He got his wish with six days to spare.
The university announced Tuesday that Joe Sheehan, who has spent the past 11 years on the training staff of the Jacksonville Jaguars, has been hired as Arkansas' coordinator of athletic training and sports medicine.
Sheehan replaces longtime trainer Dean Weber, who moved into an administrative role with the athletic department last week.
"Our athletic training staff will work tirelessly to provide state of the art medical care as well as assisting in developing innovative training methods to allow our young men and women to compete successfully at the highest levels," Sheehan said in a university statement.
Sheehan first joined the Jaguars in 1997 as a seasonal athletic trainer. In 1999 he was hired full-time as an assistant athletic trainer. Sheehan also worked as Jacksonville's director of rehabilitation for the past three years.
He will be reunited with Petrino at Arkansas. The two worked in Jacksonville together from 1999-2001, when Petrino was the Jaguars offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
"Our student-athletes will benefit from his extensive knowledge and his experience at the professional sports level," Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long said in the university release. "He is widely recognized for his expertise in injury rehabilitation as well as his pro-active approach in employing preventive training methods."
Linebacker Wendel Davis (knee and hand) and defensive tackle Ernest Mitchell (knee) are among those still trying to bounce back from injuries that sidelined them in the spring.
Defensive line coach Bobby Allen said Mitchell, one of Arkansas' most experienced defensive linemen, will be evaluated on a day-to-day basis. Davis also will be on the field, but linebackers coach Reggie Johnson said he won't be 100 percent for the start of camp.
"It will be down the road before he can jump in there and feel good," Johnson said. "I've been preparing as though I won't have him, which is the way I have to approach it."
Two others — wide receiver Crosby Tuck (arm) and tight end Ben Cleveland (toe and neck) — are expected to be full speed.
Arkansas' freshmen will get some extra work when preseason practice begins.
Offensive coordinator Paul Petrino said the Razorbacks plan to get the newcomers on the field before the rest of the returning players to help them get acclimated to Arkansas' routine.
"We'll have them out there for the first part of practice the first couple of days," Paul Petrino said. "We'll do all our individual drills and then bring the rest of the team out and kind of just start practice over."
The Razorbacks will count on freshmen to contribute immediately at positions like receiver, running back and linebacker.
Some likely candidates for playing time include running back De'Anthony Curtis, linebacker Tenarius Wright, and receivers Joe Adams and Jarius Wright.
"Maybe more than one (will start)," Bobby Petrino said. "We're certainly going to give them the opportunity. And it is realistic."
Arkansas fans wanting to watch preseason practice may get their chance.
Petrino said he is planning to keep practices open for a certain amount of time, but hadn't solidified plans as of Tuesday. Arkansas practices were open during the spring.
"We're going to have it open for a little while," Petrino said. "I haven't set an exact date yet, but certainly the first five days in the climatization period."
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