State Of The Hogs: John Daly

The Daly Planet is a weekly reality television show on the Golf Channel that details the happenings of our own John Daly, former Arkansas golfer with two professional major titles on his resume.

I've been holding my breath as the shows aired week after week, counting the days until the episode aired which was filmed in Fayetteville.

Nothing to worry about any more. It aired this week and it was nothing short of fantastic. From the shots of John on stage with Hootie and the Blowfish, to footage filmed in Reynolds Razorback Stadium as he and budy Johnny Lee sang the national anthem ahead of the Vanderbilt football game, it was all good.

There was footage of the stadium, the band, Houston Nutt and other Razorback dignitaries (Matt Shanklin got his 15 seconds of fame as he gave Daly and Lee instructions) sprinkled through this week's show.

UA athletic director Frank Broyles, golf coach Mike Ketcham, concert organizer Shannon Shelton and Fayetteville chiropractor Steve Whitelaw also got some air time. Whitelaw, just called Doc by Daly, got some nice pub adjusting Daly's back in one segment filmed at his clinic.

Many close to the Arkansas golf program gathered Wednesday night at the local Hooters restaurant to view the "premier" of the latest show. It was a lot of fun as each saw their face on TV. Ketcham, who has lost around 50 pounds in the last few weeks, was verbally attacked the crowd when the camera reminded us what he looked like in September.

"Fatty," came the jeers from his friends at the watch party. Ketcham just grinned, as well he should.

The publicity (and it as all the right kind) for the UA and the men's golf team rivaled only the financial boost the program received from the concert and the alumni golf event that continues to grow.

The highlight came when Daly led the concert goers in calling the Hogs. The cameras zoomed tight as he pointed from the stage at a standing Broyles in the audience and shouted, "Coach Broyles, I love you." I was too far away that night to notice, but it was easy to see on TV that there were tears in JD's eyes after he called the Hogs. He made a fist and hit his heart after leading the cheer.

The early part of the show followed John as he visited the practice of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He sported a Tampa Bay hat, but he proudly wore a bright red shirt with a Razorback logo.

As several former SEC players came over to meet John, he pointed to the Hog and said, "You hated to see these coming, didn't you, didn't you?" He made sure former Texas quarterback Chris Sims noticed his Razorback logo, too.

John Daly is a bit different. No one can argue that. He goes to the beat of a different drummer, but there is little doubt that if you cut him open, little red Hogs would pump from his big heart.

Here's a thank you to the Golf Channel for giving the nation a real good look of the John Daly we all know and love and for allowing him to show the country the school he loves so dearly.

Spring Practice Upcoming
Arkansas football players are almost done with their fourth quarter offseason conditioning. They have four more workouts left this coming week before heading home for spring break. They'll begin spring football practices the following week, three Mondays from now.

The news trickling out of the offseason workouts has been all good, too. It's clear that the Hogs have responded to the tough workouts at 6 a.m. the last two weeks.

It's been reported that freshman quarterback Casey Dick assumed a leadership role in the weight room in January and early February and that has carried over to the fourth quarter workouts.

There's also been solid leadership from a senior class that no longer is so small it can meet on a couple of couches in the office of the head coach. There are 23 seniors this time and those meetings are finally back in the team film room.

"We have great leaders in this class, a lot of them," head coach Houston Nutt said. "Wes Murphy has been a big-time leader, but he's got help from many more, including Darrius Vinnett."

Vinnett missed last season with knee troubles. He was the Hogs' best cover corner two years ago, but went down with a mysterious pain in his knees last year. He's now well and making a nice comeback.

There's good news at safety where mid-term signee John West, a junior college transfer, is turning heads at strong safety and Randy Kelly is drawing praise at free safety.

"John West is everything we hoped he would be when we signed him," said Louis Campbell, who will coach the safeties and oversee the secondary with Bobby Allen. "He's got some flexibility. He's certainly not stiff. He's got the change of direction to play in the SEC.

"West is also a good person and very coachable. You tell him something once and he gets it. You correct him and he's excited to do it the right way. You have to be excited about him.

"We still haven't played football. We'll get to see him do that in a few more weeks, but from what we've done in agility work and offseason conditioning, he's exactly what we thought we signed."

That's good news because safety was the main question mark most of last season with the defense. Coordinator Reggie Herring listed that as the key position heading into spring.

Offseason workouts aren't the same as spring drills, but it's clear that West has yet to do anything that would disqualify him as the top candidate to start at strong safety.

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