Bahn: Arkansas Razorbacks Football Job Will Attract Quality Candidates, But Not In April

by Chris Bahn  on Tuesday, Apr. 17, 2012 5:38 pm  

Arkansas is investing money in its program. That makes it a job candidates will want to look into - once the 2012 season ends. (Photo by University of Arkansas)

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Entering the spring Arkansas football appeared to be in position for a big 2012. The Razorbacks had a pair of offensive players being mentioned in the way too early Heisman Trophy conversation. A retooled defensive staff brought hope to a program that had struggled defensively under Coach Bobby Petrino. Pre-spring polls had the Razorbacks ranked among the Top 10 nationally.

Because of those factors and more we can all agree 2012 was shaping up to be a potentially huge year for Arkansas football

Can we all also agree that 2012 is far from the only season that matters for Arkansas football?

There should be no hurry in naming a full-time head coach now. Wait until November or December and Jeff Long can hire a candidate worthy of the job.

Those out-of-work coaches, the guys doing TV and any up and coming guys with potential who are available now? They’ll be around in November. Long should make the guys at the top of his wish list pass on the job in the fall before he starts considering just about anybody that would take the job now.

Winning it all in 2012, heck finally winning the West, can still be the goal for this season. But Long and the Razorbacks shouldn’t make that the goal at the expense of the program’s future.

Few if any candidates worthy of the position are going to be available right now. There will be quality options. They’re just not available, as most coaches are in the middle of or wrapping up spring practice.

Bringing in a coach at the end of spring will put him behind the 8-ball when it comes to installing offense and defense. Hard to imagine any quality coach would be willing to come in under those circumstances.

With $2.6 million tied up in current assistants, the new guy would face a tough decision. He could go through the season with a staff he doesn’t know/doesn’t trust or cut loose assistants who represent a couple million that could be better spent elsewhere.

Coaches need the spring to lay a foundation. And it would be difficult to ask somebody to take the job for a year without having any control of his personnel or schemes. Anybody willing to do that likely isn’t the sort of coach you need to continue building the program.

“But… But… Recruiting is the future! Save recruiting! Hire someone now! The 2013 class depends on it!”

Petrino had two commitments for 2013 as of April 10. He wasn’t exactly tearing it up in comparison to Alabama, Texas A&M and others in the league. He rarely did.



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