Arkansas Upset by Louisiana-Monroe: Would Bobby Petrino Have Made a Difference?
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Even before overtime started during Arkansas' 34-31 loss to Louisiana-Monroe, the rumblings began.
"That's John L. Smith for you."
"This is a result of Bobby Petrino not being there."
Let's pump the brakes on that.
Bobby Petrino is an offensive genius. We all know that. But when starting quarterback Tyler Wilson went out with an injury, the entire Arkansas game plan got thrown through a loop.
I know, I know; the obvious response is that Wilson himself was fantastic on the road at Auburn when he relieved an injured Ryan Mallett in 2010.
That's true, and you're right.
Wilson completed 25-of-34 passes for 332 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions that afternoon in just more than two quarters of play.
But just because the backup was successful then doesn't mean that he would be now—and the man with the title of "head coach" has nothing to do with that.
Would former backup quarterback Brandon Mitchell had been moved to wide receiver under Petrino? How would preseason practices have been run? Would any impact players have been dinged up during those?
Was the absence of Bobby Petrino the reason Arkansas lost to ULM?
All of those questions are simply unable to be answered, which means that the question of whether or not Petrino would have made a difference is too.
Arkansas' loss to Louisiana-Monroe doesn't fall on Smith or Petrino, it falls on Arkansas—the program.
That program has both of its fingerprints on it, and saying that Smith is responsible or that Petrino could have prevented it is jumping to far too many conclusions without proper information.
Also wrecked is Arkansas' dream season, which didn't even last to the Week 3 showdown with Alabama.
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