"Well, he doesn't have to chase us," quarterback Tyler Wilson said of Petrino's style of running after his players to push for effort.
"We throw the ball and we are standing right next to him after the play. He doesn't have to go very far to get us."
Wilson thought a minute, then did mention a time that he's been chased by his new quarterback coach.
"He had us run after practice the other day and he chased us while we were running," Wilson said. "So I guess he has chased us. Really, he's still chasing everyone."
Wide receiver Greg Childs said he got a chuckle when some of the younger players were asking about Petrino's style of coaching while they were off the field taking finals.
"Yeah, I knew what it was going to be like," Childs said. "I had two years of him chasing the wideouts down the field each day making sure we finished off the plays right. The young guys who got here in the last two years didn't know. I told him it was going to be a little different and they saw it. But it's nothing they can't do."
Offensive line coach Chris Klenakis came to Arkansas after Petrino went to Illinois, but it was hardly an adjustment. They played together at Carroll College and then coached together three seasons at Southern Mississippi.
"I loved it," he said. "High energy. That's Paul. He brings fire. He brings passion. That's great for every phase of your offense. I love that energy and I think having a coach with that kind of fire only helps you."
Childs felt that fire the first day Petrino returned.
"We were heading out to practice and he ran up to the wide receivers and told us we better be ready to get after it," he said. "He's going to make sure you are ready before practice. He's going to check you out and make sure you bring it."
Petrino was the coach at the podium Monday after the Hogs worked for over two hours in Reynolds Razorback Stadium. He seemed pleased with the workout. In particular, he noted the effort from the wide receiver group.
"I thought those guys practiced real hard," Petrino said. "Guys like Joe Adams, Jarius Wright and Greg Childs have a great attitude. They were very enthusiastic."
Wright said that's one of the keys the Hogs have talked about heading into the bowl game. They want to be sharp at the outset and the way to do that is to make sure practices are top level leading up the the game. He talked about the last two bowl experiences.
"It was cold at (the Liberty Bowl) and no one wanted to be there," Adams said. "That was uncomfortable. You couldn't feel your hands. You couldn't feel the ball.
"We talked about that after the game to make sure we won enough in the future so we can be in a warm situation -- a warm place or a warm stadium. This is what we want, a stadium like this inside.
"Then we talked about how you get ready for a bowl and that's to attack a practice. That's what we are doing now. I think we started throwing as soon as the season was over to maintain our timing. We've done that every day. We've practiced hard and looked good. I think that's how you take your timing to a bowl game, keep working on your passing game and timing."
Wilson said that's why he's going to throw every day during his Christmas break later this week in Greenwood.
"We will be ready when we come back," Wilson said. "We don't want to look sloppy. I'm going to do something every day. That's what you have to do to be ready in a bowl."
Petrino said he's enjoyed seeing the development of many of the players during his 2-year absence.
"You see Joe and Jarius and you notice the strength and speed," Petrino said. "They are so much stronger. That shows up when you get bumped in a route. They don't get knocked off the route. They are strong enough to run through that and they can run through tackles. They are just so much stronger.
"You saw Jarius two years ago in practice and he would have those type of days. I can remember coming in to talk to you guys maybe four weeks in a row and telling you what he was doing in practice. Now you see him do those same things in the game."
Wilson's development is obvious, too.
"Tyler has done a good job," Petrino said. "He had a real good year, but you can always improve. He's accurate. He's got a strong arm and done some really good things. But he's going to still get better."
There was also a question about the development of Brandon Allen, a redshirt freshman who Petrino last saw as a high school junior.
"He's exciting," Petrino said. "You can tell he's a coaches kid and understands things because he's been around the game. He has a good feel for when to get rid of the ball. He's accurate and throws a real catchable ball."
Petrino said there is still some time to develop game day procedures as far as play calling. He didn't say where he'd be, in the press box or the field. He coached from the box in his earlier stint at Arkansas.
"We still haven't worked that out," he said.
But he did have some thoughts on Kansas State, the opponent for the Jan. 6 Cotton Bowl, particularly middle linebacker Arthur Brown. The Miami transfer led the Wildcats with 95 tackles. He also noted the pass rushing ability of outside linebacker Meshak Williams. The Wildcats are experienced at playing the pass in a throwing league. They have 18 pass interceptions.
"They have a very good linebacker and in the nickel they bring in (Williams) and he's very good off the edge," Petrino said. "They do a great job with their safeties. If you miss, they will pick it off. They play hard and we've got to be ready to go and get after them."