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Petrino the fierce competitor
There are significant differences between the Houston Nutt era at Arkansas and the current program run by Head Coach Bobby Petrino.
Fans often complained that Houston Nutt's teams seemed at times to be unprepared in big games. The perception was that the Nutt-led Razorbacks depended too much on emotional half-time speeches and trick plays. Fans complained on statewide radio call-in shows that the three yards and a cloud of dust playbook was something straight out of the 1970's.
It is not often that you have a Darren McFadden, Felix Jones, and Peyton Hillis, all wearing cardinal and white at the same time. For three years, the faithful in the stands were treated to big plays that routinely made the highlights on Sportscenter. But for most of Nutt's tenure, it seemed that the dominant defenses led by brilliant coordinators in the SEC often had the Razorback gameplan figured out before they got off of the bus.
The 2005 Razorbacks trudged off of the field in Los Angeles after a humiliating 70 - 17 loss at the hands of USC knowing they would get a shot at redemption the following year in Fayetteville. To the dismay of Arkansas fans, the Trojans handed the Houston Nutt-led Hogs another tough loss to swallow. This time it was 50 - 14. While the Tim Brando's of the world were praising Houston Nutt's ability to fire up his troops and win games they were supposed to lose, (mainly against the Texas Longhorns), Razorback fans had grown weary of being "a fly in the ointment" team.
Along came Bobby Petrino and his no-nonsense, businesslike approach.
Fans were excited to see the Petrino brand of offense that relies on moving the ball down the field with the pass while gouging out chunks of real estate on the ground as well. Make no mistake, Petrino is not "a player's coach" who coddles his stars. He is an in your face perfectionist who demands the best that his players can give him on each and every play. Razorback fans are glad to again see the concepts of half time adjustments and great special teams play that had been missing since the days that Lou Holtz wore his red checkered pants on the sidelines.
Another huge source of hope for Hog fans is the fact that the Bobby Petrino-led coaching staff believes that they can pull in recruits from any state in the Union and have demonstrated as such by pursuing prospects in Arizona, Michigan, Florida, and New Jersey.
Bobby Petrino has made it clear that he appreciates the beauty of Arkansas and the rabid fan support that the Razorback program enjoys. Don't bet on him leaving for greener pastures any time soon.