[Transcript] Petrino Talks Expectations, Quarterbacks With ESPN's Chris Fowler On SportsCenter

by Chris Bahn  on Tuesday, Jul. 26, 2011 2:26 pm  

This story is from the archives of ArkansasSports360.com.

Bobby Petrino hasn’t once tempered expectations for the 2011 football season. He’s talked with his players about winning the SEC West and a national title.

Is Petrino being too optimistic? The coach certainly doesn’t think so, something he shared with ESPN college football analyst Chris Fowler on a Tuesday afternoon SportsCenter.

Petrino was at ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Conn. on Tuesday and made a number of interview stops. Petrino explained that he fully expects the Razorbacks to contend for the SEC West and a national title, something that Fowler asked about during their approximately five minutes together.

Below is a transcript (albeit typed in a hurry) from the interview between Fowler and Petrino, which included conversation about the Razorbacks’ old quarterback, Ryan Mallett, and presumed replacement Tyler Wilson:

FOWLER: You’ve committed the cardinal sin. You won 10 games, you go to the Sugar Bowl and you’ve raised expectations. You know what Razorback fans are saying, you’ve got to win at least 11, you’ve got to win the division or it’s a failure.

PETRINO: Yeah, the way you do that is to not worry about it. You concentrate on practice and make sure we have a great August and practice real well, get ready for the first game. I embrace the high expectations. The best part about it, our players have high expectations.

FOWLER: You seem less afraid than some coaches are to talk about that, to dare to dream of winning a division as tough as the SEC West, which might be as tough as we’ve ever seen in the history of the sport, the six teams in there.

PETRINO: Yeah, it’s really tough. There’s no question about that. I was raised to reach for the top of the rainbow, to have high expectations. I think that’s what drives our players in the offseason, in spring football, all summer long, everything they do in their workouts. Then there’s a time to put that aside and focus at the task at hand.

FOWLER: A lot of the pieces are in place … for a very productive offense. You obviously have to replace Ryan Mallett. Tyler Wilson is at the top of the depth chart; what are your expectations for him as a guy that has a lot of weapons at his disposal?

PETRINO: He really does. Tyler has done a nice job of working hard at being the leader. He’s put in so much effort in the offseason in the film room, getting the players togethetr and throwing this summer and really, you know, wanting to be the next guy. There’s still going to be some competition. We’re going to go into it with him and Brandon [Mitchell] throughout the summer, sometime up in the first game I’ll name a starter. We’re certainly excited about Tyler and Brandon Mitchell.

FOWLER: How do you prepare a team, where the difference between being a national championship team and an also ran in the conference can be a few plays? Alabama found out about that last year. How do you get them ready for those few plays that can make the difference?

PETRINO: We found out about it too, particularly in the Alabama game. I think what you have to do is work extremely hard to be in great shape, great physical condition; develop depth and understand most of the games are won in the fourth quarter. So we put a lot of pressure on them in practice, a lot of pressure to perform late in practice when they are tired and they don’t really want to. And then see how that carries over to the game. We have a lot of experience coming back, a lot of guys that were able to do that last year down the stretch against Mississippi State and LSU, win big games, late in the game.



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