There's one in-state high school football star who knows what makes University of Arkansas head football coach Bobby Petrino tick better than anyone else.
He just happens to have the same name.
Fayetteville High senior Bobby Petrino (5-8, 180, 4.6), who will be on display in this weekend's McDonald's Select 7-on-7 tournament at the UA, is very comfortable being the namesake to one of the most popular guys in the state.
"There's pressure because everyone knows who you are and who your dad is," Petrino said. "But it so nice having a dad who knows pretty much all there is to know about football."
Petrino – whose full name is Robert James Petrino and is not a Jr. - is expected to play a major role for the Purple Bulldogs this season according to Fayetteville head coach Daryl Patton, whose program will be trying to win back-to-back Class 7A state championships.
"He's going to be very good for us," Patton said. "He is not very big, but has been very well-coached, has got great fundamentals, breaks on the ball very well. He will take (UAPB signee) Gionni Harris' spot for us, playing some wide receiver, playing safety and will return punts and kickoffs for us."
That has Petrino raring to go.
"It just gives me a lot of ways to make plays," Petrino said.
Petrino started at running back and safety last season at Greater Atlanta Christian, which also featured sophomore Steven Atwater, son of the former Razorback standout Steve Atwater.
That came a year after Petrino started at safety as a sophomore and his older brother Nick at quarterback for Louisville (KY) Trinity as the pair helped lead them to a state title in the Bluegrass State's top classification.
"People think that being big is everything in football, but it's really the size of your heart that matters the most," GAC head coach Jimmy Chupp told the Gwinnett Daily Post. "Bobby has a really big heart. He'll battle you and we saw that right away."
Petrino had nearly 1,000 yards in his first year playing running back.
"Bobby's an elusive runner," Chupp said. "He gets a lot of yards on his own. Defensively, he's very aggressive. He gets great leverage on his tackles. He doesn't miss."
Petrino said the transition from Atlanta to Fayetteville has been an easy one for him.
"The transition was pretty easy for me because we had football workouts right away and so I got to meet a lot of people," Petrino said. "I think we are pretty solid. We have a lot of seniors, a lot of talent and some guys with good experience."
His sister Katie helped lead Fayetteville to the Class 7A state title game as an infielder and pitcher and was on a state golf championship team at GAC.
"We're real competitive, especially on the golf course," Petrino said. "She usually beats me. She's a really good softball player."
Petrino, whose dad had a successful four-year run at Louisville before coaching the Falcons, is looking forward to college Saturdays once again.
"It is going to be a lot nicer," Petrino said. "I didn't really like the NFL much. It was more of a business lifestyle. I like the college atmosphere much better."
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