If there was ever a team that needed an open week, it’s this one. The mental and physical toll of eight consecutive weeks of football is showing. The reality of the toughest stretch of games in Razorback history is apparent, and this team needs a few days to regroup. The truth is, the Razorback Nation probably does too.
Losing stinks. There’s no way around it. The long, slow process of picking up the pieces others left behind can be brutal. It’s easy to have faith when your team is winning, but we all know the real test comes when they’re not. As much as Razorback fans are hurting, I can promise you the players and coaches feel it in a way the rest of us can only imagine. They put in the work every day. When most of us are driving home listening to the talk shows, they’re out there on the field knocking each other around trying to get better. When we watch television at night in our favorite easy chair, the coaches are in the office dissecting film, trying to find a way to win a game. All are intense competitors who hate to lose.
The answer lies, as always, on the recruiting trail. The fact is Arkansas is outmanned at a lot of spots, and the only way to remedy that is to go get better players. That’s what makes this week so important for the immediate future of Razorback football. It’s a time for the coaches to get out on the road and recruit like mad men. There’s not a high school or junior college player these guys can’t look straight in the eye and say, "We need you now!" As the old saying goes, "You’re not gonna beat ’em on the field ’til you beat ’em in the living room". Recruiting is the life blood.
Having said that, this season isn’t shot. Those who suggest that are dead wrong. Four games remain, and all are winnable. This team won’t quit. Guys like Kiero Small and Travis Swanson and Chris Smith won’t allow it. They’ve persevered through too much to let go of the rope now. And two open weeks will allow the young players, the future, time to get a head start on spring practice.
It’s time to restock the cupboard. There’s a lot of shopping to be done this week.