That was the news from the Arkansas head coach five days after the close of spring drills.
Petrino said things could change after summer workouts and two-a-days in August. But his post-spring review included high remarks for both Mallett and Wilson, the top two quarterbacks on the depth chart throughout the 15 workouts in March and April.
Petrino spent the first part of his spring review praising the improvement by the defense, but most of it was reserved for the front seven, especially the defensive line. He singled out cornerback Isaac Madison for an impressive spring, but noted the secondary could use the competition at safety and cornerback from a highly regarded recruiting class.
As always, quarterback play seems to carry the most interest from fans. The highly anticipated battle between Mallett and Wilson was the focal point throughout the spring and proved to be a healthy battle. Mallett got most of the snaps with the first team offense so Petrino's decision that Mallett was the first teamer in his review did not surprise.
But those that thought Wilson impressed, too, probably were on target. Petrino said Mallett had a better overall understanding of the offense, but Wilson's passing ability was a major plus, too.
"If we were playing Saturday, Mallett would start," Petrino said. "The first series of the second quarter I'd bring in Tyler and let him play that first series. Jim Youngblood would be third.
"We do have a long time to go before that opening game. I've done that before throughout the entire season, where the backup came in and played the first series of every second quarter. I actually got that from Howard Schnellenberger. It worked out great for us. It's something he did his entire time at the University of Miami and when he was at Louisville -- it didn't matter who the starter was.
"That's what I'd do if we were playing Saturday, but we aren't playing Saturday. We have a long way to go and the evaluating process will continue. We'll do that throughout the summer and make sure they are doing everything right, and into two-a-days."
Did Wilson's spring move make that decision difficult?
"Not at all, there was no pressure," Petrino said. "He knows what he needs to do to win the job or get more playing time and that's improve from underneath the center, improve the mesh points of the run game and really understand the entire package of the offense.
"Like I always said and I've told Tyler this, when he's standing there and he just has to throw the football, he's as good as there is. I really believe that. His instincts, his vision, his ability to just throw it -- but there is more to playing quarterback than just that. He improved throughout the spring on that from over the winter in understanding the position, but it's still something he has a ways to go."
Mallett's first strength, Petrino said, is his "overall knowledge of what we are trying to do offensively, his ability to run the show, get the play, get in the huddle, get to the line of scrimmage and know whether it's a good play or a bad play. He certainly can throw the ball down the field and operate the quick passing game as long as he gets his feet set. The thing he has to show is more consistency, his sets, decision making and delivery. He has a tendency when he doesn't do something right, get down on himself and let it effect the next play. That's got to go away right now."
The defense made it hard on both quarterbacks at times.
"Defensively, we improved a lot," Petrino said. "I'm very impressed our front four. We have a chance to be a good defensive line. We are going to need one or two guys to come in and add depth and some size on the front. Our linebackers are much better. A year of experience and a year of understanding the defense made us play a lot faster.
"Jerry Franklin has shown he can be a great player there. Wendel Davis is showing he is getting comfortable there and becoming a much better player."
Petrino wasn't satisfied with the running game. "There were times in the spring I thought we were getting it, then in the spring game we took a step backwards in the running game," Petrino said. "Some of that is good to see. A guy like Mitch Petrus had a real good spring, can be a big force for our offensive line. This was the first time (line coach Mike) Summers was on the sideline. So (Petrus) had to get to the line, back in the huddle and back to the line and perform and he didn't perform as well as he did the rest of the spring. So the understanding is something we have to learn and do a better job."
The backfield was in constant rotation because of spring injuries. Michael Smith got a little non-contact work the last week at running back, but the Hogs had to battle keeping good depth on the field at that position.
Freshman Knile Davis, midterm enrollee, went down with a broken ankle in the second week. He had surgery to repair the break with a bigger plate and a bigger screw in a spot that had been fixed in high school. Brandon Barnett, who missed two weeks because of the death of his stepfather, sustained a broken leg in the third week, just when he started to step up. He also had surgery.
Johnson started fast, but an ankle injury slowed him in the second week and he really never regained his freshness or the swagger that he finished the season with against LSU.
Broderick Green, transfer from Southern Cal, got a lot of work in short yardage, but his status is still clouded for the fall. The school is still awaiting word on an appeal to the NCAA for immediate eligibility.
One of the many bright spots was the deep passing game with Joe Adams, Jarius Wright, London Crawford, Greg Childs and Reggie Fish. Tight end D. J. Williams also had a fine spring, improving his ability to block in the running game. Ben Cleveland and Chris Gragg also had solid springs, although Gragg missed the final two weeks with a high ankle sprain. Cleveland's blocking drew praise from Petrino.
"I felt like the quarterbacks and receivers started to develop a good understanding of the passing game," Petrino said. "Our timing, our ability to throw the ball deep, we really improved there. I know the receivers better now.
The quarterbacks know them better and what their strengths are."
Petrino liked the way pass protection improved and singled out DeMarcus Love's play. Love moved from guard to strongside tackle.
"That's a good move for us," Petrino said. "He helps us there."
Elsewhere in the offensive line, line coach Mike Summers experimented at center and guard looking for different combinations. Wade Grayson got most of the work with the first team at center with Seth Oxner moving from guard to center throughout the spring.
As far as special teams, Petrino wants more consistency from placekicker Alex Tejada. "Alex just has to keep his leg speed going," Petrino said. "He has a tendency to try to punch it. When he swings his leg with speed, he does fine. That's what (special teams coach) John L. Smith saw and wants Alex to work on."