Broyles Brings Passion to TD Club

Frank Broyles has seen the evolution of the Arkansas football program, but the defining moment he picked predated his arrival.

Frank Broyles brought his usual passion to the Northwest Arkansas Touchdown Club on Wednesday, including a question and answer segment when he was asked to define the best moment in Arkansas football history.

"I'd say in 1947 when John Barnhill closed down the state's borders with his idea to give our radio broadcast away for free to all stations in the state," said Broyles, the retired coach and athletic director at Arkansas.

He then turned to Harold Horton, seated in the first row.

"You've been here all along, Harold, what do you think?" Broyles said.

Horton replied, "When we beat Texas in Austin in 1964."

Broyles raised his hand and said, "Right, right! Anytime you beat Texas is a defining moment."

The Texas rivalry was front and center in both his speech and the Q&A. Someone wondered if any SEC team had replaced Texas as the Hogs' No. 1 rivalry.

"NO!!!" Broyles said, raising his level. "If you want to talk about the games that everyone remembers, it's Texas, Texas and Texas. That hasn't changed. It may not change. Those are the games I'm asked about."

The game has changed, though.

"It's speed, speed, speed, speed and speed," Broyles said. "That's what is different between now and when I coached. The speed of the game makes you defend both the width and the depth of the field. We could stick a tight end out wide and no one would go with him because he wasn't a threat.

"You could stop the run because you could put everyone near the line of scrimmage because no one could hurt you. You could gang up on the run.

"The one player we had with speed was Lance Alworth. So we moved him around and played him in a lot of spots. Now a team might have five, six, seven players with speed like Lance. So you have to defend differently.

"I think the other thing that has happened to make it more offensive is the number of plays. With the way the clock is stopped now, there are maybe 150 plays in a game, sometimes more. The maximum total we had was around 125 and it was usually far less. So you have more chances for points."

Broyles mentioned twice the importance of Barnhill's decision to offer Razorback radio broadcasts free to all stations in the state. He said it was that significant.

"Years ago, you could go to Hot Springs and on a Saturday listen to three different games on the radio," he said. "One station would carry our games, but there also might be the Oklahoma game or the LSU game on other stations. John Barnhill told all the stations they could have the Arkansas game and for free. So if they sold one single ad they turned a profit. They all started carrying our games.

"So we didn't have any other games on the radio except ours. It was huge. It was the first step to closing our borders so we kept our recruits in state and made everyone living here an Arkansas fan. I can't emphasize enough how important that was to developing the Razorback passion in our state."

Broyles said he's a huge fan of what is going on with the current football program and thinks the Hogs may be close to breaking into the BCS party. If they do, he said to expect another jump in the program.

"I think it could help everything by 20 percent for two years," he said. "That's 20 percent more money in fund raising, 20 percent better recruits. It will mean possibly four to five more of those top level players in the next two classes. It's more money for two years."

Broyles said the current BCS system is the best he's seen.

"I'm a fan of it because it protects the bowl system," he said. "I hate playoffs. It would be bad for college football. You take an eight-team playoff, you are going to see the bowl system go away. And that's bad for the players and the schools.

"As we've got it now, you have a lot of teams finish the season with a victory and feel good about themselves and their future. If you go to a playoff, there will be only one winner and everyone else will be forgotten. That won't be good for college football."

Broyles said his feelings are "mixed" about TCU and Boise State, both unbeaten and trying to catch Oregon and Auburn, one and two in the BCS rankings.

"It's tough on them, the current system," Broyles said. "On one hand, I admire what they have accomplished. On the other hand, they haven't played a schedule comparable to any of the teams in the SEC or the other major conferences. Playing that schedule shouldn't qualify them for the BCS championship. Just winning games isn't enough."

Former Arkansas coach Danny Ford will speak at the NWA Touchdown Club's final lunch of its inaugural year at noon Wednesday, Dec. 8 at the Springdale Holiday Inn. ArkansasPreps.com will present its player of the year and coach of the year from the high school ranks at that event. Email the club at nwatdclub@yahoo.com to reserve a seat for the final luncheon.

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