A big part of accomplishing that included bringing guys on staff that had personal ties to the state of Arkansas. Five members of Malzahn's staff have either grown up in Arkansas, or have played or coached at the high school or collegiate level within the state.
"We strategically hired guys that are familiar with the state, are very well respected, and are very good football coaches." Malzahn noted.
Hear more thoughts from the rest of the coaching staff on the importance of those Arkansas ties below.
On the plane trip back from SEC media days, Texas A&M offensive lineman Luke Joeckel told Kevin Sumlin about all of the doubters that he ran into while fielding questions from the media.
“I don’t think those people think we’re any good,” Joeckel told Sumlin. “They kept asking me what’s it like to be in the SEC. I tried to be positive, but I got the feeling they think we’re going to get our brains kicked in.”
Sumlin got much of the same vibe from reporters during his numerous interviews, and shared that sentiment with those in attendance at Texas A&M's Coach's Night in Houston.
"Guys, based on every question I got, they don’t think we have any defense. They don’t think our offense will work, and we don’t have a quarterback or kicker. Other than that we have no problem guys.” The crowd found the story pretty funny, but Sumlin explained that it's a different feeling when you have to deal with those type of questions for five straight hours.