HOG TALK: What Might Have Been?


What if Gus Malzahn returned to Arkansas in 2012 wearing cardinal and white?

If Gus Malzahn accepted the job as head coach of Arkansas football back in 2012 and had the same 1-2 disastrous start to the season would fans have been clamoring for his dismissal?
Why do I put Malzahn’s name in this? Malzahn and Morris both have the same pedigree. Malzahn and Morris are two of the winningest high school coaches from their respective states, they both came in and were one year wonders as offensive coordinators and were Group of 5 head coaches for less than four years before becoming a head coach of an SEC school. It took the same amount of years for both of them to reach this level in their careers. The only difference is Morris inherited a 1-11 dumpster fire of a program at SMU in 2014 and had to dig out of a hole in three seasons going 2-10, 5-7 and then 7-5 in 2017. Malzahn took over a competitive Arkansas State team after a 9-3 season under Hugh Freeze. Those are completely different circumstances and for fans to want Morris gone after two games, what if Malzahn had come this time and stood 1-2 with the same team?
Back to the real world for a minute. Luckily for Malzahn, Auburn was already stocked full of talent that fit his offense in 2013 that he recruited there before his one year (10 month) absence. As soon as he was hired as head coach, away Auburn went to a berth in the BCS National Championship Game.
Unfortunately, Arkansas never had that great fortune switching head coaches in 2013. After John L Smith was let go as interim coach and Bret Beilema was hired to take over a team that lacked the talent that was ready to play old school, I-formation football, the Razorback program never could regain their footing in the SEC after a preseason number 8 billing at the start of the 2012 season.
What if Malzahn or Morris had inherited that 2012 team? They both would have been in prime position had Arkansas Athletic Director, Jeff Long hired a big time offensive coordinator instead of Smith. Which leaves fans to wonder what have might have been during that 2012 season.

Tyler Wilson looking for a receiver during a game against Auburn in 2010 in relief of the injured Ryan Mallett.

With Tyler Wilson at quarterback, Dennis Johnson, Knile Davis and Ronnie Wingo at running back, Cobi Hamilton and Chris Gragg as receiving targets the Arkansas offense would have been salty. These players fit what these two coaches want to do. Oh well, what might have been.

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