Flight to and from Purdue the most ‘significant’ lead on Arkansas’ coaching search Monday

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Arkansas football rules the world of Razorbacks sports. So, with your bacon, have some Hogs for Breakfast and get caught up. It’s SEC Country’s weekday column and roundup on all things Arkansas … especially Arkansas football. Opinion, numbers, inane babble and more! And now with ironic exclamation points! There is no place like it on the web.

Guess whose plane was headed to Fayetteville on Monday?

This is where we are with Arkansas athletics right now. People are staking out Flight Tracker, looking for particular cities and a connection to Drake Field in Fayetteville. The anxiousness for the Razorbacks to realize their next football coach is palpable. Anxious for an athletic director, too, but no one is scoping flights for that next person.

Monday was a light day after a whirlwind weekend for Arkansas. Former coach Bret Bielema was fired on Friday after the Hogs lost to Missouri. Interim athletic director Julie Cromer Peoples staked her claim — even if only latently — to remove the “interim” tag a few hours later at the post-Bielema-era press conference. Gus Malzahn, the man almost universally thought to be Arkansas’ top choice, then won the Iron Bowl on Saturday. Sunday was spent combing through other possible candidates, making lists, checking them twice. You know, the whole nine.

Monday yielded nothing of note. Save a flight tracker that showed a plane from Drake Field to Purdue University and back to Drake Field early in the morning. The conspiratorial among us might think that plane up there carried athletics brass who went to visit Jeff Brohm, the Boilermakers coach and a Bobby Petrino protegé. Or maybe it isn’t conspiratorial to think that at all. Maybe that’s the standard of which we’re all taking note.

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Flight trackers to and from Drake Field in Fayetteville on Monday.

No matter what, though, it’s the state of things. Rightly. Wrongly. In-the-middle…ly. Arkansas is probably just glad, for a day at least, it could live college sports under the radar.

Pun intended.

Arkansas football’s second choice might be tough to get

Well, maybe he’s Arkansas’ second choice. If I were a betting man, Mike Norvell would get that title from me. The Memphis coach has Arkansas ties having played at Central Arkansas, so he has familiarity with the Natural State culture and knows the Hogs rule the state. He can recruit Texas almost assuredly, having spent his formative years there.

What else is there?

The little matter of what it would take to pull him away from Memphis. Word is Tigers brass is negotiating a new deal for the coach. Likely it would put his salary around $3 million a year. Arkansas would almost certainly pay him more than that, but that’s a hefty sum to coach at a place that doesn’t have quite the same expectations as an SEC school.

Impossible to know what happens next. Norvell may not even be near the top of the Arkansas wish list (but, c’mon). Just another fun thing to follow the next 10 days or so.

Arkansas basketball inches closer to the Top 25

A decent little 2-1 week for the Arkansas basketball team saw the Razorbacks go from a team that picked up the 39th-most points in last week’s Associated Press poll to a team that picked up the 33rd most this week.

Basically, it means the Hogs are just barely on the outside of being ranked. Put in points order, Arkansas is the “fifth-ranked” team from the SEC. Florida, Kentucky and Texas A&M are sixth, seventh and ninth. Alabama is 24th after falling this past week to No. 12 Minnesota, a team, coincidentally, Arkansas plays early next month.

Arkansas can make that matchup with the Golden Gophers a potential meeting between Top 25 teams at Bud Walton Arena. The Razorbacks would have to beat Houston on Saturday, the only game the Hogs play this week, and probably hope more teams in front of them fall, but it’s possible. They jumped six spots this past week. An eight-spot jump, however unlikely, isn’t out of the question.


Tweets and the like

• No Arkansas coaches on here, but the Broyles Award — given to the best assistant coach in the country — is named after former Arkansas coach and athletic director Frank Broyles.

• Arkansas guard Jaylen Barford was named to the all-tournament team in Oregon last week.

• Arkansas wide receiver Brandon Martin, who just finished his first season with the team, was recruited by Bielema. He isn’t thrilled to see his coach gone.


Skip Breakfast? C’mon. It’s too important. Catch up with previous versions here.

The post Flight to and from Purdue the most ‘significant’ lead on Arkansas’ coaching search Monday appeared first on SEC Country.

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