John L. Smith is 63 yrs old, maybe Paul Petrino will eventually be hogs coach

John L. Smith
Image by University of Arkansas

I am not too excited about John L. Smith, but things may work out fine eventually. We have a great team and staff going into this fall. Just look at the facts. Arkansas Sports 360 reported on the great performance Tyler Wilson gave in the spring game.

Having John L. Smith this year gives Jeff Long time to find a big name or then fall back to someone on the staff. I think Paul Petrino may be the best choice in the long run. Take a look at this article below that was written a few days ago.

Paul Petrino’s Last Name Should Not Prevent Him From Becoming Arkansas’ Interim Coach

Img_0322_tiny by Doc Harper on Apr 19, 2012 9:03 AM CDT in Arkansas Razorback Football

It makes perfect sense why anyone would be hesitant to replace Bobby Petrino with his brother Paul. There’s no getting around that last name. They do have a brotherly resemblance. You can even find similarities in the way they speak. Would people ask Paul about Bobby at SEC Media Days and every other press conference thereafter? Yes. Would television announcers talk about Bobby anytime the cameras found Paul calling plays on the sideline? Pretty much. Arkansas obviously wants to distance itself from Bobby Petrino. He was only referred to as “the former coach” in the press release announcing Jessica Dorrell’s resignation.

As we all know, Long was labeled with terms like integrity and dignity because he made what was obviously the correct decision despite the possibility of harsh public backlash. Not hiring Paul Petrino strictly because of the worry of awkwardness goes against the same principles that made Long bravely make the decision to fire Bobby in the first place.


This season is going to be awkward. It will be no matter who the head coach is, but particularly if the coach is an interim from within the current staff. Even if Tim Horton is the coach and Paul never talks to the media, Bobby Petrino’s shadow will be in Fayetteville this season. Tim Horton would also get asked about Petrino at SEC Media Days. Petrino will be mentioned in every game broadcast even if Paul is sitting in the booth. Out-of-state media will continue to ask about him. It will be in every preseason magazine and television show. Tyler Wilson is too associated with him. Knile Davis is too associated with him. Even if Paul Petrino resigned, Bobby will be discussed during games. If Arkansas goes 12-0, Bobby Petrino’s saga will come up.

If Paul Petrino has shown anything in the past week, he’s capable of handling those questions. He hasn’t dodged anything and comes across as honest, poised, and focused on the opportunity at hand. He’s made it clear that becoming a head coach is his goal, and may even be anxious to deal with the questions and prove his mettle. If nothing else, public relations case studies show It would be better for the Razorback program if he’s able to handle the same questions from out-of-state media directly than by staying in the background while someone else speaks for him. It would limit whispers of “what must Paul be thinking?” and “how is the team handling playing for Bobby’s brother?”

Giving Paul Petrino the keys to 2012 would be a gutsy move, but so was firing Bobby. Long knows if the next coach isn’t able to win on Bobby Petrino’s level, donations and ticket sales my slide back down, and fans may begin to question Long’s abilities in his own job. That’s as risky as a move can be for an athletic director, but Long did it anyway because it was right. If Long believes the best candidate on staff is Paul Petrino, allowing him to become interim head coach is right. If his last name is too much, Long should not have allowed Bobby to hire him.

A huge part of Bobby Petrino’s dismissal was the result of the HR nightmare of hiring his mistress without disclosing the information. I’m not a legal expert, and I don’t know how passing over a job candidate just because he happens to be related to a disliked person would fall under any labor law, but it seems unfair. By giving Paul a shot, Jeff Long would be saying, “Everyone gets an equal shot here. If you break the rules, you’ll be gone. If you do a good job and are qualified, we’ll promote you when we can. No favorites. It’s a level field.” Of course, Jeff Long would never publicly say he wouldn’t hire Paul because he’s Bobby’s brother. He’d explain the positive qualities of whoever is chosen and say those were the determining factors, which in and of itself would be fair.

This is not an endorsement of Paul Petrino to become the interim coach. He does have more years as a coordinator than anyone on the staff, and would certainly continue the same system, style, verbage, and atmosphere that the team enjoyed in recent seasons under Bobby. Other members of the staff are also qualified (though it does seem counter-productive to hand the Tim Horton the recruiting limitations that come with being head coach).

Jeff Long wasn’t afraid to stand in the face of unpopular opinion when he fired Bobby. He shouldn’t be afraid of awkwardness coming from Paul’s last name.

Doc Harper is a regular contributor to and You can email him at and follow his thoughts and observations on Twitter @doc_harper.


This year Arkansas will have the best quarterback in the SEC!!!

Tyler Wilson has been great on the field and in the locker room for Arkansas this spring.
Image by Mark Wagner

Tyler Wilson has been great on the field and in the locker room for Arkansas this spring.

More on Paul Petrino’s past work:

Offensive Coordinator & Quarterback Coach
Years at School: 3Recruiting Zone:Missouri, Kentucky, Dallas, All QuarterbacksBio 
  Hometown: Helena, Mont.
College: Carroll College, 1989
Years Title Location
2012-Present Offensive Coordinator & Quarterback Coach Arkansas
2010-2011 Offensive Coordinator & Wide Receivers Coach Illinois
2008-2009 Offensive Coordinator & Wide Receivers Coach Arkansas
2007 Wide Receivers Coach Atlanta Falcons
2003-2006 Offensive Coordinator & Wide Receivers Coach Louisville
1998-2000 Offensive Coordinator & Wide Receivers CoachRelated posts:

John L. Smith is 63 yrs old, maybe Paul Petrino will eventually be hogs coach April 23, 2012 – 2:47 pm

John L. Smith new razorback coach, Who is he? April 23, 2012 – 2:19 pm


Bobby Petrino’s phone records come out April 12, 2012 – 6:50 am

Jessica Dorrell and Bobby Petrino on ESPN together in 2011 April 12, 2012 – 6:38 am


How about a coach swap? :Charlie Strong to Arkansas and Bobby Petrino to Louisville April 11, 2012 – 7:37 am


Bobby Petrino statement April 11, 2012 – 6:51 am


Bobby Petrino fired, but now seeking forgiveness April 11, 2012 – 6:20 am


Video and transcript of Jeff Long’s press conference announcing firing of Bobby Petrino April 11, 2012 – 5:53 am


Bobby Petrino’s arrogance led to his downfall April 10, 2012 – 3:46 pm



Petrino 911 Call – Jessica Dorrell And Bobby Petrino Refuse Help April 9, 2012 – 7:03 am


Earlier concerns about Petrino’s character are coming back up again April 9, 2012 – 6:24 am


Bobby Petrino has achieved the American Dream, but still is looking for something more April 8, 2012 – 1:46 pm

Rex Nelson speculates that Petrino may be fired because “…trust has been so broken…” April 8, 2012 – 12:06 pm

Lying about Jessica Dorrell may get Bobby Petrino in a lot of trouble April 7, 2012 – 1:38 pm

Can Bobby Petrino, Tom Brady and Coldplay all find the satisfaction they are seeking? April 6, 2012 – 2:15 pm 

Bobby Petrino to survive this wreck? April 6, 2012 – 11:08 am

Pictures of Bobby Petrino April 6, 2012 – 9:11 am

Who is Jessica Dorrell? (with pictures) April 6, 2012 – 9:06 am

Major coverage of Bobby Petrino mistake April 6, 2012 – 6:51 am

What will be Jeff Long’s decision on Bobby Petrino? April 6, 2012 – 5:36 am

Bobby Petrino admits to an affair April 6, 2012 – 4:41 am

What impact will breaking trust with Bobby Petrino’s family have? April 6, 2012 – 4:24 am

Two choices now for Bobby Petrino: Follow the path of purity or impurity

If Bobby thinks he is bruised now, then he needs to read about the guy in Proverbs 7:10-27 and what happened to him. I really am hoping that Bobby Petrino can put his marriage back together. He has a clear choice between two paths. In the sermon at Fellowship Bible Church at July 24, 2011, […]

Jessica Dorrell was taking a long ride with Bobby Petrino April 5, 2012 – 4:52 pm

Bobby Petrino hurt in wreck (picture included) April 2, 2012 – 9:31 am


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