"I think that's what coach calls it," said Willy Robinson, defensive coordinator. "It's a swagger. This team is very confident. I think there is still room for improvement, especially in the academics. But the way they work, the way they practice and I think the way they'll play is much different."
"I think what happens is that a bond develops when you work as hard as we do," said Chris Klenakis, offensive line coach. "They put in the time together working this way and they respect each other, know each other and develop a bond like a brother. I think we have that.
"When you have that, you know when to work and when to have fun. These guys do have fun together in the locker room and around each other away from the game. You see that every day. When you see a group pay the price as far as work, there is that tendency to let them go a little bit as far as having fun. The harder they work, the better that bond comes together.
"I think the team building has been good with this bunch. I sense that these guys know how to grind -- and we do grind -- and also know when it's time to have fun with each other. I try to do that. I try to turn it on when we go through the door to the field and then turn it off a little when we come back off. I want to find out about them as persons and love on them off the field."
Petrino thought that's what the media would find when they broke from his group interview to start Saturday morning.
"I think you will have fun around our players," Petrino told the media. "I think they are going to enjoy their time with you and I'm going to enjoy it, too."
Petrino enjoying his time with the media?
It seemed so. He made a couple of strolls through the session late in the morning to chat with reporters. There was no hurry to get back to his office to prepare for a pair of practices in the afternoon and evening. Some have suggested that's a confidence in what he's assembled. Perhaps.
Linebacker Jerry Franklin said he senses a relaxed Petrino to start the third year. He began to feel that this summer.
"He's still all business on the field, but there are even times then where he comes over to congratulate you on a play or recognizes that you get it," Franklin said. "Off the field, though, he's a lot different. He has become a joke guy. He's going to get you. He's going to give you a fun zing, a little jab. He didn't do that until this year, this summer.
"If he's in the weight room, he's going to come over and say something to you. He'll have something for you. It's very fun."
Franklin said it's amazing to see the transformation.
"I think it's become Fun U here now," he said. "Really, I think we are having a lot of fun. But I think it starts with the way we work. If you work hard and get things done in the weight room, on the field and in the meeting room, Coach P is going to let you have some fun. He can really be a comedian at time, but it's sometimes real dry. Some might not recognize it, but I do.
"But the key is that you have to work. You don't -- it probably is going to be different around him. We all know how to work now and we make sure to push each other in the right direction. Then you can make it fun when you are done."
Jake Bequette, defensive end, said it's all about getting comfortable with each other.
"I agree with Jerry," he said. "Coach Petrino is still his same self. But I think it's like any relationship, it grows and you become closer. If you work for him -- if you give effort consistently -- he appreciates that and then there becomes a comfort level.
"We have a more veteran group that has been around him. We know what Coach Petrino demands. We produce effort and he recognizes that. I do think he's having more fun around us because of that."
Defensive tackle Lavunce Askew raised his eyebrows when asked if Petrino had any comedic tendencies.
"Naw," Askew said. "Jerry said that? I haven't seen it. But he probably is a little more relaxed.
"I will say I enjoy football, but I always have. It's the only place where you can hit someone, deliver the punishment. You get to hit someone and don't get in trouble. I love that part of the game. Now that's the fun for me in all of this. I look forward to putting on pads and hitting."
That's coming. The first full contact hits Monday when leg pads add to shoulder pads that will appear on the weekend.
That will be fun for some of the linemen. It's also fun for the coaches. They'll get their first look at some of the newcomers. Defensive end coach Steve Caldwell can't wait to see true freshman Chris Smith put on the pads.
"From what I've seen, he's quite an athlete," Caldwell said. "He has that great first step and quickness and he's got the long arms you absolutely love on a pass rush guy. But we haven't put on pads yet. I have seen some real aggressiveness in our first two workouts with Chris, but it hasn't been with pads. If he does the same things in pads it will be fun to see."
It will be fun if Smith can contribute this year as a pass rush specialist. The Hogs could use every bit of speed off the edge. It's an asset that will make this defense much better. Can Smith help this year?
"We'll see," Caldwell said. "We have to see how fast he catches on. He has some intangibles that can help us, that's for sure. He's got real athletic ability. We are going to try to give him some things and try to put him in certain situations. We'll give him a little at a time, then add to it as we go."
Caldwell remembers something similar with Will Overstreet, then a freshman, at Tennessee during a national title campaign.
"I think the first game of the year he got one play," Caldwell said. "Two weeks later he got 10. In the national title game, he got 75 percent of the snaps. I'm not saying Chris can develop that fast, but it's been done. You just have to start with a limited package and try to add to it."
Seeing players like Chris Smith come through the door and step onto the field probably adds to everyone's swagger.
Bobby Petrino addresses the assembled media.
Ryan Mallett stayed busy through the day.
Bobby Petrino smiles at a question.
Photos by Marc F. Henning, Hawgs Illustrated