For the Arkansas football program to move forward, Chad Morris decided the Razorbacks first had to go backward.
In essence, the leader of the Razorbacks stripped the entire program of all entitlement in order to bring the team together and make the most out of every activity this offseason. It wasn’t just the players that were treated this way, Morris has taken the approach with the coaching staff, strength staff and even the training staff.
You may have seen players discussing the decision on social media and even the official Arkansas Razorbacks Football Twitter has sent out black and white images of the team hard at work this offseason without any Razorback gear.
During his most recent media availability, Morris explained the thought process behind the move.
“It’s a big deal to play football at the University of Arkansas. There’s no entitlement. We have got to get away from that, we are not entitled to it, we have got to earn it,” Morris said. “So we sat down and we talked… with the staff and felt the word that kept coming up, I’m big on finding one word that you are going to focus on — for a team, for a person, in your personal life, whatever it may be — and what is your one word?”
According to Morris, the word the team came up with had to signify the importance of all offseason activities that may seem inconsequential at the time but would add up to being difference makers come the fall.
“We’ve challenged our players with that. Well, our one word for our team is ‘every’,” Morris continued. “I asked our players, think of a word that follows ‘every’ and it matters. Whether it’s one, or body, or rep, or game, or practice, ‘every’ matters. So whatever follows ‘every’ matters. And the biggest thing is every day counts. And it really counts when you are at the last day and you look backwards and you say, You know, that day in February, February 6th, when it was a yoga recovery day and it was optional to come, that day counted. That day counted. Especially when you are sitting in December and looking forward at it.
“That kind of resonated home with our players and with me and our staff and I felt like we had to go back, we have to earn things.”
Interestingly enough, it wasn’t just the players that had to earn everything in Fayetteville, it was the entire organization. As seen in the photo below, even Morris stripped himself of all Razorback gear.
“From coaches, to players, to strength staff, to training staff, everybody. Recruiting department, we have to earn everything,” he continued. “I know our players have been very appreciative. Last week was a great week that we had to pull a win out on Friday, we had to have a perfect Friday to win and when you win, you earn a piece of gear. We earned a pair of shorts.
“So we have a Razorback logo on our shorts, so we are excited about that. Hopefully this week, we can get a win, we’ll get another piece of gear. That’s an opportunity and eventually, we will have an opportunity to win our way back into our locker room.”