Paul Petrino was not on the sideline last week during the game against Auburn. Of all the changes that were made against the Tigers, the decision to place Petrino in the box was one of the most significant.
Petrino’s offense had a great game last week. But the reason they were able to perform may have had as much to do with the team’s sideline demeanor as the play-calling.
Tyler Wilson looked relaxed and in control for the first time all season. The offensive line protected the quarterback and provided Dennis Johnson with the necessary blocking to establish a run game.
Petrino looked like he was in his element. Fans did not see him screaming or stalking the sidelines with a scowl on his face as he had in recent weeks. Whenever the camera panned to him he appeared calm and focused. John L. Smith also appeared to be more in charge of his sideline as opposed to his usual aimless wandering.
While a seemingly minor change, Petrino’s move to the box may have had a major impact on the outcome of the game. Any changes that the Hogs’ coaching staff made last week should continue into this week to help establish some sense of organization and continuity.
If Petrino is able to get the most out of his offense while in the box, he should stay there.