"I like the way we are practicing," Petrino said. "The guys are really doing a good job and working hard. I like the leadership our seniors are showing at practice. That's always a challenge - how the seniors practice for the bowl game. We challenge them to be professionals. Act like you are a professional and go out and get better at your craft. They have really done a nice job with that."
Saturday's practice included one session for the veterans and then another for the younger guys – many of whom redshirted and are trying to put themselves in position to go after spots in spring practice.
"Young guys, it's easy because we are already starting to compete for how we are going to line up for spring ball," Petrino said. "So that's a lot of fun and those guys have a lot of fun in bowl practice because they don't have to wear the black jerseys out and be on the scout team. They get to compete and learn our offense so they are really, really enjoying it."
In their place, Arkansas has hired Paul Petrino as its new offensive coordinator, brought Ohio State assistant Paul Haynes on as its new defensive coordinator and moved director of football operations Kevin Peoples to a full-time spot coaching the defensive line.
Other changes include defensive ends coach Steve Caldwell adding on the special teams coordinator title and defensive line coach Bobby Allen going back to the secondary where he has coached previously.
"I think the players have been great with it," Petrino said. "When we were gone, or when I was gone and out (and) some of the coaches were out recruiting, there was a lot of questions and talk. They were hearing a lot of things from outside the program. So it was good when I got back and we had our first meeting. When I got back they really understood how we were handling everything, what direction we were going.
"We've got a mature team and that helps a lot," Petrino added. "I put more on the players. I put more on the seniors that we've got to make sure we get ready in the meetings. We've got to make sure we get to practice right. And these first three days, i think they've done a really nice job."
All hands are on deck according to Petrino, who was asked if anybody on this year's roster had notified him they were transferring.
"Well, we've got everybody that finished the season out there practicing with us right now," Petrino said.
Arkansas – which will arrive in Dallas as a team on Dec. 31 - will not be back on the practice field until next Friday as the players go through finals.
"We take a little break now and get ready for finals," Petrino said. "Guys will have finals all next week and then we will comeback and get on the practice field on Friday and Saturday, give them Sunday off and then practice up until the 22nd, let them go home for Christmas, and then bring them back here.
"This will be different for me," Petrino added. "Playing on the sixth, we won't travel from being home at Christmas to the site. So we'll have to come back here, practice some more and then travel on to Dallas on the 31st. We have got a great schedule ahead of us. It will be a lot of fun."
The Razorbacks will get back on the road recruiting with Arkansas running back commitment Jonathan Williams tweeting that Petrino was doing an in-home visit with him on Sunday.
"I'll go back on the road recruiting," Petrino said. "That's been fun. We're excited about the way we're recruiting, so our coaches will be out the majority of the week next week recruiting. Come back and start getting ready for the bowl game. It'll be nice when dead period gets here and you can just focus on Kansas State and winning a bowl."
The Razorbacks are hoping to add several mid-term transfers with the mid-term junior college signing date coming in less than two weeks.
"We're battling," Petrino said. "I'm not sure how many. We've got a few seniors that have already graduated. We've got a few more that if they do good this next week they'll be able to graduate. So I'm not sure how many mid-year enrollees we'll have yet. We're just working at it right now."
Petrino admitted that Arkansas has not dived headlong into its prep for Kansas State at this point.
"We're not very far along," Petrino said. "But we've had a chance to watch a lot of their video. We've got everything broke down. We've got everything in the system. We've got scouting reports done and ready to go. I've been able to watch their defense. I've been able to watch their offense. They're a good football team. They do things right. They're really well coached. They've got a quarterback that causes you some problems. We've got a lot of work to do getting ready for the game."
As for an SEC comparison for Kansas State, Petrino thought and then offered up Mississippi State.
"I think that when you look back and [Mississippi State quarterback Chris] Relf played against us a couple years ago and his ability to run the ball and do the things he did, a big body like that to have to tackle," Petrino said.
Petrino was also asked about his colorful outburst during the game at LSU that was caught on CBS cameras.
"That was a long time ago," Petrino said. "To be honest with you, you don't recall things like that. I was told about it. Obviously, I've got to be more aware of my actions and my language. We'll work on improving that."