Former Arkansas QB Tyler Wilson (left) and former offensive coordinator Paul Petrino (right)
It was a common viewpoint of many who saw the Arkansas Razorbacks play in 2012, but it was confirmed by former Arkansas coaches on Wednesday.
Former Arkansas offensive coordinator Paul Petrino and former defensive coordinator Paul Haynes went on the record with Sporting News, saying that the Razorbacks quit on the staff last year.
The two coaches placed the majority of the blame on athletic director Jeff Long's decision to hire John L. Smith to a 10-month contract after former head coach Bobby Petrino was fired.
Petrino, now the head coach at Idaho, went so far as to offer his opinion on what Long should have done:
I don’t think an A.D. should ever hire somebody for 10 months. Players know what that means; they understand that. It hurts the power of the head coach and the assistants.
They should’ve hired (Smith) for two years or hired someone else for two years, or just (expletive)-canned all of us.
Haynes, who took over the Kent State program following the season, added his opinion on the unusual situation:
Even if they had a plan to get rid of us no matter what, which I think they did, you say two years and I think the kids dig in. When you give 10 months, everyone is on eggshells.
Arkansas fans may not like the seemingly unnecessary look back at the tumultuous season, but it's rare to get coaches to go on the record to discuss a tough situation so soon after it ended.
Plus, even though Ohio State went through a slightly similar situation in 2011, these situations are rare and it's interesting to get an inside look at the situation from the people who lived it.
With that said, Petrino and Haynes were right. The Hogs quit. That goes for the players and the coaches.
They lost four of their last five down the stretch, losing by an average margin of just over two touchdowns per game. Sure, they played LSU tough in the finale; but got blown out by a mediocre Mississippi State team, didn't really put up much of a fight versus South Carolina and barely squeaked by Tulsa.
Did the Arkansas players quit last season?
When Tyler Wilson was knocked out of the Louisiana-Monroe game in Week 2 with a concussion, it was the straw that broke the camel's back.
Would Arkansas' season have been different if that didn't happen? Probably not, because Alabama would have still come calling the next week, Arkansas would still have issues on defense and the offensive line would have still had difficulty protecting the quarterback.
It's not a knock against Arkansas. It's a statement of fact, and one that is appropriate considering the scandal involving Bobby Petrino—and how Arkansas handled it—was the biggest storyline from last offseason in the SEC.