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 to the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame and Arkansas Sportswriters and Sportscasters Hall of Fame.
Like It Is:
Time is now to move on from Bama loss
Arkansas running back Raheim Sanders (5) carries the ball, Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022, during the second quarter against Alabama at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville.
Alabama is history. The Crimson Tide were as fast, powerful, talented and deep as expected.
Arkansas won the third quarter and that’s improvement, not enough, but the Razorbacks also played the No. 1 team in then nation even in the second quarter. Both had 97 yards of total offense.
It was the first and fourth quarters that set the Tide apart.
Alabama opened with 217 yards of offense and two touchdowns, and they closed the game with 242 yards of offense — all rushing — and three touchdowns.
That’s 459 of their 555 total yards.
There’s a reason Alabama won, and it had nothing to do with play calling, schemes or strategies.
Since Nick Saban arrived in Tuscaloosa the only season Alabama was not in The Associated Press Top 10 was his first when the Tide were on probation.
Every season since, they have been voted No. 1 sometime during the season, and six times were national champions.
How Saban has done it is simple, but hard. He recruits 24/7 and so does his staff.
When he first got to LSU, he ran an assistant off because he hadn’t recruited in his previous job. The guy was on staff three weeks.
In the last four seasons, Saban has signed 17 5-star recruits. Only Georgia has signed more and it was just one more.
That’s why Alabama and Georgia played for the national championship in January.
Ohio State has signed 15 5-star players.
Texas A&M has signed 13, but eight of those were last year when Name, Image and Likeness came into effect.
In that same span of years, the Razorbacks signed no 5-stars and 25 4-stars, with 11 of those coming in 2019 and only KJ Jefferson, Trey Knox and Hudson Henry are still on the team from that class.
It isn’t that Sam Pittman and his staff aren’t trying, they are just playing catch-up. Going winless in SEC play sets you back in recruiting. Two winless seasons knocks you down.
In fact, Pittman and his staff may have been the only coaches in America who could have pulled off what they have.
Alabama recruits nationally, Arkansas and almost every other team in the SEC recruits regionally.
The Razorbacks will beat Alabama, maybe not until after Saban retires, but that goes for a lot of schools because Saban doesn’t just recruit, he coaches them up like Pittman and others.
Throw out that first probation season and Saban has an overall record of 181-19 and a SEC conference record of 105-12.
Since he came into the league, there have been 22 head coaching changes and anyone who doesn’t know he’s part of the reason for that just isn’t paying attention.
The only two former assistants to beat him are Kirby Smart, who did it in the last national championship game, and Jimbo Fisher who won a national championship at Florida State.
Saban has made Alabama into a well-oiled, perfectly run football machine.
He turns out NFL players by the draft load.
The SEC leads all conferences with 335 players in the NFL. The Big Ten is second with 266.
Alabama leads all teams with 53 players on NFL rosters.
College football has changed and Saban has changed with the times. He cried out about uptempo football until he started playing it, too.
He speaks kindly about the NIL and brags on all the millions being spent on his football players.
A couple of years ago he learned the latest dance and was caught on a cell phone doing it in a recruit’s home. It wasn’t pretty, but he was doing it and the recruit signed with him.
No program has come close to his success the last 14 years. They couldn’t because the G.O.A.T. was in the way.
Now is the time to put Alabama on the back burner for at least a year.
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