If you missed the first virtual One Razorback Roadshow last Thursday on the Arkansas Razorbacks Facebook and Twitter pages, you missed an inside look into the Razorback baseball, women’s cross country and track and field and women’s tennis programs with their coaches Dave Van Horn, Lance Harter, and Courtney Steinbock.
It was a fun and uplifting event for Hog fans who have been dearly missing getting to watch their Razorbacks compete since the coronavirus shut down the sports landscape in mid March.
If you can’t watch the Razorbacks’ play, the next best thing is to hear from the coaches and some of the their athletes during this time when we’re still in the midst of social distancing.
The second of five such events is on tap for 6 p.m. tonight (May 19), again on Facebook and Twitter. Razorback men’s basketball coach Eric Musselman, Razorback men’s golf coach Brad McMakin, and Razorback softball coach Courtney Deifel will be the featured coaches. We’ll just have to wait and see which athletes are involved.
This Thursday night at 6 p.m., new Arkansas head football coach Sam Pittman, women’s golf coach Shauna Taylor, and men’s cross country and track coach Chris Bucknam will appear.
On May 26, Arkansas gymnastics coach Jordyn Wieber, soccer coach Colby Hale, and men’s tennis coach Andy Jackson are scheduled also at 6 p.m., and on May 28, Arkansas women’s basketball coach Mike Neighbors, swimming and diving coach Neil Harper, and volleyball coach Jason Watson will take center stage.
The virtual tour takes the place of the usual spring and summer Razorback Club functions, which are off the table this year because of the virus.
As a fan, it’s nice to have an athletic director like Hunter Yurachek who understands the need to have his coaches mingle with fans, even if it is in a virtual environment, and its good to have a group of coaches who are ready and willing to visit and interact with fans.
Pittman Coaching Clinic Presentation
Like most first-year coaches who’ve yet to coach a game, Arkansas football coach Sam Pittman holds a favorable spot in most the minds of most Razorback fans.
Many knew him from his three-year stint as the Razorbacks’ offensive line coach during the Bret Bielema era, when Pittman was respected and adored by his players and the media alike for his straight-forward but congenial manner.
Pittman’s as genuine as the day is long, and many Hog fans appreciate the humble and thankful way he accepted his first major-college head coaching job after building one of the most respected assistant coaching reputations in the world of college football.
However, a few have questioned Pittman’s good ol’ boy, ah-shucks demeanor since he became the Razorbacks’ head coach. Sure, he’s likable some say, but is he tough enough and knowledgeable enough to be a head coach?
To me such questions are unfounded. You don’t build a reputation like Pittman’s and not be the real deal. Not to say that he won’t have a learning curve as a head coach. He will, but the man is more than capable.
It’s pretty easy to trace the decline in toughness and heart of the Razorbacks under Bielema to Pittman’s departure to take on the offensive line coaching duties at Georgia. Hopefully we’ll we see the return of that toughness and heart on the field this fall. That would make all Hog fans feel much better.
However, if you need a bit more proof of Pittman’s knowledge level and command of a room, take a look at the Youtube video featuring Pittman lecturing at an offensive line coaches clinic that’s posted above.
It shows his knowledge and his ability to command the attention of his cohorts, and teach willing learners.
I enjoyed watching the video and seeing his teaching style. The offense that Pittman worked in at Georgia will be different than the one Razorback offensive coordinator Kendal Briles’ will run here at Arkansas, but seeing Pittman explain the reasoning and rational behind aspects of Georgia’s running game only gave me more confidence that given time, the Razorbacks will be much improved by the coaching of Pittman and his staff.
The Last Dance Sequel?
Like many of you, I have been enthralled by the “The Last Dance,” the ESPN “30 for 30” documentary that’s taken us behind the scenes of the 1990s’ Chicago Bulls NBA dynasty through the perspective of Michael Jordan, arguably the greatest basketball player to lace up a pair of sneakers with or without his name on them.
I really can’t offer you any more insight than what you have already gleaned from watching the incredibly well crafted documentary, which I predict will bring home an Emmy this year.
However, I do have an idea for a sequel, but it wouldn’t be another documentary. No, it would be an action/revenge movie. You know, the kind that Quentin Tarantino makes where he might take a little bit of truth, mix it with a good pit of fiction and give it a stir.
If you don’t know what I’m talking about, then your homework is to watch “Inglourious Basterds” and “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” sometime this month.
The plot for the movie would grow out of the “tainted pizza” story depicted in the documentary the night before Game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals, which had previously been known as the “Flu Game.”
Whether it was the flu, a tainted pizza, too much alcohol and cigars, or a little bit of all of it, Jordan battled through illness to lead the Bulls to a 90-88 victory over the Utah Jazz, while scoring 38 points, grabbing 7 rebounds, dishing 5 assists, making 3 steals and blocking a shot.
Too bad we don’t all function so well when we seem deathly ill.
The movie would be set during the summer following the game when the revenge-minded Jordan fashions together a squad of five to track down and punish the Mystery 5 Pizza Delivery Guys and whomever came up with the plan to poison MJ’s pizza.
His clandestine crew would include Space Jam co-star Bill Murray, Nike commercial co-star Mars Blackmon (Spike Lee), NFL great and “Dirty Dozen” star Jim Brown, Dream Team co-star Charles Barkley, and for good measure Samuel L. Jackson.
I mean, wasn’t there a law that either Jackson or Michael Cain had to star in every movie in the 1990s?
I’m not sure who would play the Mystery 5, but no doubt, former Detroit Piston great and NBA Hall of Famer Isaiah Thomas would end up being the mastermind behind the tainted pizza.
It would be the perfect story for Tarantino to detail in what is supposed to be his 10th and final film!
Yeah, I guess, I better keep my day job.