Such was his message during Monday's press conference as the Razorbacks (1-2) tried to put a 35-7 loss behind them and look ahead to this Saturday's neutral site match-up with Texas A&M (3-0) at the Dallas Cowboys' new billion dollar stadium in Arlington.
"I'm disappointed in the Alabama game," Petrino said. "Offensively, we're a much better football team than that. We're very capable of executing better than that. Alabama is a good football team, very good defense, so you can't take anything away from them. There's a reason they're number three in the country. But I expected us to play better offensively.
"Defensively, we improved, " Petrino added. "We improved in the first half. We improved stopping the run. We still have to eliminate big plays. On their one 52-yard touchdown run, i think we missed four tackles. but other than that play, we tackled pretty well most of the game."
Alabama's 80-yard pass play was troublesome – especially because of its timing.
"We got beat on a deep ball as we got back in the game 14-7, where Rudell (Crim) is in great position, but just turned into the middle of the field instead of into the receiver," Petrino said. "We have to improve on our technique there. And then the disappointing part of our defense was the 99 1/2 yard drive they put together to really keep the ball and win the game."
Petrino saw special teams as a mixed bag.
"Special teams there were some high points and some bad points in the block," Petrino said. "But we improved on our kickoff cover, kicked the ball well and at times we punted the ball well and covered well.
"Our kickoff return team is still a unit that keeps playing well," Petrino said. " They work hard at it. Dennis Johnson is getting better at getting to his speed in the first 15 yards and that helps us. In three games, when you have three good kickoff returns, that helps you a lot."
Petrino was not pleased at all with his team's penalties.
"i'm upset with our penalties, particularly the 15-yard ones," Petrino said. "Three of them were completely stupid plays - penalties you should not ever make. One of them resulted in one of their players getting injured. That's upsetting to me. Because i really believe that you respect thh game and you play the game the way it's supposed to be played. Those are really dumb penalties. We get them corrected and make sure it doesn't happen again."
Alabama lost Dont'a Hightower for three or four months because of the play, but Petrino said Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban didn't say anything to him about it after the game.
"(It was) the cut block from behind," Petrino said. It wasn't a chop block. He cut him and he was running away from him. You don't do that."
You also don't lose your technique as a quarterback – which Petrino believes Ryan Mallett did in a 12-for-35 outing in which he passed for just 160 yards with one touchdown and one pick.
Mallett was sacked three times and hurried eight more.
"(It's about) getting his feet set, being comfortable with bodies flashing around him and things flashing in front of him," Petrino said. "There's never been a quarterback that's played this game that hasn't went through what Ryan did in the Alabama game - where the pass rush and the movement and the blitzes, distract your concentration and your vision and your ability to set your feet.
"There's never been one quarterback that has never been through that," Petrino continued. "He just has to understand that and come back from it and face it. Face that he didn't operate as well as he can with the pass rush and bodies flashing in front of him. and that's how you get better as a quarterback."
Petrino said it is certainly important for Mallett to rebound against Texas A&M.
"Real important," Petrino stressed. "He needs to have a good game. All other 10 guys do too. We need to do a better job in protection. We need to do a better job of covering up bodies and firming up the protection. We need to do a better job in our communication with our receivers. It's 11 man pass protection. All 11 guys have to do a better job and then we'll get back and execute like we did the first two games."
The receivers also can't have the drops against Alabama that they did per Petrino.
"Combination of everything," Petrino said. "Confidence, hurrying, taking your eyes off the ball, tighter coverage, the ball not being as accurate. They all add up."
The Arkansas head coach did give Alabama's team and fans credit for disrupting the Razorbacks' offense.
"It did at times," Petrino said. "They're very well educated. Every time we had to make checks, they got louder and louder. and we practiced the heck out of it. We had all the crowd noise out there at practice and worked hard at it. I think that the noise part of it and the way we practiced it was very similar.
"The movement and the speed of the blitzes and the line movements was completely different than what we practiced," Petrino added. "The players doing them were a little quicker, a little faster, slanted, were a little bigger than our scout team doing it."
On the other side of the ball, he did see the improvement in the defense – at least some of it – that he hoped for after a 52-41 home loss to Georgia.
"Well, mainly the run fits, the tackling, sprinting to the ball," Petrino said. "Our guys ran to the ball and they played with good emotion. Again, you can't take the 52-yard run out because that was a big play in the game. But once you do take that play out, they had 40 other rushes in the game and averaged 2.0 yards on those other 40 rushes. That's pretty good."
Petrino said after the Alabama loss that he didn't feel like his team went down to Tuscaloosa believing it could win.
He thinks that will change against Texas A&M.
"I think we'll be ready to go down there and compete and believe that we can get it done," Petrino said. "That's what we need to do and we need to do a great job as a coaching staff that we make sure when we watch the video and break down the video, d we understand what our game plan is, that we have the confidence that we can go make plays and win the game."
How to turn the Bama loss into a positive?
"What i told the team last night is, we've played two very good football teams," Petrino said. "They're fast, they're big, they're physical. And we should be a better football team because of it. As long as we have a great attitude, as long as we stick together as a team abnd and as long as we continue to have good team chemistry.
"If that affects any of them then the experience of playing those two top quality football teams hurts us more than it helps us," Petrino said. "That's that balance. What hurts you and what helps you the most - playing three non-conference games that you should win and get confidence in doing that? Or playing two very good, hard-fought football teams and getting confidence from that.
"I think our players will react good to it," Petrino continued. "I think they understand that we have to keep a good attitude, that these were good football teams. We saw on video where we can do better, where we can improve from it. And that's really the theme we have to do this week as a coaching staff is, stay together, stay positive, have enough courage and enough toughness to continue to put your heart and your soul into the work like our guys did the first three weeks.
"We've practiced hard, we've prepared hard and we're 1-2," Petrino continued. "That's hard. That's hard to deal with, but the fact of the matter is, the two teams who beat us are pretty good."