National media type bashing John Chavis hire at Arkansas for wrong reasons

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Look, I like Barrett Sallee as a person. Friendly guy. We met once. We’re amiable acquaintances online. I don’t sit and watch The Bachelor with him during SEC Media Days like our John Nabors did, but I find Sallee to be a reasonable human being.

So it’s hard for me to say this:

Dude, what is that take you have on John Chavis?

Sallee called out Arkansas, specifically Chad Morris, for hiring Chavis as the Razorbacks defensive coordinator. The CBS Sports analyst/writer/radio host is adamant it was the wrong move for Arkansas. Rather, to more appropriately capture spirit in which Sallee said it, the WRONG MOVE!

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OK. Fine. That part isn’t the problem. Having that reaction actually is rather common around parts of Razorbacks Nation where some think the same thing. Where the problem lies is the reasoning and defense of the reasoning.

“He is a dinosaur. He’s outdated. He doesn’t understand how to coordinate defenses in this era of new-age offenses.” That’s the biggest gist, the earliest argument for bashing the hire.

Sounds a big ageist. Sallee argues Arkansas needs a “guy who’s young.” The logic being the game has passed Chavis by. His defenses at Texas A&M — which were, at best, mediocre — are the evidence to that.

Uh, is the game that much different today than it was four years ago? I get the game is not the same, at all, as it was when Chavis was an up-and-comer in the early 1990s. It isn’t even the same as it was in 2000 when he was one of the best coordinators in college football. However, it is basically the same game it was in 2014 when Chavis’ LSU squad was ranked No. 9 in the nation in total defense and No. 4 in scoring defense.

Sallee, to his credit, acknowledges this. But he fails to provide evidence of the game having changed since then. If the argument is the game changes every year, that’s fine. But let’s not pretend the SEC was still a major ground-and-pound only league as recently as 2013. In fact, anecdotally, evidence to the contrary — the best passing teams in the SEC in 2014 threw more passes (which means they were getting more plays off, which suggests a faster pace) and had more passing yards than the best passing teams in the SEC in 2017.

Heck, I won’t even argue that Chavis is, perhaps, not a great hire. But not because he’s old and the game has passed him by. It’s an easier swallow to say Texas A&M didn’t have LSU’s talent. Arkansas doesn’t, and won’t, either, therefore Chavis is trying to make lemonade with oranges. Or what-have-you.

Remains to be seen whether Chavis is a good hire. I’m not convinced it’s a grand slam. But I’m not a fan of the “he’s too old” argument, either.

If season ended today, Arkansas is going Dancing

My goodness. Can you imagine what it would be like if Arkansas hadn’t beaten Oklahoma? Trae Young is saving the Razorbacks’ NCAA Tournament chances right now.

It was not surprising Thursday to see Joe Lunardi at ESPN released his latest Bracketology that Arkansas is still in the NCAA Tournament. The Hogs are actually rather comfortably “in” the Dance, a projected 7-seed against Louisville. That was the surprising part: a 7-seed despite three straight losses and four straight overall poor performances.

The Razorbacks are getting by because of their strength of schedule. North Carolina (loss), Tennessee (win) and Oklahoma (win) are scoring lots of SoS points for Arkansas. But make no mistake — it won’t last if the team keeps playing the way its played the last two weeks. Losing to good teams, even great teams, does no good in the long run.

ICYMI

  • There is a misconception about Morris offenses and the tight end. He is not, contrary to popular opinion, averse to using them. He also likely won’t use the position quite at the rate of his predecessor, either.
  • The Morris regime lost a commitment on Thursday. A defensive lineman. First one in a few weeks.
  • Our Trent Shadid, recruiting guru, has a list of Arkansas’ biggest and best targets in the Class of 2018 ahead of National Signing Day.
  • Arkansas’ women’s basketball fell Thursday night on the road at Georgia 78-65. Like the men, the women are now 1-3 in SEC play.

Tweets and the like

Jemal Singleton served one season as Arkansas running backs coach under Bret Bielema. He left UA for the Colts.

TBH, “Bubba Shot the Jukebox” is a great track.

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

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