Wally Watch: Where we read Wally Hall so you don’t have to.
Primary Theme: A schizophrenic, back & forth column in which Wally both supports and passive-aggressively undermines John Pelphrey. We’re a little confused about it ourselves.
Pelphrey Rules!: “Regardless of what happens today in Nashville, Tenn., it is far too early for anyone to be talking about a coaching change at the University of Arkansas.”
Pelphrey Sucks!: “…the program appears to be at its lowest point since Eddie Sutton came to Arkansas to build a basketball program.” (Note: that’s a lot of ‘programs’.)
Pelphrey Rules!: “John Pelphrey, though, did not create the current problems. He inherited them.”
Pelphrey Sucks!: “Yes, there are reasons for fans to be frustrated about this season and 13 conference losses, the most of any team in the SEC. Far too often there seems to be a player - take your pick - who has a brain freeze at a critical time in a game. It might be a silly foul, a shot taken way too soon, a breakdown on defense or just a bad shot, all of which are things that a head coach has to address.”
Pelphrey Rules!: “Rest assured the Hogs are not being taught to play that way in practice.”
Pelphrey Sucks!: “Everyone associated with the program will publicly deny it, but there is no doubt to the masses that there is an apparent lack of team chemistry that may include the coaching staff.”
Pelphrey Rules!: “Bottom line, he needs more time to fix the problems.”
Pelphrey Sucks!: “If he doesn’t within a reasonable time, that’s a different matter.”
Bottom Line: With its veiled hints, straightforward recounts of events we all knew already and ‘Wally, tell us more’ teases like “there have been issues with some about the excitement created with Courtney Fortson and Rotnei Clarke becoming part of the program”, this is in many ways the archetypal Wally Hall column. All it needs is a few folksy metaphors and a Mexican food reference to be complete.
As veteran Wally watchers, our take is that he really wanted to write an anti-Pelphrey column but couldn’t quite bring himself to do it, so he instead went with the passive-aggressive approach detailed above.
But, reading between the lines it’s pretty clear that this is a backhanded slam. Knowing that Wally is a scholar of both Shakespeare and the classics above all else, we’ll assume that this is a sly allusion to the form and intent of Mark Antony’s famous “For Brutus is an honorable man” speech in Julius Caesar…clever!!