The Arkansas Razorbacks are looking forward to playing football after having to endure a tumultuous offseason.
Bobby Petrino, the team’s former head coach, was fired after a motorcycle accident that revealed a torrid affair with a staffer. This sent the team and the entire football program into a tailspin as they had to deal with this unfortunate incident.
Petrino opened up recently in an interview with ESPN in an attempt to piece his life back together. The Razorbacks are attempting to do the same thing on the football field, but there are many reasons they will miss the embattled coach.
Offensive coordinator Paul Petrino was on the team when his brother coached the Razorbacks, but he did not call the plays.
Bobby Petrino was very successful calling plays for the offense and was responsible for the high-octane offense that the Hogs have become famous for over the last few years.
Now Paul will be under the microscope as the season begins and he attempts to replicate the success from past seasons.
Bobby Petrino is known for his intense practices. He puts his players to the test every day on the football field and expects perfection.
Current coach John L. Smith will look for the same results. Smith has high expectations for this team but his approach is vastly different.
The change of pace in practice could lead to simple mistakes on the field if the team is not prepared.
Say what you will about Petrino’s character, but he could recruit and develop players.
This is important to a football program if it wants to have consistency and success over a long period of time. Smith is currently working on a 10-month contract, and if he does not succeed, Arkansas will need to find a replacement soon if it wants to be a major player in the recruiting game.
The team will be tested during the season and it will look to Smith. Petrino had a knack for leading his team during tough times.
A year ago, the Razorbacks suffered a tough loss to the Alabama Crimson Tide. The devastating loss easily could have sent this team into a nosedive. Instead, it followed that loss with two wins against Texas A&M and Auburn, two ranked teams.
The minute this team hits a stumbling block, Petrino’s name will surface. In fact, there will be plenty of rumors that he may return at the end of the season.
The Razorbacks will need guidance at some point during the season in dealing with these issues and Smith will have to rise to the occasion.
Bobby Petrino was a vital part of the Razorback family.
For all of his shortcomings, the players and the fans respected and loved him. The team believed in his vision and players left it all on the field for their former coach.
Smith is in the inevitable position of trying to replace Petrino, and that task may be too daunting by seasons end.
James Brown is a B/R featured columnist and can be followed on Twitter. Feel free to contact James at firstname.lastname@example.org. He also is a contributor at Bookie Blitz, a sports picks website and the official blog of the World Series of Handicapping.