In previous years, under a lesser offensive genius mind you, the Arkansas Razorbacks have been on the brink.
The team, the fans, hell the entire state could see the promised land. The land that Houston Dale Nutt promised us all.
National prominence, and a well respected program that could play with the likes of any “powerhouse” team.
In his tenure, Houston Nutt got the Hogs close, but seemingly always managed to find a way to stumble along the way.
I can’t help but wonder that if maybe Coach Bobby Petrino had been at the helm, Arkansas would have already accomplished what he is in the process of building.
A winning program.
As far as I can remember, Hog fans have had a striking resemblance to that of a Chicago Cub fan, next year is our year. Arkansas has had the talent, but lacked the leadership and schemes to reach the summit.
While all of the coaching staffs that have held any tenure at the University of Arkansas have shown flashes of excellence, none have been able to shine.
It is my belief, that Arkansas Razorback fans are seeing that change, right in front of their eyes.
I recall in seasons past, Hog fans talking about upcoming games as if they were getting ready to see David take on Goliath. No one seemed to believe that the Razorbacks could outright win the game without a little help and a lot of answered prayers.
But now it is evident in messages boards, and conversations throughout the country, even sitting at (3-1) (1-1) the Arkansas Razorbacks are legit.
There seems to be a certain amount of confidence surrounding the state of Arkansas. Many old timers I’ve spoken with have trouble recalling the Hogs fielding a team with the raw talent that the 2010 squad possesses, and the talent that the Arkansas coaching staff is still bringing in.
And call me crazy, but I believe that the 24-20 loss at the hands of Alabama, is a blessing in disguise.
During the 4th quarter of the Georgia game, I heard many Arkansas fans stating, “Here we go again.”
And when Arkansas stopped the Bulldogs with 47 seconds on the clock, many said: “If we can just get into field goal range….”
Fans had grown accustomed to the antics of the former regime.
Not Coach Bobby Petrino.
He expects his team to execute in the way that he knows they can, he also expects them to play Arkansas football.
Going into the Alabama game, Coach Petrino gave a message to the fans as well as his players:
” We have to really understand as a team that we don’t need to go out and do anything extraordinary to win the game. We need to go out and play Razorback football and we’ll have an opportunity to win the game.”
While I’m not trying to bash Houston Dale Nutt or anything of that sort, I think that Coach Bobby Petrino is a much better fit and has this program headed in the right direction.
There have been no reports of a Lincoln, Nebraska bound plane sitting on the runway of XNA. There have been no distractions off the field from the one guy, whose sole responsibility is to maintain stability in the program.
With Petrino at the helm, there are no more hopes of a 7 win season.
Petrino has instilled in not only the players, but the fan base that the Arkansas Razorbacks are going to win.
And while this has started with a rocket armed kid from Texarkana, it will not end there. That same kid decided to turn down the NFL and return to his beloved Hogs. He wanted to instill in the players and the fans, the same mentality that Coach Petrino had sold him. Arkansas is going to compete for SEC titles. And winning SEC titles puts that team in contention for National Championships.
Arkansas may not reach the summit with Ryan Mallett as the quarterback, although there are still 8 games to play, but Coach Bobby Petrino is building something much bigger than one good season.
One important thing for all Hog fans to remember is that, even though Ryan Mallett will undoubtedly move on to the NFL in 2011, rest assured that Coach Petrino already has a pretty good idea of what to expect.
He’s not just building a good program for a state that has seen the promised land, but building a great program that will take the state to that promised land.