A Few Reasons on the Fringes of Football
When you play for the University of Arkansas, you are a popular brother of a long, extended family not only of a large portion of the three million or so people inside our state’s borders, but also a family which includes hundreds of thousands, if not millions, who live outside Arkansas and follow the Razorbacks because they carry the Razorbacks as part of “home” with them. The extended family idea is not a nice, feel-good way to make you feel welcome. It’s real.
Like our brother, we have your back.
Even without name recognition from football, once you are here for a short time, you can connect with anyone with Arkansas ties in one or two calls even without facebook. If you can dream that such a world exists, the reality is that these connections are the sort that brought Bobby Petrino to Arkansas. In Petrino’s Battle for Arkansas, you can see how Coach Petrino’s agent, Russ Campbell, made contact with Darek Braunecker, who connected him to the University of Arkansas’s Board of Trustees members with one to two telephone calls even though Braunecker and his group generally works as a Major League Baseball players’ agents. (If you don’t know, he is the agent for Cliff Lee and A.J. Burnett who are both from Arkansas.) In all honesty, these types of contacts are not uncommon.
Even in the future Arkansans look at you with the reverence granted to a University of Arkansas football player. Certainly hundreds of examples exist, but Rick Schaeffer on Drive Time Sports told a nice, short story. Former defensive player, Tony Cherico, after his playing days at the University of Arkansas became an assistant high school football coach in Louisiana. As people do, Tony met a local woman; they dated, fell in love, and married. Certainly she knew that he had been a University of Arkansas player, but while they stayed in their one area of Louisiana, she knew no better until Tony took a job in Arkansas. The story went that Tony’s wife soon realized that something was overwhelmingly different. People everywhere recognized her immediately as a Cherico. Later, she described the experience something along these lines, “I can’t go into Wal-Mart without someone asking me if I’m related to Tony. I knew he played for the University of Arkansas, but I didn’t know he was some kind of demigod.” Without elaboration, name recognition can turn into practical ways of making money off the football field.
Pushing-the-envelope and cutting-edge realities are born here because we envision the way we would do things and work to bring them to reality. Here are a few examples:
Federal Express — Although FedEx is known as a Memphis corporation, Fred Smith was an Arkansan who originally began FedEx here. The Little Rock Airport authorities either could not justify the risk or did not want to expand the Little Rock Airport to accommodate FedEx. Nevertheless, the idea was developed here.
Wal-Mart – Just 30 minutes or so north of Fayetteville, you’ll find Sam Walton’s Five and Dime Store which was the predecessor to Wal-Mart. While you know Wal-Mart and have shopped there, the innovation here is economic efficiency at every step along the continuum from how products are manufactured to how they are sold to the customer. Only one “Sam M. Walton College of Business” exists in the world, and it’s at the University of Arkansas.
Clinton’s Political Machine – Love him or hate him and regardless of political affiliation or personal feelings, Bill Clinton won the U.S. Presidency over an incumbent President, George H.W. Bush, who enjoyed approval ratings conservatively in the 80% range some 18 months before the 1992 election because of his handling of the first Gulf War. Bill Clinton adopted a rapid-response-to-issues political style through his campaign manager James Carville and his messages were in tune with what the public wanted to hear.
The Little Rock Nine – This is not intended to be any full discussion of racial or political issues but is here to make a point. Lost in the national accounts of the Little Rock Nine are that they were Arkansas high school students who came from Arkansas as much as the system they stood against. The Nine Arkansas Students, not students from Florida, Louisiana, Alabama, Illinois or Michigan dreamed of something different and helped change the world because of their courage.
The Sharper Image – Only after Arkansan Richard Thalhiemer was ousted from the Board of Directors did The Sharper Image stores go bankrupt. When it was in existence, what place would have any cooler set of gadgets in the world? The Sharper Image epitomized the spirit of creative-innovation-turned-to-reality as the company made its business selling exactly that.
The Dallas Cowboys – The Cowboys are not listed because former University of Arkansas football player Jerry Jones turned his $140 million in Arkoma Gas holdings into a purchase of Texas Stadium and the Dallas Cowboys Franchise, but rather because his involvement in the National Football League changed the business. Stadium contracts and upfront player bonuses literally changed the game. The new Dallas Cowboy Stadium, a.k.a. Razorback Stadium West, shows the Cowboys’ organization’s continuing innovation.
If the idea is not plain by now, your dreams, your drive and your contacts in Arkansas can bring you a long way.
A Few Reasons from Football
If You Want the Chance to Play on Sunday
As has been printed here before, Bobby Petrino and John L. Smith recruits at the University of Louisville went into the NFL in higher numbers (21) in the 2005 through 2009 NFL Drafts than did recruits from two-time BCS Champion Florida, Alabama, Auburn, Tennessee, Mississippi St. or Mississippi. Details are in the last half of You Can’t Get There From Here.
In a head-to-head comparison with Florida through those drafts, Coach Petrino’s and Smith’s players were ranked lower by high school recruiting services and were mostly two and three-star players. Florida had no two-star players and some three star players but mainly had four and five-star players drafted in lesser numbers.
University of Arkansas Football Coach Bobby Petrino will develop your football talent with NFL-type skills and strength. The fact that you are a Bobby Petrino recruit says a lot, and no recruit expects to be handed an NFL Lottery Ticket. However, being recruited is only the beginning. Who a recruit plays for, what the recruit learns and the recruit’s physical shape are the core of playing on Sundays, and Bobby Petrino prepares players to be that good. Elvis Dumervil, who signed a well-deserved contract for $60 million in 2010, was a Smith recruit who played for Coach Petrino at Louisville.
You will have a blunt, honest assessment of your football skill and preparation at the University of Arkansas and will not be playing because you are a warm body at your position. If you are physically and mentally prepared to play in September, Coach Petrino will play you in September. Jason Veltkamp utilizes top-flight facilities and implements a tremendous preparation strategy in the off-season for those serious about being Champions and playing on Sunday. “If you weren’t on the field last year, we find what kept you off. If you were on the field, we find why you weren’t All-Conference or All-American. We want to get you over the top. We want you to excel.” ArkansasSports360.com
Coach Petrino will say at least 10 times each week to the press, “Our players have to understand their assignments in order to be able to be where they need to be on the field without thinking. They need to fly to the football using proper technique we have taught them, and they need to execute.” If you can do this for Coach Petrino in the SEC West, you will have the opportunity to play on Sunday.
Worth Reminding You
The SEC West consists of only six schools in the Nation and only four that are outside of Mississippi.
Three of the last four BCS Champions are from the SEC West.
If you win at Arkansas, you compete for a National Championship.
No other SEC school can guarantee the same coach for the next six years.
Bobby Petrino wants to coach at Arkansas. He fought at personal risk with a firestorm of criticism to come to Arkansas. While he wanted to be paid among the best, he has never had to be paid the most and has an acceptable contract . More importantly, he has the commitment from Arkansas Fans and the University’s commitment to football facilities so he can help the Razorbacks Team. Along those lines, here is an under-the-radar fact. Coach Petrino’s side kept their mouths shut until the University of Florida confirmed its new coaching hire with the University of Arkansas and concealed the fact that his new contract did not begin until January 1, 2011. Had the information leaked, Coach Petrino remained a potential hire for another three weeks or so because his $18 million dollar buyout clause was not yet effective. During that time, his buyout clause was relatively little.
Of the teams in the SEC West, Arkansas is The One on an upward trend. The Hogs’ have improved their number of season victories for each of the last two years and continue to see room for improvement.
Coach Petrino has finally said what many of us assumed. Arkansas will reload each year and will not endure up and down years, and you have the opportunity to be a part of something special.
This is not meant to be an exhaustive list. Readers, please add what you would like to say in the comments below. I’ll list the better ones above with credit to you. Woooooo Pig Sooooiieee!!! — SharpTusk