You may think I'm nuts, but this football season reminds me of the 1985-86 Razorback basketball season.
It was Nolan Richardson's first season as Razorback head coach. He inherited a team that wasn't suited for his style of ball. Nolan, who had won every place he had coached, was confident that he would win right away in Fayetteville. Players like Scott Rose, who struggled in Eddie Sutton's system, would thrive in his new up tempo approach.
Nolan was wrong.
That 1985-86 team won only 12 games; they went 4-12 in Southwest Conference play. Scott Rose averaged 3 points a game that season.
Fast forward almost 30 years: Bret Bielema takes over a Razorback program that was reeling after one distressing year under John L. Smith. Like Nolan, Coach Bielema was ready to prove the critics wrong. He was confident that players, who were not a factor a year ago, would be productive in his system.
That hasn't happened.
This Hog team has been what many thought they would be. Offensively, most expected this team to struggle throwing the ball. They have. They are ranked 117th in passing offense. Defensively, most thought the back seven would be a big problem. They were right. Missed tackles and blown coverage have been the defensive story for the 2013 season.
That '85-'86 Razorback basketball team didn't look like anything like Nolan's teams at Tulsa, and this Hog team is nothing like Coach Bielema's Wisconsin teams.
I'm a big believer in the saying that the key to winning is the Jimmy's and the Joe's not the X's and O's. Recruits like Ron Huery, Mario Credit, Todd Day, Lee Mayberry, Oliver Miller and Aryln Bowers helped spark the turnaround in the late 1980's. Let's hope the Bielema recruits on this team - Henry, Collins, Kirkland, Skipper and Marshall - will be remembered as the players who helped build the foundation for some special seasons under Coach B.
Bret Bielema, like Nolan in 1985-86, doesn't have the talent needed to win in his first season.
Coach B, like Nolan, was wrong.
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