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Scott Loftis

From the Editor

Scott Loftis is managing editor for Carroll County Newspapers. His email address is CarrollCountyNews@cox-internet.com

Upon further review, itís time for Hogs to punt

Friday, September 27, 2019

Four weeks ago, I wrote that it was too early to accurately assess Chad Morrisí performance as head football coach at the University of Arkansas.

The proper time to evaluate Morris, I wrote, would be two or three years in the future.

I was wrong. Now is a perfectly appropriate time to judge Morrisí performance, and itís time to make a change.

Thereís simply nothing else to do after Saturdayís 31-24 loss to San Jose State. Arkansas was extremely fortunate to even be that close, as San Jose State dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball and took advantage of five interceptions thrown by Arkansas quarterback Nick Starkel.

If you think Iím being harsh, consider this: In 16 games at Arkansas, Morris has produced a grand total of four victories. Two of those have come this season, as the Razorbacks nipped Portland State 20-13 in the season opener, then needed three fourth-quarter touchdowns to pull away from Colorado State for a 55-34 victory.

The Razorbacks are 0-9 in SEC play under Morris, and anyone who seriously believes they will win a conference game this season might need their head examined (that would include yours truly, who picked Arkansas to beat Ole Miss and then pick up one or two more SEC victories against Mississippi State, Missouri and Kentucky). Iím not the first to state the obvious: This team, in fact the entire program, has hit rock bottom.

If you think Iím being unfair to Morris, think again. He is paid $3.5 million a year to win football games. With that big salary come big expectations ó or at least expectations that the Razorbacks wonít lose to teams like Colorado State, North Texas and San Jose State. Those are the kinds of teams that SEC schools schedule in nonconference play and rightly expect to trounce. The criticism comes with the job, as does the big paycheck.

Of course, my opinion means next to nothing where Morrisí future is concerned. However, there are folks whose opinions do matter ó athletic director Hunter Yurachek, the UA Board of Trustees and perhaps most importantly the big-money boosters whose contributions make Morrisí big salary possible. Those people canít possibly be happy today.

Cutting Morris loose wonít be cheap and to do so would lead to the next big question: Who can Arkansas get to replace him?

The last time the UA went looking for a head football coach, Gus Malzahn parlayed the Razorbacksí interest into a fat raise to stay at Auburn and the Hogs wound up hiring a guy who went 14-22 in three seasons at SMU.

I donít know who Arkansas can get to replace Morris, but at this point, could it possibly do worse?

I never liked the Morris hire, but I also didnít think it made sense to let him go without three or four seasons to prove himself.

I was wrong. Itís time for the UA to cut its embarrassing losses and move on.