Somewhere during the Hogs' blowout of Northwestern State on Saturday, my mom, Mrs. McHawg, called me. I didn't get the call because I was attending a Razorback Expats staff meeting at the Oyster Bar. The message she left was "If you don't like the Hogs in this game you aren't ever gonna like them."
I know it's not polite to disagree with one's momma, but I didn't much like the way the Hogs looked. And Stephen and KevinHog, over fried catfish and fried oysters and fried okra and fried onion rings and fried fries, were trying to be upbeat. Stephen thinks these Hogs will be "exciting." KevinHog, who did not appear to be smoking crack, opined that he thought the Hogs would split the Big 12 mini-tour of Oklahoma and Texas.
Harrumph. Me and Whit E. Knight spent the game grumbling. About what, you say? We beat them by forty! Our press had them handing us the ball! Courtney Fortson passes behind his back! Stephan Welsh scored 27!!
A little perspective, folks. So far, these Hogs have proven that they are contenders . . . in the Southland Conference. And here's what I saw Saturday:
-- Without Courtney Fortson in the game, we are inept. For the first time all year, one of Pelphrey's myriad "team rule" discipline moves nearly bit him in the ass. With Fortson on the bench we looked blindfolded and drugged. We turned it around when Courtney came in, but it shows how thin we are. Welsh, whew. What can I say? Ten minutes into the game it became a running joke between me and Whit as to whether Welsh would ever pass the ball. I don't think we ever saw him pass it on the break. Not once. Your 27 do not impress me, ball hog. Share the rock.
-- Pansies, weenies and girly-boys in the paint. Lordy, we're about to play Blake Griffin. Blake Freakin' Griffin. He's a monster. There may be no tougher player in the game this year. Okay, Tyler Hansbrough. Maybe. If Griffin looks at the film of the Northwestern State game, he will find it hard to suppress a chuckle. The Hogs were dominated in the paint. Destroyed. It seemed like we got our first ten shots blocked. By a bunch of skinny, undersized, Southland Conference dudes. I know I counted six times when we got stripped. Huh? You got to take the ball up strong. Blake Griffin would have dunked with three of those NW State guys hanging on his arms. We dropped the ball and flailed and cried for mommy. We were out-rebounded. In fairness, one of my co-workers pointed out that it looked like Michael Washington's back was hurting him. That is very bad news. Mr. Griffin does not care about your mortal weakness. He will probe your bloody wound, and smile politely. If Washington is less than full speed, Sanchez will not be able to play 20 minutes without fouling out. Moore and Clark are Nancy-boys, who had better grow up quick. I mean it, guys. The world is about to get very much rougher. Show weak, and you will be killed.
-- Our only defense is "matador." Ole! We are adept at stepping out of the way as guards blow by us. Nothing disgusts me more. Move. Your. Feet. This is nothing but work. No excuse for this. We are covering up our mistakes by Courtney being quick and harassing inferior guards into turnovers. But we are about to move to the big time, and the guards will be unlikely to be intimidated by our pressure. And playing gambling scrambling junk will be a recipe for a blowout. For the other team.
So, Hogs, better put on your big girl panties and step it up. This is OU coming to town, and they are not coming to roll over and take an appearance fee. You're going to have to rise to a new level; one you haven't yet hit, just to stay on the floor with these guys. And this is not going to help things.
Show me something.