It's one of my favorite sayings when it comes to college sports: "A year older doesn't necessarily mean a year better."
If Chad Morris is going to prove the Hogs' critics wrong, he's going to have to do it with a lineup consisting mainly of Bret Bielema recruits. We have to hope that a year older is a year better when it comes to the returning Hogs.
History says that can happen. Just look at those 1997 Hogs, who were led by Clint Stoerner, Anthony Lucas and Anthony Eubanks. They finished 4-7 and cost Danny Ford his job.
A year later, Stoerner and Lucas helped engineer a memorable run. It was "Nuttin' but fun" as the Hogs started the season with eight straight wins and finished with nine. They were a consensus top 20 team.
One big difference between 2018 and 1998: Chad Morris is still searching for play-makers. What did former Hogs coach Joe Kines like to say? "It's not about the x's and o's, it's all about the Jimmies and Joes?"
That 1998 team had future NFL players on both sides of the ball.
Who's going to step up this season? Sosa Agim is at the top of my list. Many were hoping that he would be a difference maker as a freshman. He's now a junior and could be poised to have a big season.
Two seniors who had their 2017 season cut short by injury, Ryan Pulley and Jared Cornelius, appear to be healthy and eager to prove that they are the play-makers that the coaching staff is hoping to see develop.
Randy Ramsey has been hit with the "P" word the last two seasons: potential. Coach Morris, like Coach Bielema, believes Ramsey has big play potential. He needs to realize that potential this season.
Devwah Whaley showed great promise as a freshman. He was not a year better as a sophomore. He's another one on my "could make a big jump" list.
Dre Greenlaw made everyone's all freshman team. Dre is now a senior. No player on this team has made more starts (30) than this linebacker. I would not be surprised if this is his best season.
There are several other players who have shown flashes on both sides of the ball.
Back in 1998, Houston Nutt got most of the credit for the turnaround. He brought an energy that was lacking in the program.
This year, you could say the same thing about Chad Morris.
Listen closely, and you will hear Morris use some Nuttisms. He, like Nutt, uses the word "special" a lot. I watched a Chad Morris clip the other day and it sounded a lot like HDN's "there's only one Razorback" speech.
I will revisit this subject in December. We will see then which of these 2018 Hogs were a year better.