Jeff Reed: A-State ‘Monster’ Has Higher Expectations


Past Success Brings Higher Expectations for Bryan Harsin, Red Wolves

ASU Red Wolves Coach_Harsin

Jeff Reed Author PageMy homeboy – that would be former Oklahoma Sooners and Dallas Cowboys coach Barry Switzer – was the first person I heard use the analogy.

So I don’t know if it was original, or if my fellow Crossett Eagle was just recycling the comment but here it is: “Once you build that Monster you have to feed its ugly a**.”

Switzer’s comment was in reference to the Sooner football machine that was a part of building in the 1970s, and the early 1980s. At the time the OU team was rocking and rolling in the world of college football.

We are now starting to see a little of that at Arkansas State.

After back-to-back 10-win seasons and two bowl appearances, the A-State crowd was starting to feel good about the direction of its football program.

Then came Memphis.

After two straight seasons of manhandling the Tigers, the Memphis team brought the Red Wolves into the world or reality a couple of weeks ago in the Liberty Bowl.

The Monster, while it has a big appetite, also has a big target on its back.

A week later at Missouri, the Red Wolves showed life, and battled the Southeastern Conference Tigers for more than three quarters.  A-State led 16-13 until the Tigers scored with a little more than three minutes remaining the third quarter.  It was still a one-score game until Mizzou scored with 5:06 left.

Coach Bryan Harsin said the Red Wolves changed their routine before the Missouri game with more first-team against first-team work and putting positions up for competition.  There was also a revival of the offense and re-incorporating J.D. McKissic in the offense. The sophomore receiver had 157 yards offense in the game, or about 100 less than the team had against Memphis. (Speaking of McKissic, you can vote for him for the Biletnikoff Award here, every day.)

It seemed to work.

And the A-State camp has to be encouraged by recent showings by Memphis, which fumbled twice in the closing minutes to blow a sure victory against Central Florida on Sautrday, and the way Missouri stayed unbeaten with a pounding of Vanderbilt.

The bottom line is the Red Wolves are 2-3, just like the team was this time last season.  The difference is the Red Wolves are 1-0 in the Sun Belt and a year ago they started league play with a loss to Western Kentucky. Only Louisiana-Lafayette and Georgia State – and that is just a matter of time – and Arkansas State are without a loss in league play.

Up next is a non-conference tune-up with Idaho, a game that will be a conference tilt next season with they play in Moscow. After that an Oct. 22 game with Louisiana-Lafayette, a contest that could heavily determine the final course of this season.

Jeff Reed is editor of

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