Cotton Bowl Notepad, Day Four

Cotton Bowl media briefings provide plenty of notes. Here's the fourth installment, compiled from some leftovers from earlier sessions during the week at the Omni Hotel.

Paul Petrino has a different definition for offensive balance than most of the pundits. It's not so much what shows up in the stat sheet, but what shows up in the mind of the defensive coordinator.

"I think we are going to do a good job in the running game," said Petrino, Arkansas offensive coordinator. "And again, I think the more important word than balance is to make them defend both.

"As long as they have to defend the run and the pass then you are in good shape. You just have to take advantage of whatever they are giving you. But you have to make them defend both the run and the pass and it doesn't necessarily be balanced (in the final stats) but you have to make them defend both."

That reminded one oldtimer of an Arkansas trip to the Cotton Bowl. UCLA held Arkansas to 21 yards rushing and 21 yards passing.

Afterwards, Arkansas quarterback Quinn Grovey, staring at the stat sheet, said, "You guys have been asking us for balance. We got it."...

Different Script

Paul Petrino isn't promising changes with his return to the Arkansas coaching staff as offensive coordinator. It's the same offense and the same playcaller, head coach Bobby Petrino.

But there may be some differences after one month of bowl practices with Paul Petrino drawing up the practice schedule.

"I think you always bring your own personality," Petrino said. "You script plays in practice. So by who is scripting the plays and what you like, there are certain things that (former offensive coordinator Garrick McGee) liked a little bit more and certain things I like a little bit more. Nothing big and drastic, but there might be some things here and there that are different."...

The Drag

Kansas State strong linebacker Emmanual Lamur said the strong passing teams in the Big 12 have prepared the Wildcats for Arkansas. But there might not be anyone they've played that uses the crossing and drag routes quite like the Razorbacks.

"We all know the Big 12 is heavy on passing so that's an advantage for us," Lamur said. "Arkansas spreads the ball out, runs a lot of drag underneath routes."

How do you stop those?

"It's all about great communication out there and awareness. They do a great job with their receivers. They have great speed and you have to give them credit for that. That is going to be a great game and I'm looking forward to it."


Kansas State players have compared Arkansas to Oklahoma in several areas during the week.

Quarterback Collin Klein said the defense is "very similar in some respects" to several Big 12 teams.

"I would say their defensive front is similar to Oklahoma," Klein said. "They're great players. We just have to execute."

Defensive coordinator Chris Cosh saw some of the Sooners in the UA receivers.

"They have ability like Oklahoma and some other teams in the Big 12," Cosh said. "Those receivers, all of them have 30 or 40 catches. They have four or five weapons. The other thing, their running backs catch a lot of balls out of the backfield ... they can challenge you, vertically challenge you, and dump the ball down in screens and things like that to hurt you."...

Brandon Allen

Paul Petrino said he's been amazed at what true freshman Brandon Allen has done in the bowl practices. Allen, a Fayetteville product, spent the year on the redshirt list.

"He's been really, really good," Petrino said. "He's a very fine player. He has everything you want. He's picking up the offense and his arm is special. He's just so accurate."

Told Allen didn't have an interception in his 10 regular season games as a high school senior, Petrino said, "I don't believe I've heard too many doing that, but I can see that after what I've seen in the last month. He's really good."

Asked about other standouts in the bowl practices, Petrino declined to answer.

"You are putting me on the spot because I'm not sure I know all of their names," he said. "I'm afraid I'd mess them up. I could do numbers at this point, but I'd better not do that."

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