State of the Hogs: Paul's Commitment

Paul Petrino looks for stability with return to Arkansas. Points to "discipline" from the top.

Bobby Petrino settled the argument about being a short timer at Arkansas last year when he signed the huge contract with the big long-term buyout.

No one has talked about Paul Petrino jumping around too much -- unless it has been his family. He may have settled that same issue this weekend when he gave a commitment to his wife and kids that they were going to be in one place long enough for his eighth-grade twins to finish high school.


That will be in Fayetteville. Paul Petrino was reintroduced as offensive coordinator -- this time as quarterbacks coach -- about four years after he joined his brother in the Ozarks the first time.

Petrino stayed two years before striking off on his own to be offensive coordinator at Illinois, mainly to prove that he could fly solo as the playcaller and offensive genius. He did alright in year one at Illinois, helping the offense re-write the school record books. Injuries in the offensive front and in the backfield derailed all of that about halfway through this season, ending Petrino's bid to save Ron Zook's job as head coach.

After going through the interview process about five times last week, it became obvious to both Petrinos that Paul needed to come back to Fayetteville.

"My goal is still to become a head coach," Paul Petrino said when he met with the media in the Broyles Center on Tuesday.

"But I thought it might be time to get some stability. We talked about that (as a family), to get some stability for the family. There will be time to pursue that goal after we get the (twins) out of high school in four years. We'll see what's out there and evaluate at that point."

Paul said he came to the conclusion he wanted to be back with his brother as he evaluated what he'd seen the last two years and as he listened to head coaches in the interview process as he searched for jobs.

"I wanted to be where there is a true leader at the top," he said. "I'm talking about the head coach and I'm talking mainly about discipline. It's also about having a clear approach to what you are trying to do."

The Hogs are definitely in a transition stage with changes coming at the coordinator level on offense, defense and special teams. Willy Robinson was forced to resign as defensive coordinator this week and John L. Smith left the special teams job to become head coach at Weber State.

"That transition is going to be smooth because we have discipline at the top," Paul Petrino said. "I'm happy for John L. That's great for him."

It will not be a difficult decision for Paul and his wife. He said both still have an Arkansas driver's license and an Arkansas plate on the back of his wife's car. Their kids are excited to be back around some old friends. And Paul is excited to be coaching All-SEC quarterback Tyler Wilson. Paul remembers Wilson as the first piece to the puzzle when the Petrino brothers took the job four years ago.

"Our first recruiting trip was to see Tyler," Paul said. "We got the job and there was a stack of quarterback videos on the table. We looked at all of them and Tyler was the one that jumped out. We said, 'We have to go see him now.' That was our first recruiting trip. I have a nice relationship with Tyler."

He said that it's also going to be sweet to be able to coach the bowl with some of the players that he started out with. He had an emotional reunion in the hallway just after his return with senior wide receiver Jarius Wright.

"I came in with those guys," he said. "I remember that first year where we were playing 16 freshmen and we were taking our lumps. I'm happy and excited."

Paul Petrino said he would need some time to study the things that the current offense does best. It's always different.

"I've watched some games when I could this year," he said. "I've seen quite a few. I've talked with Bob a lot. I've talked to him sometimes right after games. I'd watch and see a touchdown play, like one against Vanderbilt. I'd call him right then and ask him about that play because it might have been something a little new.

"And we went over game plans every week. We'd talk about the defense we were playing, whether it was an under front or what we were each facing that week and how we were going to attack it."

Some things won't change, either.

"It's still the feed the studs system," he said, noting there might be more studs than were available at Illinois. Certainly, they are different at quarterback.

"We didn't have a Ryan Mallett or a Tyler Wilson there. But the philosophy didn't change. We just had to do things a little differently to take advantage of what the players do best.

"That's what I have to study here. I'm going to look at the cutups the next two days and try to figure out what these players do best and what plays they can run."

Paul Petrino was confused when he was asked if it was the first time he'd been back at Arkansas since the move to Illinois. At first he said, it was.

"No, that's not right," he restated. "I came back here after my first spring at Illinois. I hurt my knee. I was chasing a receiver down the field and got rolled up in a pile. I came back here and got my knee fixed."

It was two ligament tears. Petrino was clear that he not only finished that day of spring practice, but he also finished the rest of the spring workouts before the surgery.

"I finished," he said. "I want to make sure to say that."

Maybe he didn't finish everything his first time at Arkansas. But he's back to make sure he does this time.

Hawgs Daily Top Stories

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[MEDIA:925542]\r\n


\r\nThat will be in Fayetteville. Paul Petrino was reintroduced as offensive coordinator -- this time as quarterbacks coach -- about four years after he joined his brother in the Ozarks the first time.\r\n

\r\nPetrino stayed two years before striking off on his own to be offensive coordinator at Illinois, mainly to prove that he could fly solo as the playcaller and offensive genius. He did alright in year one at Illinois, helping the offense re-write the school record books. Injuries in the offensive front and in the backfield derailed all of that about halfway through this season, ending Petrino's bid to save Ron Zook's job as head coach.\r\n

\r\nAfter going through the interview process about five times last week, it became obvious to both Petrinos that Paul needed to come back to Fayetteville.\r\n

\r\n\"My goal is still to become a head coach,\" Paul Petrino said when he met with the media in the Broyles Center on Tuesday.\r\n

\r\n\"But I thought it might be time to get some stability. We talked about that (as a family), to get some stability for the family. There will be time to pursue that goal after we get the (twins) out of high school in four years. We'll see what's out there and evaluate at that point.\"\r\n

\r\nPaul said he came to the conclusion he wanted to be back with his brother as he evaluated what he'd seen the last two years and as he listened to head coaches in the interview process as he searched for jobs.\r\n

\r\n\"I wanted to be where there is a true leader at the top,\" he said. \"I'm talking about the head coach and I'm talking mainly about discipline. It's also about having a clear approach to what you are trying to do.\"\r\n

\r\nThe Hogs are definitely in a transition stage with changes coming at the coordinator level on offense, defense and special teams. Willy Robinson was forced to resign as defensive coordinator this week and John L. Smith left the special teams job to become head coach at Weber State.\r\n

\r\n\"That transition is going to be smooth because we have discipline at the top,\" Paul Petrino said. \"I'm happy for John L. That's great for him.\"\r\n

\r\n\r\nIt will not be a difficult decision for Paul and his wife. He said both still have an Arkansas driver's license and an Arkansas plate on the back of his wife's car. Their kids are excited to be back around some old friends. And Paul is excited to be coaching All-SEC quarterback Tyler Wilson. Paul remembers Wilson as the first piece to the puzzle when the Petrino brothers took the job four years ago.\r\n

\r\n\"Our first recruiting trip was to see Tyler,\" Paul said. \"We got the job and there was a stack of quarterback videos on the table. We looked at all of them and Tyler was the one that jumped out. We said, 'We have to go see him now.' That was our first recruiting trip. I have a nice relationship with Tyler.\"\r\n

\r\nHe said that it's also going to be sweet to be able to coach the bowl with some of the players that he started out with. He had an emotional reunion in the hallway just after his return with senior wide receiver Jarius Wright.\r\n

\r\n\"I came in with those guys,\" he said. \"I remember that first year where we were playing 16 freshmen and we were taking our lumps. I'm happy and excited.\"\r\n

\r\nPaul Petrino said he would need some time to study the things that the current offense does best. It's always different.\r\n

\r\n\"I've watched some games when I could this year,\" he said. \"I've seen quite a few. I've talked with Bob a lot. I've talked to him sometimes right after games. I'd watch and see a touchdown play, like one against Vanderbilt. I'd call him right then and ask him about that play because it might have been something a little new.\r\n

\r\n\"And we went over game plans every week. We'd talk about the defense we were playing, whether it was an under front or what we were each facing that week and how we were going to attack it.\"\r\n

\r\nSome things won't change, either.\r\n

\r\n\"It's still the feed the studs system,\" he said, noting there might be more studs than were available at Illinois. Certainly, they are different at quarterback.\r\n

\r\n\"We didn't have a Ryan Mallett or a Tyler Wilson there. But the philosophy didn't change. We just had to do things a little differently to take advantage of what the players do best.\r\n

\r\n\"That's what I have to study here. I'm going to look at the cutups the next two days and try to figure out what these players do best and what plays they can run.\"\r\n

\r\nPaul Petrino was confused when he was asked if it was the first time he'd been back at Arkansas since the move to Illinois. At first he said, it was.\r\n

\r\n\"No, that's not right,\" he restated. \"I came back here after my first spring at Illinois. I hurt my knee. I was chasing a receiver down the field and got rolled up in a pile. I came back here and got my knee fixed.\"\r\n

\r\nIt was two ligament tears. Petrino was clear that he not only finished that day of spring practice, but he also finished the rest of the spring workouts before the surgery.\r\n

\r\n\"I finished,\" he said. \"I want to make sure to say that.\"\r\n

\r\nMaybe he didn't finish everything his first time at Arkansas. 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