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Opinion: Lack of interest around Arkansas football actually good for team

Sam Pittman seemed shocked sometimes last year during Arkansas’ 4-8 season at the sorts of ways he and his players were treated by so-called fans of the program. By the time that year was done, he had lost several players from the roster, hired a new offensive coordinator many believe is preparing to vulture the head gig and learned patience and sanity are not chief characteristics of Razorbacks’ faithful.

Especially in the monied corners.

Of course they have only tacit acknowledgement the game isn’t the same as it was when they inherited their millions 30, 40 years ago. It’s not even the same game as it was 10 years ago. Look at how many lament targeting ejections, the NIL, the transfer portal and the death of the hip drop tackle.

That’s beside the point for now, though. Little fanfare emanates from the Smith Football Center and its surrounding buildings this spring. In fairness, it’s yet another the way the game has changed: 10 years ago, schools were clamoring to pack the houses for spring games before eventually the fans wisened and stopped showing up in record numbers upon realization they were glorified scrimmages tasting of vanilla.

Frankly, the lack of a spotlight is a good thing for Pittman, Bobby Petrino and a football program that could use some time alone to get its act together. The Hogs have to find a quarterback to replace a school legend, a running back to replace the second best the team has had in the last 20 years, a competent offensive line, some linebackers, depth in the secondary, a new kicker and, oh, nevermind, you get it.

Little time remains for the football Razorbacks to stay out of the public’s consciousness. Arkansas baseball being ranked as the No. 1 team in the nation helps tremendously, as does that changing of how spring is handled from a public-relations standpoint. But the Hogs also run the risk of staying nationally irrelevant by avoiding limelight.

The whole thing is a Catch-22. A fan base that badly wants to be in the national conversation (or, at least, not a national joke) but a team that needs to avoid putting itself out there in order to powder its nose and cover its flaws.

As Arkansas enters its sixth, seventh and eighth practices of the spring, the clock is ticking.

Story originally appeared on Razorbacks Wire