State Of The Hogs

FAYETTEVILLE -- Summer is staring me in the face and there are no signs of anything Razorback to do in our own backyard.

Yes, the baseball, track and golf teams have postseason aspirations. It's just that none of that is going to be contested around these parts.

The regional and super regional baseball tournaments were a blast last June. But it doesn't appear this team is quite at the same level and will most likely finish its season on the road. Dave Van Horn's team will be in a NCAA regional, but probably in some place like Austin, Waco or New Orleans.

Track has a solid chance to win its 41st NCAA championship when the outdoor meet rolls around in a couple of weeks. The golf team is a surprise entry in the NCAAs after going off in the final round of the Central Regional in an attempt to lap the field.

It's just tough to find something to attend in May through July around here. Call them the dog days of summer for Razorback fanatics.

I don't hold Wal-Mart stock, so the shareholder's meeting at Bud Walton Arena isn't an attraction to me. That isn't Razorback related, although there is always some interesting star gazing at those events.

One thing that can change that would be the revamping of John McDonnell Track. That's in the works to the tune of $7 million. It's going to be spruced up with more seats. It will be suitable for hosting of an NCAA outdoor event. I've never seen one of those things and it would be nice to bring it to Fayetteville, home of the world's best track team.

What if we also brought the NCAA golf championships to Fayetteville? John Tyson's new course, The Blessings, would be a suitable test for such a tournament.

Tom Jones, newly hired as director of golf at the club, knows plenty about that kind of stuff. He's spent most of his life around either Oklahoma State golf or the PGA Tour. He's an old friend with a wonderful reputation. He'd be right at home in organizing such an event. (Sorry, Tom. I couldn't resist.)

It's true that the Hogs might like to host an NCAA outdoor track championship. However, I know of know plans to try to bring an NCAA golf championship to the region.

Either way, I'm not totally unhappy about the coming slow times as far as Razorback sports. Everyone needs a vacation from time to time, not that I'm on one now.

This is a fun time of the year, professionally. It's when we put out our annual College Football Preview at Hawgs Illustrated. It's another big magazine, about double the size of our standard issue. It has 100 pages of position breakdowns and player features.

Our writers have spent the last three weeks talking with players and assistant coaches. Reggie Herring, the Hogs' new defensive coordinator, was gracious enough to spend over three hours with this writer to discuss his plans for next fall.

Herring detailed how he thinks that the weakness of the last several years, the pass rush at defensive end, is going to be a strength with the likes of Desmond Sims, Anthony Brown, Zach Snider and Jamal Anderson coming off the edge.

Brown, converted from wide receiver, fascinated Herring from the first time he saw him in the winter fourth quarter class. He lobbied for Brown almost immediately. Herring said head coach Houston Nutt finally sent him over to the defense with about a week left in spring drills.

"Coach Nutt did what a good CEO does, look at it from all sides and then do what is best for the team," Herring said. "Anthony Brown can make a difference in our team at defensive end. Coach Nutt loves those 6-6 targets at wide receiver, but now our defense has a chance to be really good because we've got what we need on the edge to rush the passer."

Our 100-page magazine is still a couple of weeks away from going to the printer. So hold your horses. I don't know exactly what I'm going to do when we're done. Maybe it'll be time to play a little golf or take a fly fishing trip to the White River or the Norfork.

With nothing Razorback to do around here, that's the next best option for June and July.

Wait a minute. Let's don't bring any summer NCAA events to Fayetteville. I kinda like June and July the way they are now.


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