybe that’s why Long dreamed up the north end zone expansion that is lightly used and heavily in debt. Missouri expanded its stadium for $99 million.
Long’s Razorback Riviera cost $159 million and that was for 3,200 seats.
That’s really not the point of this column either, just something that should stick in the craw of the Razorbacks Nation.
It seems like a day can’t go by without some mention of the UA’s quest to find a new head football coach.
What we tend to think is the greatest job in America isn’t exactly seen that way nationally anymore.
There may be one, maybe even two, Power 5 head coaches in the country who are mildly interested in talking about coaching the Razorbacks, and they have very limited contacts or experience in the SEC.
What most don’t know is that there are four current assistant coaches, including Lunney, who could salvage some of this recruiting class.
There’s no need to mention names, but they have worked their behinds off to get players, and the coaches are good teachers and coaches.
There is also some very talented young guys on this team, such as Treylon Burks from Warren, who LSU head coach Ed Orgeron went out of his way to whisper in his ear after the game Saturday night.
Lastly, there are some great fans, many who have stuck with the Hogs through this ultimate low point and many more who will be back when the Hogs start winning again.
Some of those will be in War Memorial on Friday, rain or rain.
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