Ask Mike: Devo’s Return, Brazile’s Absence & Can the Rumor-Mongers Be Sued?

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Q. Our first question is from Steve Hawthorn who wants to know: What was the impact of Devo Davis returning to the basketball team? They won but it didn’t seem like he had that much to do with it.

A. It’s all in how you look at it. He’d missed several games. I thought it was good that he didn’t press and try to be a big hero but instead, played within himself. He hit one big three, had two steals and four rebounds. Devo missed a free throw that was critical with :23 left but made the second one to give Arkansas a three point lead. Earlier, with :54 left, hit Makhi Mitchell with a nice pass to set up a two point lead.

Muss liked the way Devo played. The players all complimented him for is leadership both in the game and in practices before the game. Certainly he contributed to the win.

Q. Charlie Carroll asks: The win over Georgia was nice but do you think they have turned some sort of a corner? I will admit that since the Kentucky game they have played better. But they are 2-2 in those games. Playing .500 won’t get them into the post season.

A. If they go 4-4 from here on out I think they’ll make the NIT with a 15-14 record. If they go 7-1, finish 10-8 in the SEC and win an SEC tournament game they’d probably get into the NCAA tournament with a 20-13 record. They need to win 20 games, I think, and be two games above .500 in the SEC. That’s seems unlikely.

Q. Armon Abbe says: In spite of all the critics I still had fun watching Arkansas beat Georgia. The ‘Dogs are a good team at times and they played their butts off. I thought they had Arkansas when they took the lead with two to play. Kudos to Muss and his players. They stepped up big time. I loved the three point defense.

A. There were maybe 15,000 fans at Bud Walton for a lower level SEC team. That shows me that most Hog fans still want to watch this team play. Much of the Internet crowd is without tickets. They’re not invested in the program financially so they let go of the rope a lot sooner. If you can’t enjoy a win you probably have totally given up and are angry with a lot of things including football.

Q. Pigsfeat asks: Any insight into whether Trevon Brazile will play again this year? I’m not sure he has been playing healthy for quite some time. When healthy he can be a difference maker!

A. His injury has never been fully explained. It’s logical to assume that it might be swelling in his repaired knee from surgery in December of 2022.
There no question that he was playing better at the start of the season but there were always inconsistencies. 14 points and 17 boards against Stanford in the Bahamas Tournament. No points and two rebounds against North Carolina in that tournament. Nineteen points, 11 rebounds vs. Duke. Back to no points and one board against Oklahoma. Over the next eight games Brazile didn’t have a single double double and averaged under 10 points a game. His last game was South Carolina where he managed just three points and six rebounds. He’s now missed four games with no indication as to when or if he’s coming back.

Q. Hawgredneck says: It seems like to me when the Internet crazies create made up stories about the personal lives of players they should be sued. I’d love to see some of these clowns taken to court.

A. It would be tough to sue and win based an Internet post. There’s a reason why that doesn’t happen. If lawyers think they can make money they’ll come to you. But you’re right. It would be funny to see it happen. I wouldn’t hold my breath though.

Q. Lem Bruster asks: How did Greenlaw end up with a serious injury from just running onto the field? That’s crazy. Are pro athletes really that fragile? I think it cost the ‘Niners the Super Bowl.

A. I’ve said this many times: Injuries have very little to do with the kind of condition you’re in physically. A lot of sports injuries happen to ligaments and tendons. We not talking about muscles that can be strengthen with weight training. A tendon or ligament can be torn or snapped simply by being overstretched.
It looked like to me that Greenlaw was too hyped up waiting to get back on the field and when he finally took off he stretched his leg too far and put too much pressure on the Achilles tendon.

Q. WVHogfan wants to know: Please explain the substitute runner rule used in softball. In baseball a player cannot return to a game once he is removed.

A. In women’s softball each team is allowed one courtesy runner per game. Doesn’t matter who the hitter is. Why doesn’t college baseball have this rule? Probably tradition. The same reason that in softball each team is allowed to start extra innings with a runner at second whereas in baseball they don’t make any consideration for extra innings.

Q. mousetown says: Like last year our softball team started the season highly ranked. I was a little disappointed in the lack off offense in the Florida tournament. Courtney (Mimms) says I’m mean. So am I getting ahead of myself with the softball team?

A. Courtney definitely thinks you are mean. Yes, it it too early to come to any long term conclusions about the softball team’s hitting. I get where you are coming from. They had some opportunities to win the Penn State game and came up short at the plate. Yes, the pitching has been good. But they are also batting over .300 as a team. Hannah Camenzind is batting .250 and Hannah Gammill is at .143 so the two Hanna’s need to step it up.

Q. Eddy Lynn wants to know: Does Arkansas have a serious NIL problem? I’ve read on the Internet where Missouri and Ole Miss are passing us because they have way more NIL money. I thought we had money in Arkansas. Are our boosters cheapskates?

A. That is really tough to answer. I’ve been checking into this a lot over the past couple of months. There doesn’t see to be a dominant set of opinions.

Some say Arkansas was late in understanding just how important NIL money is, so the athletic department is scrambling to catch up.

Others say they’re going about it the wrong way.

Still others think boosters are reluctant to put a lot of NIL money into the football program until there is a change at the top.

Some think that boosters might be holding off on NIL contributions believing that the people who run college football are going to come up with a solution to all of this that will cut down on the outright buying of players.

Some say Arkansas’ NIL contributions are competitive with other SEC schools.

Take your pick on any of that.

Q. RazorAlex88 says: I might just forgo getting tickets to any football games this season. Last season’s home games left a bad taste in my mouth. It’s hard to keep people engaged when the product on the field is… horrifying……

The Gameday atmosphere was just severely lackluster. Alabama has light shows and Ole Miss has drone shows. OLE MISS! What do we have other than Running through the A? I’m drawing up blanks.

A. Most fans who are mad about the team losing too many games aren’t worried about the game atmosphere. They just want the team to win more games. Gimmicks like laser shows are not going to make them happy. Fans have been complaining about the game time atmosphere at DWRRS for a long time but they complain a lot more about losing.

Q. Hogdogger says: Of all the games played during coach Pittman’s era I think the best game where both offense and defense played to potential was playing the Longhorns in Fayetteville. Would you agree or do you have another game you would choose?

A. You are dead on. That, to me, was the best game of the Pittman years so far. It wasn’t just that Arkansas won, it was the domination of Texas that had the crowd running all over the field after the game.

Q. Marty Byrd’s proxy asks: In your time here covering the Hogs can you name someone behind the scenes who has had a positive impact on the programs and more importantly the student athletes?

A. Two athletic trainers, both retired, had a huge impact on the players. Dean Weber, the long time head trainer for the football team going back to the Broyles days and Dave England who was the basketball trainer under multiple coaches including Nolan. Any time players came back for one of those reunions the first guys they’d look up were Dean Weber or Dave England. They took care of those players. Kept them on the field or the court.

Q. sglies says: I read on X where you and Alyssa got to visit with Nolan last week. What was the occasion? Any stories from the visit?

A. We are planning a series of stories in April on the 30th anniversary of the ’94 national championship in Charlotte. Alyssa Orange and I went out to the Richardson ranch to do a long sit down interview with him. Yes, it’s always fun to visit with Nolan. Once of the things he revealed to us is that while everybody talks about Scotty Thurmon’s three-point shot that won the game, almost nobody remembers that the shot was set up by a great assist from Dwight Stewart.
His point was, all during that season and especially in those six NCAA tournament games, different players stepped up in critical situations. That’s how you win a national championship, by having a total team effort game after game.

Q. TL Slaten says: What does Taylor Swift see in Travis Kelce? She’s the most famous singer in the world and that dude can’t carry a tune in a bucket. He tried to sing after the game and about broke the speaker on my TV. She needs to dump him & Hook up with a QB.

A. I heard that. He sounded like a bull moose that got shot in the butt with rock salt. It was hard to listen to. But he’s a football player, not a singer just like Taylor Swift is a singer and not football player.

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