State of the Hogs: Write This Down

We challenged Arkansas fans -- in George Strait style -- to Write a Little Note to football coach Bobby Petrino. Here's the true State of the Hogs -- perhaps better than any of the messages from HI.com publisher Clay Henry which usually appear in this space.

If you could write a letter to Bobby Petrino, what would it say? He didn't walk out the door like so many said he would. I am big on George Strait songs. One of Strait's oldie but goodie songs is ... Write This Down ... so what what you write to Bobby for not walking out the door?

Write this down, stick it on the refrigerator door ... right here, please.

Here's some of what Arkansas fans wrote to Petrino on the HawgsIllustrated.com premium message board:



From Habbeus Porkus:

I think I'd say that I'm a life long Razorback fan. Have watched, listened to, or attended every game since the early 1980's. Or at least that's as far back as I remember . . . I was probably watching before then but was just too young to remember. I decided to turn down scholarships to "better" academic schools to go to the U of A for college and law school, in large part because of the Razorbacks. I wanted to be at that school on the Hill, be a part of those traditions.

But as much as I've always loved the Razorbacks, there had never been a season where I felt like we could line up with anybody in the country and have a legitimate shot to beat them. It always seemed to me there was such a gap between us and the "big boys." Back in the 80's I remember how it looked when we lined up against Texas or Miami or Oklahoma or UCLA. We had our share of wins when we played over our heads, but there was just such a gap between us and the elite teams. Same thing when we moved to the SEC. My dad used to always pick us to lose against those teams and he'd say "don't get your hopes up son. Arkansas can't play with the big boys." It made me mad, but I kinda figured he was right.

I was also sort of conditioned to see Arkansas blow the few chances we had to step up to the next level. Atwater dropping that interception against Miami. Stoerner's stumble fumble, etc etc etc.

This season and this team is turning all that on its head. I saw us make the mistakes against LSU and just knew we were blowing a big one. But we won. I kept waiting for the wheels to fall off, but the team reflected the character, drive, preparation, and calm under fire of its head coach and took care of business.

The expectations of this program are changing. The worm is turning. In my view, one person gets the credit. Bobby Petrino.

Some people call Nick Saban the game changer. He didn't change anything at Alabama. They already had all the advantages. He just got the machine back on track. Coach Petrino is building the machine, and he is doing it the hard way . . . mining the ore, melting it down, making the iron, sharpening the iron with iron. . .

Coach Petrino is changing the game.

After I saw the fire in him when he looked at those refs and yelled "look our players in the eye" I knew he was one of us. I knew that he felt the screwings we have taken from the refs through the years as deeply as us and I knew that he was the man we want in the trenches with us to fight the opponents, the refs if we have to, the national media, and the whole world if that's what it takes.

And while the wins are starting to pile up, we are also reading about fewer and fewer players getting in trouble. The man has a plan for everything and is building a total program. He's doing it the right way.

Finally, when his name gets mentioned for another job, does he have his agent throw gas on the fire? Do we have the ridiculous drama we had with Nebraska and LSU? No. Not only that, but he signs an agreement with an unprecedented buyout just so his name won't be a part of the discussions next year. He sends a clear signal to recruits, to fans, and to the world that little Ole Arkansas is where he wants to build his national championship.

So I don't really know what I'd say, other than THANK YOU BOBBY PETRINO. You have a home here, and boys - - we got us a ball coach!


From Doc Estes:

I realize that it may have taken a set of cosmic circumstances for you to find yourself the Head Football Coach at the University of Arkansas. I cannot pretend to know your intentions when you took the job. I don't know if it was born of desperation to get out of a bad situation in Atlanta and back into the college game you love, or if you truly saw the Arkansas job as a diamond in the rough. Whatever the reasons you chose to come here, I hope you have found a home, a place you can be proud to call home.

Your attention to detail and football IQ are simply off the charts. The progress you have made with our program in three short years is nothing short of amazing. I believe you are the finest football coach in the college game.

Thank you for your professionalism. Thank you for your refusal to accept second-best. Thank for your refusal to accept the belief that "it cannot be done at Arkansas".

Thank you, thank you, thank you!


From Nashvillepig:

When I was very young, growing up in Hope, AR in the '50's, I remember sitting by the RADIO with my parents to listen to the Arkansas games (Ronnie Underwood, George Walker, etc.).

Later on, maybe 1957, my dad took me one night to a local cafe to hear the new coach, Frank Broyles, speak. I'll never forget it - it was like a young Billy Graham had come to town for a revival. We went to a freshman game in L.R. and saw a new kid - Lance Alworth - for the first time.

The excitement of the early Broyles years was something I've always remembered. We played lots of close games, but we always expected to win. Even though I've been out of the state for many years now, I don't think that excitement has ever been equaled, I don't think that expectation of winning has been there - until now. For me, the Petrino era is a quantum leap, a paradigm shift.

I'm sure everyone else agrees. Coach Petrino, thanks for moving to Fayetteville and finding a home there - I think It's a very good place to live and work. And the fans, well, we haven't enjoyed football so much in a very long time.



From Jim Daniel:

Very simple to Coach Petrino - Thank You, you are doing your part and I am going to do mine.

Sort of like; Alanta by morning, up from New Orleans. Everything that we got, is going to be SEC Champions!


From tab71449:

Thank you for getting us to the point of expecting to win and not hoping we will. I''m not quite there as far as Ohio State is concerned, but I'm closer. It's not Ohio State that concerns me so much as it is the huge stage of the Sugar Bowl. If we win that gamme the victory would resound for years in so many areas, recruiting, respect, et cetra.

In discussing the LSU game with my pessimistic best friend, he as always, was saying" I don't think we can beat those guys, great defense, more talent, blah blah blah". I merely replied, "I like our chances."

On our free message boards where fans from the other teams visit, the Buckeye fans has raved about Ohio State out-recruiting us at every position. Maybe that's true but about to change. But even if it is true right now, you, Coach P has made it possible and even likely to win without always having the best talent.

That is where you have brought me Coach Petrino. I like our chances in every game.

A new day dawns-Bobby Ball!


From daBoar

Thanks for bringing back the zest of our Razorback youth!


From FitHog

I've built my post out of George Strait songs. Song titles are in quotes.

You worked out a contract. The university asked you to "check Yes or No." Thanks, Coach, for checking Yes.

The media said you'd "gotten good at good-bye." Thanks for not saying good-bye to us.

When it comes to the Alabama game I know you'd "like to have that one back," but you bounced the team back and after the Auburn loss led us to six wins in a row.

No wonder Razorback Nation is getting "carried away."

Now that you're here for a good long while, we look forward to you winning "the big one."

And it makes all of us feel good to know that you are our Arkansas coach and with the new contract you are "living and living well."

We hope now that your love for us and our love for you will be a "love without end, amen."

God bless you and your family, Coach!


From MichaelD:

I have been a fan since 1963-1964 when I first started taking notice of the hogs as a teenager. I became hooked on the Hogs and Frank Broyles and I have never stopped.

Whether we have had good teams or bad teams I have been a loyal supporter ever since. I attended school at Fayetteville and have been a donor since 1977.

The only time that I have been this excited about our long term prospects was when Lou Holtz was our coach 30 years ago. Being from southwest Arkansas and subjected to the arrogance of Longhorn fans for my whole life I could not be prouder to be a Razorback fan or to have Bobby Petrino as our head coach.

I can assure you that the longhorns would gladly trade coaches with us in a heartbeat. It is really a great feeling to have what I think is the greatest head coach in the college ranks. I never worry about getting out coached or out schemed by ANYONE!

I would not trade coaches with anybody and I am sure most Arkansas fans feel the same way.

As the song says, Write this down -- since Coach Petrino has shown his faith in us he will discover what coach Broyles discovered many years ago -- that the head coaching job at Arkansas is the best coaching job in the nation.

When you show your commitment and love for us it will come back to you in ways you can't imagine. We look forward to a long and successful relationship with you as head coach and then, like another legend, many years as our athletic director when you are ready to call it quits. I think you could be an even better athletic director than coach and that is a mouthful!

Thank you coach for having faith in us. I am really looking forward to the ride ahead! Go Hogs.

Beat the Buckeyes.

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