Jim Harris: Crowe, Jacksonville State Will Provide Type Of Test Razorback Defense Wants

by Jim Harris  on Friday, Aug. 31, 2012 3:05 pm  

Jack Crowe returns to Fayetteville on Saturday, nearly 20 years to the day he last coached the Razorbacks. (Photo by Jack Crowe)

This story is from the archives of ArkansasSports360.com.

Arkansas fans who were never around Jack Crowe, but only cheering or jeering from afar at Hog games, won't understand what type of person he is, especially with the media.

In fact, during his 2.1 years as Arkansas head coach, he probably leaned too much on the opinions of regular print or TV reporters. Yes, like a politician gauging the wind of the populace, he really did quiz a number of us, separately, one weekend as to what we thought about suddenly converting his offense to the Wishbone for a big game at Texas A&M. Really, he'd already made up his mind — he knew it was the only chance to win the game, what with starting quarterback Jason Allen knocked out for the season — but he had that desire to know in advance how it might go over.

Like we the media would really know.

Great guy that he was and still is, Crowe, now in his 13th year as Jacksonville State's head coach, presented me, Paul Borden and Donna Lampkin with game balls from the Hogs' 14-13 victory over Texas in mid-October 1991. No, the three of us hadn't somehow caused Texas to miss a field goal to save the game, but rather, we'd all lost our regular jobs the day before, when Gannett sold the assets of the Arkansas Gazette to Walter Hussman and his Arkansas Democrat.

Days later, Crowe was entertaining the three of us at his favorite Fayetteville haunt, Herman's Rib House, and surprising us with the "game ball" gifts.

Less than a year later, he lost his job as well.

There's not enough space in the column, or even in a full page or more of the statewide daily (though Bob Holt has a well-researched account of it Friday), to explain everything that occurred, and had to happen, to led to the debacle Arkansas fans only have to recall as "The Citadel."

(Well, you could read Jim's summary of The Citadel here: 20 Moments From The Razorbacks' First 20 SEC Years: Citadel Wins, Crowe Loses Job - ed.)

And just as destiny seemed to fall into place — Crowe in 1992 being ordered by Frank Broyles to convert his offense to a "more exciting" one-back set, the program being self-penalized for Crowe and offensive line coach J.B. Grimes being found working with the linemen out of season, and The Citadel possessing a very solid football team even if it was in Division I-AA, just to name three areas — for such a stunning 10-3 upset to happen, similar forces were in place two years ago when Crowe and his Jacksonville State program shocked Ole Miss 49-48.

From everything Crowe has said this week, that win over the Rebels didn't undo anything involving The Citadel game. However, it certainly seemed fitting to many old Razorback fans and media members.

Now, in yet another unusual coincidence, Crowe returns to Fayetteville, this time with a second-tier team, to take on the Razorbacks nearly 20 years to the day that he lost to The Citadel.

Crowe, a former chemistry major and teacher before he took up coaching, could always design good option-type offenses — as Arkansas offensive coordinator in 1989 the Hogs piled up the records, and Crowe managed to squeeze every ounce of offense from the surprising 1991 team. Heck, even the 3-8 team in 1990 was thrilling on offense; unfortunately, the defense was a sieve.

Jacksonville State will feature Washaun Ealey at running back, the same Washaun Ealey who started for Georgia and scored a touchdown against Arkansas in 2010.



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