Accountability The Key For Razorbacks

FAYETTEVILLE — A big sign hangs above the door leading into Arkansas' locker room.

It's hard for players to miss when they walk in and out every day.

There's another sign on the other end of the hallway — just above the elevator — for players to glance at on their way home.

The two-word message, written in red lettering, sounds simple: "Be Accountable." But players said it isn't being taken lightly.

"It's nonstop every day," safety Dallas Washington said. "It's a thing they pound it in your head every day. Every day it's accountability, accountability. Can your teammates and the coaches count on you?"

Accountability has become the mantra of Arkansas' first preseason under new coach Bobby Petrino. On the field, off the field, in the classroom or in meetings, Arkansas coaches are reminding players that they're looking for someone they can depend on in 2008.

Washington said he probably hears the phrase about 20 times a day during preseason practices. Tight end Andrew Davie said it's something "force fed" to the Razorbacks.

"If you're not accountable for your own stuff, how are you going to do it?" Davie said. "You get guys around places that want to talk and want to be loud and all that stuff, and yet, they can't take care of themselves.

"The first thing you've got to do is you've got to be accountable for yourself before you can be accountable for anybody else."

But that's not the only definition of the word.

Learning the playbook is important part of accountability to the Razorbacks. So is executing it in practice. And practicing hard.

Arkansas offensive coordinator Paul Petrino said one of the most obvious signs of accountability comes on the field this summer.

"We're not going out there to get through practice," Paul Petrino said. "We're going out there to work hard and be the very best we can be. That's what we need to understand.

"That's being accountable."

Accountability has become an even bigger topic for the Razorbacks after the tumultuous offseason. Six players were arrested — and another had a run-in with police — in a matter of months. The problems have led two players, linebacker Freddy Burton and receiver Marques Wade, to be suspended for two games.

Washington said they serve as timely lessons in accountability for everyone this summer.

"If you don't do the right thing off the field then you can't be used on the field," he said.

Defensive coordinator Willy Robinson believes the message is being hammered home around the Broyles Center. And it's catching on.

So he's hoping the phrase will have an impact on the Hogs now and in years to come.

"If they learn those things, it will even carry over to the rest of their lives," Robinson said. "You've got to learn it somewhere. I don't think anybody coaches it better than Coach Petrino."

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