Arkansas is leaving no stone unturned as they search for a new coach.
After Chad Morris went 4-18 over his short time there, he was shown the door. While some fans are practically begging for Lane Kiffin, it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen.
A fan tweeted at Kiffin and the Arkansas AD about hiring the FAU coach.
Kiffin also said on the Paul Finebaum show back in October that he isn’t chasing the money anymore and he has a good situation in Florida.
It would be in the interest of both parties for Kiffin and Arkansas to avoid each other. Arkansas needs to take a step back and just take a breath. The last few years have been unkind and they need to find someone without the baggage.
Arkansas isn’t quite a recruiting hotbed but they are close enough that talent shouldn’t be much of an issue. But the carousel of coaches and schemes seems to never end. A stable, strong, and levelheaded coach needs to come in and change the identity of the program.
Finding a Safer Hire
Arkansas needs to go with a safer pick. You can go the route of Kiffin or Petrino but it will just end in a train wreck with everything back to square one. Thankfully, some respectable names have been floating around.
Memphis coach Mike Norvell, Auburn coach Gus Malzahn, Washington State coach Mike Leach, former coach Houston Nutt and former Tennessee coach Butch Jones are just some of the names being tossed around. It isn’t a bad list and each candidate has both good and bad. But any of them would likely be better than the last 5 years.
- Norvell has to be the front runner after a great stretch at Memphis. However, he has very little experience at power five schools. He is an offensive minded coach and would likely give Arkansas a boost. Lastly, he’s from Texas and both played and coached in the South so he knows the area.
- Malzahn is a bit confusing to me; he is an offensive coach but his offense is always up and down. He gets paid a ton of money and he coaches at a school that basically recruits for itself off name and history. I don’t think Gus is a terrible coach but he isn’t the answer to Arkansas’ problems. Then again, maybe he lands another Cam Newton?
- Hiring Butch Jones would be the equivalent of getting an oil change. It will keep your car running steady but there is absolutely nothing to get excited about. He is similar to Bo Pelini. He will elevate your team to a respectable level and he just can’t take the next step. If Jones learned from his time at Tennessee and he can fix what ended his time there, he could be a great hire. It isn’t sexy, but Arkansas needs stability now more than ever.
- The guy is out there and has some of the strangest rants in college football. But he is also the godfather of the modern offense and gives every team he joins a shot. He would give defenses issues, the other coaches wouldn’t know what to make of him, and Arkansas would be fun. While his coaching tree is dominating college football right now, he doesn’t change much. Teams like Washington have been able to figure him out and the best defensive minds reside in the SEC. Leach would undoubtedly have a prolific offense but he wouldn’t be beating up on the Pac-12 or the Big 12 anymore.
Finding a fit
Arkansas is a solid job despite what some say. Whoever takes it will have their work cut out for them, but Arkansas has potential. Ultimately for Arkansas, going for a splashy hire just to sell some season tickets isn’t the way to go. They need a culture change and stability to get back to competing in the SEC. They have the tools but can’t afford another Chad Morris to dig themselves out of this hole.
In the mean time we’ll do our best to keep you updated on the Arkansas coaching carousal.
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Started Saturday Tailgate in 2018. Covering all things college football and talking Notre Dame on Twitter.