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When Winning, Nitpicking Playcalling an Exercise in Futility

Arkansas is guaranteed a bowl bid somewhere with three games left and questioning playcalling is a waste of time

Playcalling is the most over-rated thing in football.

Execution of the plays called is the most under-rated.

And if you don't know who called the play, go sit over at the kids' table and let the adults talk for a bit.

With spread offenses, the quarterback has to make decisions on what to do most of the times after the bowl is snapped. The offensive coordinator or head coach is sitting there waiting like everybody else.

One of the time-honored traditions of Arkansas football is criticism that falls into a certain order:

1. Head coach followed closely by the coordinator.

2. Quarterback who apparently has always had a backup a vocal group thinks should be playing (usually silenced when he actually plays).

3. Athletic director (that is a mystery for over 60 years that has yet to be resolved).

With the Hogs' Lunatic Fringe it's always about what went wrong, even if it ended up being right. That's when the lucky phrase gets used.

Last week against Mississippi State is a perfect example.

On a fourth-and-1, Hogs quarterback KJ Jefferson rolled to his right looking for Treylon Burks, who got tangled up with a Bulldogs' defensive back and fell down.

Jefferson threw the ball into the ground, more or less in the direction where Burks was laying down.

There's a little more to the story because apparently Sam Pittman wasn't expecting it, either.

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"I was on the headset telling Briles 'get the first down ... GET THE FIRST DOWN,'" Pittman said after the 31-28 win over State. "Obviously he'd shut me off by that time because he's rolling out."

Pittman was urgently wanting a first down because the Hogs were trailing and time was running out in a hurry. They had to have a touchdown.

"He knows that means run the ball," Pittman said, "and he must've ..."

Pittman was smiling the entire time. That's because it worked out with a huge officials' call.

"I didn't know if it was on them or us," he said. "But I sure was hoping and somebody upstairs said they got a holding call. I figured at that point we had a pretty good chance to score."

They did. It worked out for the Hogs and brought to mind a story former Alabama offensive coordinator Mal Moore ignored Bear Bryant's instructions as long as he could about running a reverse.

"Run the reverse," Bryant told Moore, who said he knew when he was out of options on a playcall. "This big old end from Houston was give-out and we ran the reverse into him and they ended up on the ground at (Bryant and Moore's) feet."

Then Bryant did what coaches have done for a century or so.

"I meant the other way," he told Moore.

After the play is over we all know if it was a good call or not. It's impossible to measure almost because almost doesn't matter.

All that DOES matter is winning, which the Hogs did against the Bulldogs on Saturday.

Just enjoy the ride to whatever bowl game Arkansas lands in.

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