"He's a Petrino," Paul Petrino said after Tuesday's two-hour workout at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.
Bobby Petrino -- with a neck brace, walkie talkie and binonculars, stood in the press box to watch the practice. Paul said there were times Bobby used the walkie talkie to phone down corrections.
"He's tough," Paul said. "There's no doubt about that. I've seen evidence of that before. I saw him play a game with a blown out knee."
And there was little doubt that Paul could set up a practice.
"I've known (Bobby) long enough that I knew what he would want to do," Paul said. "I went to his room last night (at Physicians Specialty Hospital) and had some specific questions about things we were going to do. I wrote it down."
Paul said it reminded him of a time when they coached together at Louisville when they planned a practice from a hospital room after their father had cancer surgery.
"It was a lot like that time," Paul said. "We took all of our stuff up to the hospital that time, too. So I just took what we needed. We went over grades from the scrimmage and planned the practice."
Did Paul try to talk Bobby out of coming back to work, or taking a break for more healing?
"He's in pain, I know that," Paul said. "But he's tough and I'm probably not going to be able to talk him out of anything. I just tried to make it easier for him and take care of the organization. I think it turned out fine. We had a good practice."
Assistant head coach Taver Johnson, the new linebackers coach, said he knew the Petrino reputation and wasn't surprised when the head coach showed up Tuesday.
"We all were a little scared when we heard what happened," Johnson said. "There is no doubt he is tough. I think it was good that he was here. The team needed to see their coach in the flesh. They needed to see how tough he is. Football is a tough game. Our players saw an example of toughness."
Did he feel that he needed to step a little deeper into his assistant head coach role?
"No, this is his team and coach is here," Johnson said. "There are titles but he's the head coach and he was in charge of the team. He talked to the players. He handled it. Everyone was just doing their job. He did his."
Fullback Kiero Small said that was the focus the last two days after hearing about the accident. He said Petrino's example taught a lesson to the team.
"We saw toughness," he said. "I knew he was a tough guy, but when you see him all scratched up like that, you know how tough. It makes you feel like you should never take a play off. He didn't take a day off."
Paul Petrino said the focus on Tuesday's workout was on pressure reads against blitzes and that it went well.
"Tempo was very fast," Paul Petrino said. "We also did some inside run and worked against pressures there. We missed some things, but it was a good practice. You need to see the videotape to know everything. It was a fast practice."
Paul Petrino said the videotape review of the Friday scrimmage showed a good performance by the first offense.
"The ones did well and went up and down the field," he said. "There were a couple of mistakes by Tyler early were he went the wrong place with the ball, but he had a good day.
"The twos took turns moving the ball, but they made some mistakes that stopped them at times."
Petrino praised the work of fullback Kiero Small.
"He did a heckuva job in the scrimmage," he said. "He made some really good plays. He had five punch out blocks. He had two nice catches and the one nice run."
Paul Petrino admitted there had been talk of Small playing some linebacker. He was a middle linebacker for a year at junior college.
"He's taken a few reps after practice some (at linebacker)," Paul Petrino said. "It's been talked about a lot."
Small said he's lost weight from about 255 to 250 pounds to become quicker and add to his endurance. He said the talk about linebacker is probably about just a part-time job.
"It might be just to help out in a situation," he said. "I have played there. But I'm a fullback. The stuff at linebacker is after practice just to learn a few things where I might could help."
How did he think the matchup with Tenarius "Tank" Wright, the middle linebacker now, went in the scrimmage.
"It's like every day," Small said. "We go against each other whether he's at D-end or linebacker. There are times each of us wins. We tap each other on the helmet for good plays. It's a good competition that helps both of us."
The Hogs were missing wide receiver Kane Whitehurst after an arrest over the weekend, but they got another player back. Offensive tackle Jason Peacock returned to workouts and worked with the second team, along with returning starter Alvin Bailey. Line coach Chris Klenakis said not to read too much into the depth chart for the moment.
"I like to look at different combinations in the spring," Klenakis said. "I think if you remember my first spring here, we had Seth Oxner at both guard and center and Travis Swanson at different positions. You want to look at every possibility and give everyone as much knowledge as you can. I want to see players in different situations and combos. You look at players in different units."
The looks at linebacker have been varied, too. Austin Jones, junior transfer from the Air Force Academy, worked some with the first unit along side Wright.
"He was productive in the scrimmage," Johnson said. "He had some good plays. But he has things to work on. He's like a lot of them. There are good things and highs and lows."
How did Wright look in the scrimmage?
"He did some good things and was okay," Johnson said. "But he has some things that need to be improved. I think when you put in the tape, everyone can see their mistakes. We are just trying to clean things up. We still have a long ways to go."
Cornerback Tevin Mitchel missed the scrimmage with hamstring problem. He tried to practice Tuesday and made it about 20 minutes before grabbing the leg and stepping to the side.