I’m Excited

Bobby Petrino“I’m excited.  I’m ready to go.”  That is how Arkansas football coach Bobby Petrino ended his news conference on Thursday afternoon.  I am too Coach.

I have been trying to decide how to make this post for weeks.  Much of what I want to discuss has to do with the intangibles surrounding Coach Bobby Petrino (CBP).

First the tangibles:  CBP has developed a practice system that is (perhaps) the most efficient in the country.  Everything in practice is scripted and everyone has a critical part to play.  Something as simple as tossing a ball to a GA instead of handing it to him can get a player in trouble.  Coach wants to get the maximum out of the time allotted and he does that.  Because of the pace, practices are extremely hard.  Once the games begin, the players can have fun.  The players have worked so hard that the schemes have become second nature.  They no longer have to think about where to line up and how to react, they just do it.  With the speed of the game, particularly in the SEC, that is valuable time that is saved.

My friend Clay Henry, publisher of Hawgs Illustrated, has covered a lot of football in his career.  He has been to practices at Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Tulsa, Arkansas and other places, covering such coaches as Barry Switzer, Jimmy Johnson, Pat Jones, John Cooper, Lou Holtz, Ken Hatfield, etc.  He has stated that he has never seen anything quite like the way that CBP runs practice.

In these days of restricted roster size and restricted practice time, Bobby Petrino has found a way to get the most out of what he has.  He is also very focused on practicing good technique.  When you listen to his coaches show, you can hear him comment on a player “having his feet turned the right way.”  All of that pays off come game day.

I am a big believer that playing relaxed and having fun in games is the way to win.  CBP has a system that stresses just that.

Now the intangibles:  There is something about Coach Petrino’s attitude this year.  I noticed it in the SEC media days interviews.  I have noticed it his interview since.  It is nothing that he has said specifically.  He likes this team, but more than that I think he really believes in this team.  He seems to believe that they will win a lot more than the pundits have predicted.

According to Rece Davis on ESPN.com, “Arkansas has the toughest road schedule in the history of football. That might be a bit of hyperbole, but how would you like to stare at trips to Alabama, Florida, Ole Miss and LSU?”  If you can survive an SEC schedule, you can be competitive with nearly anyone in college football.

As Arkansas gets ready to play in the first SEC game of the 2009 season, I’m excited.  I think the Razorbacks will surprise this year with some unexpected wins.  But I don’t think that Coach Bobby Petrino will be surprised at all.

1 comment:

Malvie said...

I finally got home and got to read your post; excellent observations. Now, about that defense....or lack thereof...