You thought Arkansas’ season had spiraled out of control with an upset loss at the hands of Louisiana-Monroe and a woodshedding by Alabama in back-to-back weeks?
Tyler Wilson has has trumped that on-field ineptitude with an off-field outburst that will likely reverberate for weeks to come.
The starting quarterback missed Saturday’s game against the Tide after suffering a head injury in the ULM loss, and watched from the sidelines as his teammates were embarrassed 52-0 in Fayetteville. Shortly before the end of the game, according to the Arkansas Democrat Gazette, Wilson told UA’s “media relations guys… he needed to deliver a message” following the final gun.
That message came as Wilson marched into a press conference, called his teammates quitters — the exact quote: “Do I feel we gave up? Absolutely.” – and then marched right back out. Message delivered in a very public forum.
Perhaps in response to the flurry of tweets regarding Wilson’s post-game comments, UA sent out a release that contained the QB’s entire statement — and it doesn’t really soften the verbal blow:
“I’ll start with the football game. First of all, it wasn’t very pretty to watch. It wasn’t pretty to sit on the sideline and watch as a player, it sucks I can’t do anything about it. Do I feel that we, at times, gave up out there? Absolutely. As a leader it sucks to see people not do their jobs and to see things go wrong, there has been a lot of things go that way. As a leader, at this point you have to look forward. There has been a lot of people jump off of the bandwagon and it is my job to keep everyone in this organization and this team in that locker room together. I am going to make sure of it going forward. We’ve got a big game against Rutgers next week. I am going to do everything in my power to be a part of it and be the starting quarterback when we run out onto the field. And most importantly, get a win. You have to start with one before you can get the rest of them. I give you my word, I am going to do the best I can to make that happen.”
Chris Bahn of Arkansas360.com later tweeted that the senior told “UA’s in-house TV crew his message to teammates is: ‘If you’re not in the boat, get the heck out.’”
(Writer’s note: yes, I’m quite aware of the fact that it’d be hard to get out of a boat you’re not actually in, even if said boat belonged to Yogi Berra. You get Wilson’s point, though.)
How this very public tongue-lashing by a senior leader will play in the Razorbacks’ locker room in the coming days and weeks is an unknown. Will it become Wilson’s Tim Tebow moment, or will it create a rift that’s too great to overcome over the next nine games?
Who knows, but it’s becoming abundantly clear that the clock is fast ticking toward midnight and the end of John L. Smith‘s brief tenure as the Hogs’ head coach.