After all, the other coaches in the Southeastern Conference had almost a one-year headstart on Petrino when it came to recruiting.
He, on the other hand, had less than two months to strike up a relationship with recruits, sit down with their families and hopefully get them to commit to the Razorbacks.
Along the way, Petrino used up plenty of minutes on his cell phone and logged thousands of miles on Arkansas' private plane. It has all led up to today — National Signing Day.
"It's been a grind for about six weeks," Tim Horton, Arkansas' recruiting coordinator and running backs coach, said Monday night following another long day.
Petrino won't know until the end of today as to how well his first recruiting class at Arkansas turned out, and whether all those days on the road paid off.
Arkansas' coaches are holding out hope that they can pick up a few more players at the last minute and cap off a recruiting class that was ranked No. 28 nationally by Scout.com on Tuesday.
Today is the first day football recruits can sign with a school.
"Really, I think (Petrino) has done better than what most coaches do when they're hired on that late of a date," said Greg Powers, a recruiting manager for Scout.com. "I mean, when you're hired on Dec. 11, that's right up against the dead period (when coaches are not allowed to talk to recruits).
"He not only shored up some of the other commitments that were on the fence, but he did a pretty good job of going out and re-establishing Arkansas ties with Arkansas prep head coaches, as well as establishing a recruiting base it seems like in Louisiana and Georgia."
Almost immediately after Petrino was introduced as Arkansas' coach, he and Horton — a holdover from Houston Nutt's staff last season — traveled around the state on the university's plane.
During a three-day stretch, they visited with around 12-13 recruits, who had committed to the Razorbacks before Nutt resigned Nov. 26. Oral commitments are non-binding, though, and recruits can change their minds.
"Thank God for the university plane because basically we would just fly and fly from here to here to here to here to here and get out and go see a kid, a parent and maybe a high school coach and then get back in the plane and go to the next town," Horton said.
Petrino and Horton had no choice but to cram in so many visits in such a short period of time. A dead period was about to begin in December, so it was critical that the new coach talk to recruits while he still had the chance.
"I really think it brought a sense of — oh, not closure — but hey, we do have a coach," Horton said. "I think if we hadn't done that, it would have really been a difficult, difficult situation because it would have been dead and (recruits) would not have gotten a chance to meet the new head coach before the Christmas holiday."
Horton said he won't know for sure until today, but he believes there is a chance that every recruit he and Petrino visited during those hectic three days will sign with the Razorbacks.
At first, Horton and Petrino handled most of the recruiting for Arkansas. But as Petrino hired assistants to his coaching staff, they helped talk to recruits and try to make up for lost time.
"There are a few (recruits) on the fence still, but as far as a whole, I think that they (the coaches) really salvaged a pretty good recruiting class," Powers said. "It started off as a good recruiting class, and I think it will end that way, as well."
UA COMMITMENTS 2008 (21)
Player Pos. Ht. Wt. 40 Time School
LaVunce Askew DL 6-3 278 4.8 Camden Fairview
Khiry Battle SS 6-1 205 4.5 Dacula, Ga.
Greg Childs WR 6-4 195 4.5 Warren
DeAnthony Curtis TB 5-11 211 4.41 Camden Fairview
Alfred Davis DL 6-1 295 College Park (Ga.) Banneker
Austin Eoff OL 6-5 305 Fort Smith Northside
Elton Ford LB 6-0 200 na Alphraetta (Ga.) Chattahoocie
Chris Gragg WR 6-3 186 4.5 Warren
Matt Hall OL 6-10 320 Russellville
Dennis Johnson RB 5-9 190 4.4 Texarkana
Basmine Jones CB/WR 6-0 195 4.5 Warren
Jerico Nelson ATH 5-10 205 4.4 Destrahan, La.
Anthony Oden OL 6-8 295 4.8 Indianapolis North
Jelani Smith LB 6-1 210 4.7 Abbeville (La.)
Zach Stadther DT 6-2 275 North Little Rock
Tramaine Thomas CB 6-1 175 4.5 Winne, Texas
Cruz Williams WR 6-5 205 4.4 Pulaski Academy
Tyler Wilson QB 6-3 185 4.6 Greenwood
Jarius Wright ATH 5-11 180 4.34 Warren
Tenarius Wright LB 6-2 225 4.7 Memphis Whitehaven
Jim Youngblood QB 6-3 217 4.69 Camden Fairview
FOOTBALL: Petrino Scrambles To Secure First R
Hawgs Daily Top Stories
TCU vs Iowa State primerAfter falling in double-overtime to Arkansas, TCU looks to get back to their winning ways against Iowa State.
Horned Frog Insider09/15/2016
The Ultimate Midlands TeamThere is a lot of talent in the Midlands region, with a vast majority of the highest rated recruits playing high school football in the Lone Star State. Which prospects made the…
These rival helmet color swaps are revoltingSwapping rival teams' helmet colors? It shouldn't have been done, but someone did it anyway.
Post-July 2017 Top 100 Player RankingsWith the July evaluation periods, Nike Skills Academy, adidas Nations and Under Armour's Elite 24 over, Scout's basketball recruiting team has updated the 2017 top 100. DeAndre…