Coming off an exhilarating 21-14 win at No. 16 Mississippi State, the Hogs are starting to get national attention. While Arkansas hasn’t yet cracked the Associated Press’ Top 25, they did get 11 points in the poll released Sunday. As HawgBeat.com’s Andrew Hutchinson has reported, @BKubena (LSU beat writer for The Advocate) has the Hogs at No. 25, while @MichaelJLev (Arizona beat writer for the Arizona Daily Star) has Arkansas at No. 16.
This is the first time the Razorbacks have received votes since Week 13 of 2016. (Though they did receive votes in the coaches poll in 2017.)
SEC teams in the current Top 25
13. Auburn (Arkansas’ next opponent)
21. Texas A&M
But from a purely emotional standpoint, the Arkansas football program was feeling this high just as recently as last September, when it started the season at 2-1 after a rousing home win against a Colorado State team that had gutted it the season before.
After that 55-33 win win, former Chad Morris unveiled “Club Dub,” which was simply the Arkansas locker room remade to look like a dance club after victories. In it, surrounded by players, Morris unleashed something that looked like a cross between a Red Bull-fueled seizure and actual dancing.
Here is the incriminating evidence:
Turned out, that was the last demonstration of “Club Dub” that Morris would ever horrify Arkansas fans with. The next week, Morris parlayed all that momentum into the ditch when the Hogs came out flat against San Jose State. He proceeded to lead Arkansas to arguably the worst loss in program history.
The rest is shameful history.
Fast forward more than a year, and the Hog players are feeling on top of the world again. Beating Mississippi State (the program’s first win over a ranked team since 2016) on the road is a bigger deal than beating Colorado State at home, but there were still some echoes from last year in the locker room afterward.
Sam Pittman, like Morris, took a turn dancing with the team after telling them to “turn that damn jukebox on”:
“Turn that damn jukebox on.” pic.twitter.com/PwCcuBNEiR— Arkansas Razorback Football (@RazorbackFB) October 4, 2020
Yes, Pittman likes to celebrate and enjoy good times with his players — but he’s far from Morris-like when it comes to these things.
In fact, whereas Morris acted like his team had just won the national title by beating Colorado State, Pittman was understated after his brief locker room get-down. He acted like this was the type of win Arkansas is supposed to achieve, because it is. From the 1960s until Bobby Petrino’s wreck in spring 2012, the Razorbacks were one of the nation’s most successful programs.
When the Hogs were winning SWC championships, and even SEC West titles, the idea of Club Dubbing after a home win over a non-conference team would have been laughable.
After Mississippi State, linebacker Bumper Pool made that point loud and clear: “The Club Dub celebration is never acceptable,” said Pool, who finished with 20 tackles.
“The work that we put in this — this one’s a lot different. It’s not a surprise. We didn’t beat an out of conference school, we beat an SEC school. We felt like we earned it because of the work we put in. We were four days a week grinding it out. And I think we’re going to keep that mentality.”
“Pitmman will never let us get too high. I mean, he’ll crack it down quick. That’s his leadership style. We’ve got, what, 12 more hours [of celebration]. And then it’s time to go back to work because that’s who we are. And without that mentality, you’re not going to ever win games in the SEC.”
The story of the game — and the Hogs’ season so far — is the team’s revelation of a defense. All three units, from the defensive line to the secondary, are playing well.
But the most surprising is the linebacker corps.
Much of the credit here goes to Pool, Hayden Henry and Grant Morgan. While Pool was expected to have a big year, few anticipated that his teammates would play so well. Here’s what Pool had to say about Morgan, who finished with 15 tackles:
“Grant’s a warrior. He’s very tough. And today it showed it. I mean, he had a tough little tough injury, but he said ‘Screw it, I’m going to get tougher. I’m gonna get out there and make plays.’ Getting to play with Grant is so great because we feed off each other and we basically can talk without having to say words — and we can fly around and hawk the ball, know where each other is going to be.”
For the first interview Sam Pittman gave after the historic win, even before his press conference, click here:
The below, which has historical value only so far as future Arkansas coaches learn from it and vow never to repeat this again in any iteration or form, originally published on Sept. 18, 2019:
Chad Morris, Nick Starkel Legit Get Down In Hogs’ “Club Dub”
Much has been made of the Razorback football team’s VIP-only “Club Dub,” a swank dance lounge that caters only to winners — of the Hog variety.
Chad Morris made waves after Arkansas’ against Colorado State by busting more dance floor moves than should be legal for a 50-year-old man.
“Hopefully, my dance moves will continue to improve. It’s fun to get to go in there and see those guys excited, see our staff excited and they need to see me excited, too” Morris said after the game. “I want to continue to have a lot of fun in ‘Club Dub.'”
The club is heckuva recruiting tool, too.
Today, the SEC Network released video of an interview with quarterback Nick Starkel and tight end Cheyenne O’Grady that lays out how, exactly, the whole thing goes down in the Razorback football players’ locker room after wins.
“First thing you see when you walk around the corner is one of our assistants and he is fully dressed in a suit opened up at the top, sunglasses on and he’s got a list,” quarterback Nick Starkel says. “Your name has to be on the list to get in ‘Club Dub.’”
“I don’t know if Coach Morris is DJ’ing, but Coach Morris is having one heck of a time.”
To which O’Grady interjected: “Coach Morris is participating in ‘Club Dub,’ I’ll say that much.”
If you get in, you get a face full of confetti, music blasting everywhere, and lights strobing everywhere — a Razorback-ified version of “Night at the Roxbury,” except much less head bobbing and many more legit moves being busted.
Catch all of the O’Grady and Starkel’s interview, with exclusive footage in the heart of “Club Dub,” below.
Hog fans want to believe that this awesome idea is all theirs, that it needs to be all theirs. That’s the advantage of not winning a lot of games recently, right? You can go crazy and create new traditions like this.
Problem is, it looks like the program has some competition for who actually started the “Club Dub” movement. Check out the evidence below in this video from the Chicago Bears:
Who started it first… Hogs or Bears ???? As for other College teams .. as Coach Muss said ” No Copycats !!!! https://t.co/hpAUMCJM50— Steve Sullivan (@sully7777) September 18, 2019
Well, even if the Bears are the disco ball groundbreakers here, at least the Hogs were the first to bring it to the college scene.
Why Chad Morris may be the greatest dancing Hog coach of all time
Finally, the Hogs played up to expectations.
For years, it seems, the program’s downfall has been the second half and specifically the fourth quarter. It was that way in the last Bret Bielema years, and reared its ugly head in a depressing road loss against Colorado State last year.
This year, though, Arkansas owned the fourth in its rematch with Colorado State on Saturday in Fayetteville. Starting the quarter in a 34-34 stalemate, the Hogs fired off 21 unanswered points for their most impressive offensive showing of the season so far.
Reeling from a Week 2 loss to Ole Miss on the road, the Razorbacks (2-1) needed this win in the worst way. That urgency was obvious in the voice and filthy dance moves of a sweat-soaked Chad Morris after the game.
I LOVE you.— Arkansas Razorback Football (@RazorbackFB) September 15, 2019
I LOVE your response.
I LOVE who you are. pic.twitter.com/o9iOOvefr0
“You had to win it in the fourth,” he said to the Razorbacks in a locker room speech after the 55-34 win. “Mental and physical toughness had to prevail in the fourth quarter. It all went back to our culture and what we stand for.”
“We started winning this game last Saturday when we stepped off that field [at Ole Miss]. And it did nothing but confirm the great response each and every one of y’all had all week long. We asked you to do just one thing — just play hard. And everybody sold out.
This was a huge win for this program, make no mistake about it. Momentum is wearing an Arkansas jersey. Now listen to me, let’s take it one play at a time, let’s enjoy this one — we’re gonna celebrate. Let’s make great decisions tonight, we want you back in here tomorrow.
Let’s get ready to get another one next week, right here at our place. All we needed was one. We just got that, man. You had to win it in the fourth.
I’m so proud of you. I love you. I love your response. I love who you are, because you never blinked and you never flinched all week.
When everybody else was saying you can’t do it, you said ‘Yeah, we can.’ And we’re a lot stronger. We’re a stronger football team because of the culture.
I’m really proud of you, we got to keep making plays, we got to keep this training rolling. You got me?
Here we go, baby. On three, and let’s turn that music up….”
And, goodnight, did they ever:
? Welcome to CLUB DUB ? pic.twitter.com/4LzwtojhqY— Arkansas Razorback Football (@RazorbackFB) September 15, 2019
Relive the game in its glory here:
And check out more of the heart-pounding win, including what will likely go down as the Razorbacks’ play of the year, here: