I have been in the corporate world for almost 11 years and at times it has been a great place to work and at times not so much. This is the comic I came up with.
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — He has finally ditched the scooter, which is a relief. The four-wheeled contraption was light, it was handy, and it allowed Ryan Mallett to get around quite nicely while the broken bone in his left foot healed. But even with a bicycle bell affixed to the handlebars by a student trainer, it wasn’t stylish transportation.
No, it looked “funny,” and Mallett was embarrassed to be seen riding it. And unfortunately, it was a sure-fire conversation starter.
“The people that enjoy Arkansas football,” he said, “will come and talk.”
Around here, that’s just about everybody. Of course, around here, just about everybody already recognized the Arkansas quarterback. But add the scooter, and there was no doubt.
Nor was there any doubt about the inevitable first question: How’s the foot? Specifics are hard to come by; Mallett has clearly been coached in the art of being vague. But in a teleconference a few days back, he said it’s healing nicely, that a second surgery last month to replace a screw wasn’t actually a setback and that he should be ready to roll by preseason practice. Sorry, “roll” wasn’t a great verb choice. Let’s go with run. Or more importantly, pass.
Consider it Mallett’s attempt to reassure the Arkansas fans who have been wondering, since Mallett broke the foot during a conditioning drill last February, whether it might be just another chapter in the overall narrative of Razorback football. Think Charlie Brown’s futility in kicking the football, and you’ve got the picture.
There’s more buzz preceding Arkansas’ 2010 campaign than anyone around here can remember. The pieces seem to be in place for a run at the SEC championship, or if you’re really optimistic, even beyond. In Bobby Petrino’s third season, the Hogs return 17 starters. For the first time in what seems like forever, that includes a franchise quarterback.
Mallett, a 6-foot-7, 235-pound junior, set or tied 16 school records last season, his first after transferring from Michigan. After a rocky start, the Razorbacks won five of their last six games — the loss came in overtime at LSU — and Mallett’s big right arm was a huge reason.
Quick quiz: When was the last time the Razorbacks went into a season with a Heisman candidate at quarterback?