Arkansas hired Hunter Yurachek as its next AD on Monday, and on Tuesday it appears the Hogs have their new head coach. According to a report from Trey Biddy of Arkansas’s Rivals site, Arkansas will land SMU’s Chad Morris as its next head coach.
That report was followed by one from Pete Thamel of Yahoo!:
As if that’s not enough FootballScoop reported that Morris will target former Clemson colleague Brent Venables to serve as his defensive coordinator. (Full disclosure: I also work for FootballScoop.)
Morris went 14-22 in three seasons at SMU, though that record is deceiving. He inherited a bottom-5 program in FBS and took the Ponies from 2-10 in his debut to 5-7 a year ago to 7-5 with a bid in the new Frisco Bowl this season. Prior to SMU, Morris had an ultra-successful run as Clemson’s offensive coordinator. Before that, Morris spent a year as Tulsa’s offensive coordinator and had a 15-year run as a Texas high school coach.
Morris will step into an exceptionally difficult situation at Arkansas. Not only will he have to re-trench the roster from the ground-and-pound scheme of Bret Bielema, he’ll have to do so in an SEC West that’s as competitive as ever. Alabama is Alabama, Auburn is running at peak efficiency under Gus Malzahn, Jimbo Fisher is on the scene at Texas A&M, Ed Orgeron is a recruiting dynamo at LSU, and Mississippi State seemingly hired well in landing Joe Moorhead.
Arkansas went 4-8 this season and just 1-7 in the SEC. The Hogs have reached the 10-win mark just three times since joining the SEC a quarter century ago, and have yet to win the conference. The program’s last conference title came in 1989.