Another week in a frustrating season tempered by distant hope, and yet again Casey Dick's play at quarterback gets the lede. This time, the numbers tell a different story. Granted, the Hogs were thoroughly manhandled by the Gamecocks' top shelf defense at all positions. That Dick was sacked six times can't be all his fault, despite his hair-tear-ingly, screamingly, jumping-up-and-down-ingly infuriating inability to get rid of the fricking ball already(!). However, his worst play still manages to shock me, even if I see the mind-boggling interceptions coming from miles away. This far into the season, failure to throw the ball away equals either incompetence or refusal to accept that a punt is better than a sack, and the Hogs simply can't win against a powerful defense with that kind of baggage.
If not for a case of mononucleosis, we'd likely be revolving quarterbacks with freshman Tyler Wilson — just like Spurrier's been doing with Smelley and Garcia — but even more likely Wilson would just be the starter. I generally disapprove of the tactic — as for some reason I can't quite explain, I tend to buy concepts like “rhythm” and “confidence” on offense — but with Dick's younger brother Nathan turning in a solid drive in the fourth quarter last week, we should consider playing tag team under center.
With Spurrier, revolving quarterbacks is less a tactic than simple spite. He wants a quarterback to know where he stands at all times — and where Smelley and Garcia often stand is outside the Head Ball Coach's bounds for patience. Petrino's proven himself above that kind of nonsense, and maybe I'm feeling pretty spiteful myself, but Dick's had enough time to learn. He might look good against a second-tier defense. Too bad we play in the SEC. It's time for a change, before we manage to drop both Mississippis. I've heard enough about senior leadership. Leaders reward forced turnovers with more than a three-and-out.
The Hog defense performed as well as can be expected when consistently pinned inside its own territory. Our promising cornerback recruits couldn't arrive fast enough, however, as there's no excuse for ever asking the struggling Isaac Madison to cover a talent like Kenny McKinley. At this point, Willy Robinson is almost definitely doing the best he can with what he's got, but Rashaad Johnson better still be running wind sprints for the weakest tackle attempt that I've seen all season on Jared Cook's 66-yard touchdown reception. Arkansas Razorback safeties never settle for nudging a player out-of-bounds.
I just counted to ten. Obviously, this stretch of the season's wearing on me. I can only imagine the weariness of the actual players right now. The Razorbacks haven't had a Saturday off since right before the Alabama game, eight weeks ago. The upcoming bye week should be a welcome breather. I hope we take some time to reassess. Players need to decide if they want to continue being starters by default or if they want to step up and perform. I don't think it's silly to believe we have a chance to win six. There's still two games left.