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State of the Hogs:
I am usually cautious, but also optimistic. You guys know that all too well. I feel that way as we await the NCAA's decision at 10 a.m. Thursday morning. I feel optimistic that we are heading into a new era of Arkansas football. Let me say that I am openly optimistic, although caution should be mentioned, too.
The NCAA rarely accepts a school's self-imposed penalties without adding a little topping to those sanctions. So, with that in mind, I do expect the NCAA to add something to what we've already given ourselves in this process.
But, I think what we will find out tomorrow will be like a cloud lifting, not a cloud falling. Our football program will be better off after Thursday morning than before it. No matter what happens, the investigation will be done and we can move forward.
Actually, I don't expect a bowl ban at this point. There have been days that I did expect it to conclude in that manner. But, as I've studied the case, and looked at similar cases, I don't think the NCAA could conclude that a bowl ban is needed.
I believe that Houston Nutt has assembled the best group of recruiters in the history of the program. From what I've seen, Chris Vaughn is perfect to handle the recruiting coordinator's post. He will do a great job as we move away from the NCAA investigation.
James Shibest, Mike Markuson, Clifton Ealy, Bobby Allen, Dave Wommack, Tracy Rocker, Danny Nutt and Roy Wittke are all top recruiters. Wittke served as recruiting coordinator in his previous job and will be an asset in the coming year. Shibest and Allen could also easily have been named recruiting coordinator. Each is dynamic in the way he recruits.
With the NCAA cloud lifted, this coaching staff, with a great recruiter as the head coach, will be ready to move the football program to a higher level. And, the best news is that they will no longer have to battle rumors about what the NCAA is about to do to the Arkansas football program.
All we can do now is wait for the verdict. But, I do not think it will be a death blow. Rather, I think it's going to be something we will all be glad to see ... the end to a most depressing period of not knowing our fate. I believe that the not knowing was far worse than what we will be assigned on Thursday.