Frank Ragnow, Arkansas players, deserved better than this

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.

Hogs players deserved better this season, especially Frank Ragnow

Ask around the Arkansas beat and the majority of us who cover the Hogs day to day will tell you Frank Ragnow seems like an absolutely great human being.

All of us, not even secretly, are disappointed he didn’t get to finish his career at Arkansas healthy. A badly sprained ankle suffered late last month has ended his college football playing days. The NFL awaits.

Being sidelined, however, did not stop Ragnow from being honored. He was named a semifinalist for the Jason Witten Man of the Year Award, an inaugural award given to the FBS player who has demonstrated leadership through courage, integrity and sportsmanship on and off the field.

Ragnow is a captain. He has a 3.31 grade-point average. He’s three hours short of graduating. And he’s a beast on the field.

He did all that through the personal struggle of his father’s death last year. Ragnow did not miss a game. In fact, he graded out as the top center in the nation in 2016.

I have no vote for the Jason Witten Man of the Year Award. If I did, it would go to Frank Ragnow. Good luck, man.

Jeff Long is nothing like you, nor you like him

Arkansas is not the type of place that can be Alabama. It is not the type of place that can be LSU. The sooner that’s realized, the quicker all of us — fans and media — can be honest about what the future holds for the program.

What fans want is one thing. What they expect, while related, is another. Athletic director Jeff Long’s expectations are different still. The reality of the situation may even be a further change.

A happy medium must be found. A compromise. Winning seasons — seven or eight victories per year — seems reasonable three of every four years. Except, well, that’s what coach Bret Bielema has done. One of those three winning seasons needs to push higher than eight.

Bielema is “close” to that. The problem is this season has been such a stinker. The losses themselves are less the issue than how the games have been lost.

Either way, to alleviate things, we all need to have an honest conversation about “expectations” and what it means for Arkansas football.

Austin Allen? Cole Kelley? Which QB should Arkansas roll with?

Quarterback is the most important position on the field. It may be the most important position in all of team sports. A baseball pitcher is the only other position that touches the ball every play when his team possesses it.

As such, how a quarterback plays has a massive influence on the success of his team. At Arkansas, the stakes are even higher. Coaching jobs may be on the line, dependent on whether the Razorbacks win or lose down the stretch.

Bielema, the most tenuously employed of the coaches, has a decision to make. He can roll with this fifth-year senior, Austin Allen, and bank on the past successes and experience the quarterback has provided. Or Bielema can choose Cole Kelley, the redshirt freshman who has started the last four games and led the Razorbacks to two straight wins.

Kelley is limited in practice with a foot injury. Was Tuesday, anyway. That leans even more to Allen getting the nod.

But Bielema won’t say outright until Saturday. Nor should he. The decision is far too important for that.

ICYMI

  • The question now may be whether it’s Allen or Kelley. The future, though, provides plenty more options for Arkansas at quarterback. Trent Shadid takes a peek at how two high schoolers committed to the Razorbacks capped their seasons.
  • Our resident Hogs fan and podcaster John Nabors is frustrated. He thinks there is simply too much that doesn’t add up; he thinks there is no reason, realistically, Arkansas should be this bad. Check out his Borderline Erotic podcast.
  • Bielema is facing his old offensive coordinator this weekend. Matt Canada was OC and quarterbacks coach at Wisconsin during Bielema’s last season with the Badgers in 2012. He’s now LSU’s offensive coordinator. Tom Murphy at Arkansas Democrat-Gazette writes about it.
  • Andrew Hutchinson over at 247Sports has his weekly #ProHogs round up of former Razorbacks in the NFL.
  • Long is back on Twitter. He went on a retweet spree the last 36 hours or so. He has nothing himself to say, however. They’re all retweets.

Tweets and the like

Chris Low, who covers the SEC for ESPN, has a smart take here. Most people won’t agree. I do.

The greatest sport on Earth is getting some love at Arkansas. I highly recommend heading out to the Jones Center and watching the Ice Hogs.

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

The post Frank Ragnow, Arkansas players, deserved better than this appeared first on SEC Country.

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