Jacksonville State Coach Jack Crowe couldn’t help but laugh when asked about his scouting report on 10th-ranked Arkansas, his season-opening foe Saturday night at Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville.
Jack Crowe had a 9-15 record in two-plus seasons as Arkansas' head coach. He resigned one game into the 1992 season after a 10-3 loss at home to The Citadel.
“I think they’re the best offensive football team in America,” Crowe, the former head coach of the Hogs, said Tuesday during a conference call with reporters. “And I think the quarterback there (senior Tyler Wilson) is better than the guy out at Southern Cal (senior Matt Barkley) cause I think he’s a better overall athlete.”
Crowe is returning to coach a game in Fayetteville for the first time since 1992. His well-documented last game at Razorback Stadium was a season-opening loss to The Citadel, and he resigned under pressure the following day.
Through the conference call moderator, Crowe declined to answer questions about that loss Tuesday, which was understandable considering it had the potential to dominate the conference call.
But when making comparisons between that game and Jacksonville State’s 49–48, double overtime win over Ole Miss in 2010, he seemed to go out of his way to avoid mentioning the words “The Citadel.”
Obviously, there’s some personal history that has been revisited – and will continue to be revisited by the media – leading up to Saturday’s game.
What emotions will Crowe feel in Fayetteville on Saturday?
“As long as I don’t see Tim Horton, Quinn Grovey, the only emotion I’m gonna feel is gonna be when they play that (Razorbacks) fight song,” Crowe said, referring to two former players he coached at Arkansas, including current Hogs running backs coach and recruiting coordinator Horton. “Cause I think that’s the only thing that hasn’t changed tremendously since I’ve been there. I don’t think I’m going back to the Arkansas I left, and that’s really a compliment.
“Other than that, I’m the head coach at Jacksonville State, and we’re going to a place that will greatly challenge us. I do know the words to the fight song. I promise you, when they play it, I’ll be having the words in my head. I just hope they don’t play it that much.”
Crowe indicated he initiated conversations about Arkansas playing Jacksonville State by calling then-Razorbacks head coach Bobby Petrino.
And Crowe referenced Petrino again when talking about the Hogs’ offense.
“I know they lost three wide receivers, but I know Bobby Petrino was out there with a plan to replace ’em, so they’re going to have some,” Crowe said.
“I’ve been a lot of places, different schools. There’s something unique about every school. And (Jacksonville State senior running back) Washaun Ealey said it yesterday -- cause Washaun was at Georgia and played Arkansas – Arkansas players, they play different. That school and that program brings something out. And they get it all out of every one of those players. What I think about them is they play with great heart and they’ve got great talent. I don’t think anybody in the Western division of the SEC has got any better chance than they’ve got of winning it, to be honest with you.”