State of the Hogs: Jucified

If it's not jucified, then it probably doesn't have real butter. Well, that might not be the summation of this commentary, but there is a real twist of juice in there somewhere. Take it from Dan Enos, it's OK to have some fun even if the players are mocking the coach.

My column idea hit me today as I was checking out a fully stocked refrigerator, now "complete" with real butter. There should be fun in everything and plenty of real butter.

I know my wife loves me. We are going on 36 years of marriage and there isn't a day that passes where I don't feel it.

But I felt it a little too much at Easter dinner. There was no butter in the house, a conscious decision from Jean Ann to preserve my heart.

The rolls were there, big beautiful yeast rolls. Delicious. But there was no butter. They were covered in something, but my wife assured me it was not butter. Then what?

After the third time to ask -- and daughters Sarah and Becca ducking their heads -- my wife finally explained that they were all dressed in yogurt spread. All of them? Yes.

Well, I'm fine with giving up butter. Well, not really. But I know it's not the worst thing that will happen to me. But can I decide if my roll has yogurt spread ruining the inside? Plain would have worked.

We got over it and there is now a pound of real butter in the house. That came after I mentioned that there was also no butter on the table at the Swatter's Club lunch on Monday. Was there a conspiracy?

To be sure, this is all in fun. I use butter so seldom I can understand it disappearing from the refrigerator. It goes on pancakes and rolls, and when I make my famed cherry cobbler. That's it and we don't have those often anyway. So I'm OK and healthier. Jean Ann knows I'm writing this in fun.

It reminds me of the way Dan Enos handles his players. The new offensive coordinator wants football to be fun and keeps it lively in the meeting room for his quarterbacks. That much was clear Thursday when I asked the new UA quarterbacks coach about players talking about his favorite word. Brandon Allen and Jonathan Williams claim their new coach refers to the good stuff in the book as "juicy." Routes with double moves or slick combinations are referenced as "juicy."

Allen said it's gone to the next level in the last week. Enos knows his phrases are now being monitored, so he's expanded on the good word.

"He's not saying juicy any more," Allen said. "It's now jucified. He's taken it to another level."

Enos grinned ear to ear when a reporter quizzed him about the meaning of juicified.

"I will have to defer to my wife, since she's the English major," Enos said. "When I get excited about a play or a route, that's where I go, juicy.

"The good thing, now they go there with me. I think the players are starting to mock me a little and that's good. It's all in fun. They are all about being juicy.

"I just want to keep things interesting. We work hard. We study hard, but I want to engage with them, interact and have fun. I just think when it's interesting and fun everyone learns more. It's about keeping the tempo fun and alive.

"I do think they are having fun with me. I want to find out about them and I want them to know about me. I've told them about my personal experiences, where I'm from and what I'm about."

There has been discussion about the athletic ability of the quarterbacks. Enos makes sure they know about his past athletic achievements.

"They tell me about what they've done, the other sports they have played," he said. "I know about all of them. I think they think they were pretty good at everything. They tell me they were real good in other sports.

"You need to have some fun because we are covering a lot of material, doing a lot of work and you better make some of it fun."

It hit me that the good coaches know how to do that. Arkansas baseball assistant Tony Vitello tapped into back stories on some of his players last fall during a heavy work period.

"Yeah, Coach Vitello took all of the hitters to Bud Walton Arena for some basketball," outfielder Andrew Benintendi said. "A lot of us played basketball in high school. So we loved it. We shot around. We didn't play pickup, or games. That's a good way to break an ankle or twist a knee. So we just shot it. It was a lot of fun. We were testing out our range."

Benintendi, leading the SEC in home runs, has a great basketball pedigree. He was a four-year starter in high school, earning Class 3A Ohio player of the year as a junior.

"I think we've got some guys on the baseball team who can play basketball pretty well," Benintendi said. "So it's fun for us to talk about it, or go to the games at Bud Walton, or watch the NCAA tournament together. Clark Eagan could shoot it. The pitchers weren't with us, but I watched some YouTube highlights of Trey Killian playing. He's good."

Killian, who overheard the conversation, joined in for some fun. He was a 6-3 point guard at Mountain Home, although he's always lived in Norfork.

"I've got range out to 30," Killian said. "But with Beni, I think I'd have to take him to the low block. I think I'd make it tough on him there. Really, I know Beni is really good. We've all heard that. We all love basketball. We are at every game in Bud Walton. My dream has always been to play basketball for the Razorbacks in Bud Walton. I still dream that. I think I could play -- and I think I could take the guys on our team in basketball."

It's all just some fun talk during what is serious work time for the football and baseball stars. Don't forget the fun -- or the butter.

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