Triangulating Arkansas’ Next Head Coach

As the title suggests, this post is not confirmation or direct word, but it is based on circumstances which appear to lead to a solid conclusion.

I have seen enough to project that Tim Horton will be named as the interim coach at the University of Arkansas.

Here are the circumstances which lead to that conclusion:

1.  This possibility has been rumored for some time. It’s not a unique or outlandish idea.

2.  No one wants to, or believes that it would be beneficial to, take a team with the amount of experience that the Razorbacks have and impose a new system on it.  No one has a lack of faith in the Arkansas Razorbacks Coaching Staff and the vast majority believe that it would not be benefical to dismantle this staff.

The only person other than Bobby Petrino with head coaching experience in a Petrino-style system is John L. Smith, and he has not been on Arkansas’ radar to return after returning to his home state to take a job with conceivably fewer demands.  Garrick McGee has been out of consideration for a few days now for whatever reasons — too much change, already committed to UAB, wouldn’t want to leave UAB in a lurch, etc.   Paul Haynes hasn’t been here that long, and Taver Johnson has been here even less time.

Promoting Paul Petrino would be a viable option, and he’s probably ready to take that step, but really, what this staff needs is an administrator and coaching manpower from a position of authority. Paul Petrino needs to focus on the Offense.  Paul Haynes needs to work on the Defense.  Someone else needs to handle admin duties and make decisions regarding player/personnel differences between both sides of the ball. Someone with Arkansas connections and who already has a working relationship with everyone here needs to make those decisions.

3.    Steve Greenberg, who is on a staff that I have respected at since I began blogging there in December 2007, reported on April 18, 2012,

An announcement from Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long on the school’s football coaching search likely will come early next week, perhaps as soon as Monday, Sporting News has learned.

No official word from the school on Bobby Petrino’s replacement is expected on Saturday, when the Razorbacks will play their spring game in Fayetteville.

Arkansas coaching search: AD Jeff Long to make announcement early next week

Assume for a moment that Mr. Greenberg wouldn’t report this simply on a whim or with flimzy sources. If accurate, the statement has two potential implications. The first is that a decision has already been made, while the second indicates that Jeff Long is self-imposing an artifical deadline to have this decision made. The latter does not sound like Long and is contrary to everything that he’s stated publicly about there being no timeline to have an Arkansas Head Coach and that the coaching change comes at an odd time in the year.

[edit] Add from Steve Greenberg as this post is being published:

Steve Greenberg ‏ @SN_Greenberg
Spoke w/Taver Johnson. He confirms Jeff Long told coaches plans for 2012 will be laid out after Sat spring game (perhaps not til Mon).
12:18 PM – 19 Apr 12 via Twitter for iPhone

4. In the face of rumors about Jon Gruden, Phil Fulmer, and supposed interest from former pro coaches such as Steve Mariucci, Jeff Long tweeted yesterday,

Jeff Long @jefflongUA
Hog Fans, please remain calm and please do not believe rumors. But do come out to the the spring game and support our young men!! #gohogs
3:01 PM – 18 Apr 12 via TwitBird

Jeff Long has yet to have the appearance of any untruth when he has addressed the public directly. That said, it would be naive to fail to understand that he has a job and other people have reputations and other concerns which are best not aired. The combination of the control in his tone and a simple direct statement that we we not believe the rumors speaks loudly. He is not telling us, as he has, that the search is continuing or that he is working dilligently to find Arkansas’ next head coach. He’s telling us that he has things under contol.

Squelching rumors

Pete Carroll
Jeff Long ‏ @jefflongUA
Have seen and heard media reports re: P Carroll, while I respect him, I have not sought him out, spoken to or offered him a position. 11:50 AM – 20 Apr 12 via TwitBird iPad

5. Tim Horton has a long history with Arkansas from player to coach. He has been the rock of the staff from Houston Nutt through Coach Petrino’s era while holding together Arkansas connections for recruiting and other matters. He has all of the connections necessary to make an interim coaching position work. He fits the bill as the Coach who can bring in the overlay of the wider vision while working with the current staff.

6. It would be remiss to not acknowledge that Knile Davis voiced his support for Coach Horton.

We could probably add more.

This spot in the stands is not unique, and it’s not going out on a limb. In the past, this space wasn’t willing recently to give Coach Bobby Petrino a pass without assurances that he wasn’t willing to piss everything away. We suggested that it was time for Coach Robinson to be replaced one week before it happened (and took much criticism for it as well). We also said why we believed that Bobby Petrino would not leave Arkansas in the face of the University of Florida on the hunt for a head coach, and there are others along these lines.

None of it means that this correct, but it would be great if it is. — Sharp

P.S. — I’d appreciate you all passing along the name of my sponsor if you know of anyone who needs legal services.

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SharpTusk is a featured blogger on Hog Database. He won "2009 Blog Of The Year" as voted by members of and has posts referenced by local and national sports writers. Sharp began writing about Arkansas Razorbacks Football during the coaching change in 2007 and hasn't stopped. He has an eye for interesting stats, and an occasional penchant for creative writing. He's sure to keep you coming back for more.

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