Re-hire Bobby Petrino as Arkansas Razorbacks Head Coach

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Re-hire Bobby Petrino as Coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks Football Team

Bobby Petrino should be re-hired as coach for the Arkansas Razorbacks.  The last several years have been unacceptable for the players, the students, and the fans.  Chad Morris should be fired effective immediately.  The damage is approaching irreparable, so action must be taken now.

A summary comment will follow at the end of the arguments.

Arguments For Re-hiring Bobby Petrino

— Bobby Petrino has proven himself a winner in college football.  His prior record at Arkansas was 34-17.  (17-15 in the SEC)  Petrino’s overall record in college football is 119-56.

— Petrino has a stellar reputation for developing players, something crucial for an SEC team competing for recruits against Alabama, LSU, Texas, et al.  Lamar Jackson was a 3-star recruit (247sports.com), and went on to bring the Heisman trophy back to Louisville.  Quarterback Ryan Mallett had a 43% completion rate his sole year at Michigan.  Under Petrino, he steadily moved up to a 65% completion rate. (+22)

— Arkansas needs a change of culture.  The last several years have been littered with empty marketing slogans, a lack of discipline, and an overall unseriousness about what it means to be a Razorback player or fan.  Arkansas needs someone to fight for them, and Petrino is a fighter.  He may not be a ‘player’s coach’, but sometimes in life working hard and being tough can be a rewarding experience.

— Coach Petrino has not directly voiced he wants to be back at Arkansas, but there have been many indications that he may want the job.  Having the opportunity to right a wrong or get a second chance at a missed opportunity has also been an incredible motivator throughout modern history.  If he wants to be here, he will fight like hell, travel with the team for road games, and do what it takes to win.

— Petrino has always been very vocally supportive of playing games in Little Rock.  After he left, there has been more and more pushback from university management against having competitive games played at War Memorial Stadium.  There have also been efforts to minimize the number of games played there, if not eradicate.  Petrino understands what the Razorbacks mean to the entire state, and how having that connection in Little Rock is good for fans spanning from Jonesboro to Texarkana.

Rebuttals to Arguments Against Re-hiring Bobby Petrino

— “Petrino should not be allowed to return to Arkansas because of his public moral failure 7+ years ago.”  People make mistakes in life, even those that excel in art, sports, government, et al.  (Most) everyone loves a redemption story.  Allowing Petrino to come back to coach at Arkansas is not a  dismissal of what came before.  Likewise, he has already payed that price.

— “Arkansas fans will not accept him being coach again.”  At a recent Little Rock Touchdown Club, he received a long, standing ovation. (See: https://youtu.be/BaSoWw1p-2o)  The vast amount of fans in Arkansas and around the world have already made peace with what happened long ago.

— “Hire Petrino?  He just got fired from Louisville!”  There have been conflicting reports coming out of Louisville from opposing sides, and not being from that football family, don’t feel prepared to wade in.  However, I will add that having a sub-par year every once in awhile can be the nature of the beast that is college athletics.  Additionally, among their brutal schedule (without the recently departed Lamar Jackson) that last year of Petrino’s Louisville tenure was a non-conference game against Alabama, as well as eventual National Championship winners Clemson.  Petrino’s record at his second stint at Louisville was 77-35.

— “Will kids want to come play for Petrino?”  While not known for being a ‘player’s coach’, Petrino has an incredible record of success in college football.  He just produced an amazing Heisman trophy winner, and has consistently taken his teams to bowl games.  I don’t think something that happened when the kid was 9 or 10 years old and is now ancient history will override that or even enter into the calculus.

Summary

Bobby Petrino should be re-hired as coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks football team.  Chad Morris should be fired, effective immediately, before any more irreparable damage is done.  Coach Petrino has consistently been successful and will be fully engaged— fighting like hell to get us back in competition with the top teams of the SEC.

Epilogue

Someone mentioned to me the other day how Coach Bielema rarely seemed to engage with players on the sidelines during entire football games.  While Chad Morris has certainly failed at leading the Razorbacks, and despite some issues like not traveling with the team for road games— I do think he deserves some credit for trying.  Now we need that fiery coach who will be demanding officials look players in the eye, have a zero bullshit mentality, tell the Les Miles’ of the world how he really feels, and bring the Razorbacks back into the conversation.  GO HOGS.