Pressbox Roundtable: Talking Tyler Wilson's Words, 'Bama's Strength, Razorbacks' Plight And Future With ESPN's Edward Aschoff

by Jim Harris  on Tuesday, Sep. 18, 2012 5:00 pm  

Tyler Wilson's postgame comments are among our debate topics in this week's Pressbox Roundtable. (Photo by Chris Bahn)

This story is from the archives of ArkansasSports360.com.

We've moved into Week 4 of the Pressbox Roundtable, and this week we welcome Edward Aschoff of ESPN.com as our national guest. Edward (Twitter: @AschoffESPN) got to see Alabama’s 52-0 blowout of Arkansas in person last weekend. Aschoff also appears weekly in “The Zone” on KABZ-FM, 103.7, every Thursday with Justin Acri, who's back with the panel this week.

We also welcome KTHV, Channel 11, sports anchor Mark Edwards (Twitter: @markedwards1906) to the table. You can catch Mark interviewing the ArkansasSports360.com team throughout the week this season. Also back is ArkansasExpats.com editor and regular ArkansasSports360.com contributor Doc Harper. Our Chris Bahn joins us as well, and I'll moderate.

Readers, join with the panel. Let us know what you think in the comments section at the bottom of the feature.

There are tons of topics to hit, so let’s get started:

WHAT’S WRONG?
Jim Harris (@jimharris360): Nick Saban summed up Arkansas’ performance Saturday as result of Tyler Wilson's being unavailable and the Hogs team being built around one player. But seriously, 52-0? Wilson’s absence caused Arkansas to suffer the worst loss it’s had in Fayetteville in close to 100 years? Two weeks ago they were ranked No. 8. What is wrong in Fayetteville?


Edward Aschoff: I think the confidence within this team is shot. I think it all started with the loss of Bobby Petrino and only intensified after losing at home to Louisiana-Monroe. Everyone on the outside lost any hope of Arkansas winning against Alabama when Tyler Wilson went down, and I think that carried over with the team in some spots. Wilson
called his team out for quitting, and while he's taken some criticism for it, I think he was right in his assessment. Did everyone quit? No, but enough did that this one got out of hand very early. I wondered before the season how this team would react to John L. Smith when things got tough, and I wasn't sure it would be well because he just isn't the motivator Petrino was. If this team is going to rebound in any way, it has to rally around its coach and buy into what he's saying now more than ever.

Mark Edwards: The problem in Fayetteville is there’s no “Fear Factor." The starters assume every day they have a job. If they had to compete daily for a chance to play, things would be a lot different. It also appears they have a horrible work ethic in practice. They have NO Depth and just maybe this team isn’t as talented as we thought.

Justin Acri: With Petrino, Arkansas is a pretty good, but not great, team. Without him the Hogs are just OK. Without Wilson, this just isn’t a very good team and that of course is because when your offense can’t eat some clock and generate some points, your below average defense is further exposed. Petrino was able to cover some of that up with the dynamic offense he brought to the table. I don’t know why some guys are great at calling plays and coaching offense, but I can say pretty confidently that Bobby Petrino is one of those guys. 

Chris Bahn (@cbahn): Wilson is important. But unless he can block for himself, run the football and play five of seven spots on the back end of the defense simultaneously, I’m not sure he provides a 52-point swing. However, Wilson’s leadership is missed tremendously. He’s been acting as head coach and spokesman for the team since April and not having him out there seems to throw everything off kilter.

Doc Harper: What’s wrong? Everything. When the head coach says Tyler Wilson is the team spokesman instead of himself, another coach, or even the athletic director, that says a lot. No one in recent college football history has been lauded for leadership more than Tim Tebow, but everyone still knew that was Urban Meyer's program. Wilson is having to be Tebow and Meyer put together because no one else in the program has stepped up.

ROLLING TIDE
Harris: How good is Alabama this year, compared with last year’s national title team?

Edwards: I don’t think they’re as good as last year’s team because there aren’t as many stars. This team has talented players but nowhere close to the ridiculous amount of ammunition from last year. Their corners are young and can’t jam receivers like a Dre Kirkpatrick. Offensively, they are much better. They have a talented group of young wide receivers.

Bahn: That’s a good football team. Likely a title contender. I’m just not ready to say it’s as good a squad as last year. Just the running back position alone — even with all that depth — isn’t as good without Trent Richardson.

Aschoff: This Alabama team is very good, but I don't think it's on last year's level. That team put up historic numbers on defense and had better overall leadership. Also, there's no Trent Richardson. These backs are good, but none are Richardson. I'm not saying this team doesn't have the talent or the leaders to make another title run. In fact, I think the passing game is better and more explosive. But overall it's just not on the same level as 2011.

Harris: But you’d have to admit they’re deserving of No. 1 this season at this moment, right?

Aschoff: Is it the best team in the country right now? It's hard to argue against that. People will say the Tide hasn't really been challenged. Maybe, this team is good enough that it just hasn't been able to be challenged. Michigan was a Top 10 team and Arkansas was thought of as an SEC contender. Alabama embarrassed both. I think we'll really find out what this team is made of on Nov. 3, at LSU.

 

 

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