The Razorback coach finally did so after Thursday's practice, an anti-climatic step seeing as how Wilson had been getting almost all of the first-team reps in preseason practice and redshirt sophomore Brandon Mitchell working with the second unit.
"We are ready at this time to say that Tyler Wilson will start the game," Petrino said. "I feel like it is the one that deserves it. He has prepared hard. He has done a good job in practice and he has done a good job working hard in his leadership."
"Brandon Mitchell competed and gave everything he had and I think he really grew and matured as a quarterback," Petrino added. "I really feel like he will play in the game. I haven't decided whether it will be in the second quarter or not yet, but he definitely will get in the game and play quarterback in the game."
"I've been working toward this position since I have been here," Wilson said. "The quarterbacks we have here pushed each other in both directions and I think we are better for it.
"I am glad that today has come because I can kind of approach the next few weeks- not really any differently if he wouldn't have announced it – but maybe with just a little different mindset."
Petrino said the former Greenwood star made it clear to him what his intention was the day after Arkansas' loss in the Sugar Bowl.
"I think it started when we came back from the bowl game," Petrino said. "You could see Tyler say "This is my time, and I am going to do everything I possibly can to win the job as the starting quarterback."
Wilson was not surprised that Petrino waited so long to name him the starter as he takes over for record-setting former Razorback Ryan Mallett.
"You look back through history and you kind of see the way he has played out this quarterback competitions," Wilson said. "Even with me and Ryan at one point – I think he named Ryan a week or two before the game. It was the same situation. I didn't really expect anything different than that. I am absolutely excited about moving the team forward."
Wideouts Cobi Hamilton and Greg Childs said that Wilson is ready to do just that.
"All of the receivers and all of the running backs have a lot of faith in him," Hamilton said. "…The last few weeks Tyler has become more of a vocal leader. He is starting to wear the pants in this offense and he is taking charge in this offense as he should.
"We following him as a leader and we know he is our quarterback and he knows he is our leader," Hamilton added. "He is going to be the one to lead us on the field next Saturday night and we will be ready to go."
Wilson had a big day at Auburn last season with Mallett injured, throwing for over 300 yards and connecting several times to Childs.
But there were also a couple of picks this year on plays that Childs thinks Wilson is ready to read better this season.
"He has been more patient and thinking things through," Childs said. "He has got that figured out and he is going to have a great season this year."
Petrino also said that he has not decided to redshirt true freshman Brandon Allen just yet.
"I am not really ready to make that decision yet," Petrino said. "We have been working hard in the last week, two weeks to see where he is at, what he can handle. We put him in there today and he got more reps. We've got to wait and see. We have got to prepare him as if he is going to play next week and maybe by the end of the week we will have a decision. If not we will just keep going with it to where it plays out."
"I like what Brandon does," Petrino added later. "He has a quick release, he is very accurate and very, very intelligent."
Petrino says you always go into a season hoping to not need a true freshman, but also getting that rookie ready.
"We have always had those guys that are back-ups that are ready to play as true freshman and you hope the number one doesn't get hurt and he redshirts," Petrino said. "(Redshirt sophomore offensive lineman) Alvin Bailey is the best example I have of that."
Allen said his progress has been in the time before practice begins.
"It really has been just getting in the playbook every day," Allen said. "They wanted to run some plays and I needed to know what your read is and what I do. I need to learn in the classroom so when I get on the field I can run any play they call."
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Per tradition, Arkansas will have a dress rehearsal Friday night that is closed to fans and media.
In fact, all practices will be closed for the rest of the season with no video available unlike previous years as had been allowed the first 20 minutes of the workouts.
"Practices will remain closed," Petrino said. "That is one thing we are going to do.
"...Like I have said before, I love having the fans there," Petrino said. "I think that is a great deal. I think it is good for our players and awesome for our fans and they enjoy it early in camp and I enjoy opening up spring ball.
"But I really feel like that the best thing for our players right now is to close practice and focus and make it better for our players," Petrino continued.
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"We have had a good week of practice," Petrino said. "It was a good grind. It was nice and hot and we went through basically what we would do in a week plus adding a little on to it – a little technique and fundamental work."
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"It's hard on the twos right now because what we did a week ago - and we didn't do it as much this week - is a lot of ones versus twos, twos versus one to get ready for that (Saturday) scrimmage," Petrino said. "The ones are ahead of the twos. That is why they are ones.
"...Obviously when you watch that and you see the offense moving it against the twos, the number one defense stopping the number two offense the majority of the time, you always get concerned about how our depth is," Petrino added. "But Willy is being a little hard on them.
"I feel like we have better depth than we have ever had on defense and certainly feel like the front four we are certainly two deep," Petrino continued. "We can rotate guys in there. The linebacker spots - we have had great competition and in the secondary we have got guys with experience at all positions. I feel good about our depth."
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Petrino said that De'Anthony Curtis has been the"ultimate team guy" and has spent more time at tailback this week than cornerback.
He also noted that Dennis Johnson had not practiced much this week and he did not know if he would return kicks or not.