Razorback Coordinators Echo Lofty Expectations For 2011 Season

by Chris Bahn  on Thursday, Jul. 28, 2011 2:48 pm  

This story is from the archives of ArkansasSports360.com.

Don’t look for downplayed expectations for 2011 among Arkansas football coordinators.

Echoing the sentiment outlined by Coach Bobby Petrino and players at SEC Media Days, the Razorbacks’ three coordinators said Thursday they expect the team to compete for an SEC West title and a national championship. Offensive coordinator Garrick McGee, defensive coordinator Willy Robinson and special teams coordinator John L. Smith met with media prior to Petrino’s golf tournament for media and sponsors at Paradise Valley Athletic Club in Fayetteville.

Robinson had perhaps the strongest statement of anybody affiliated with the Razorbacks. He pointed to last year’s 41-20 victory at South Carolina as proof of how tough Arkansas can be when it puts in a complete performance. Arkansas was so good, Robinson said, the team could win every week if it plays like it did last Oct. 6 in Columbia, S.C.

“If we get all three phases to work, I’m not real sure who can beat us,” Robinson said. “It’s a very, very talented football team, like y’all know. If we can get all three phases to go every week, our goal is very attainable.”

Arkansas returns 13 offensive and defensive starters. While the Razorbacks are replacing key personnel at tight end, offensive tackle and quarterback, the consensus among those affiliated with the team is that this year’s squad has as much talent and more depth than previous teams under Petrino.

Nearly 75-percent of the offensive and defensive two-deep roster from the Sugar Bowl team returns. That experience and the success the Razorbacks had in 2010 provides plenty of reason for optimism.

“I think we have a legit shot at a SEC title and going to a championship game,” Smith said. “We’re going to have to have some luck and stay healthy. But, yeah, we’re fired up.”

Of course the coordinators offered a word of caution. While the Razorbacks were ranked throughout the Top 15 in preseason magazines and figure to be there when official preseason polls come out, they don’t want the team looking too far down the road.

Arkansas, which ended the 2010 season ranked No. 12, opens its season Sept. 3 against Missouri State. Preparing for that, McGee said, is where the team’s focus needs to be.  SEC play opens Sept. 24 against Alabama, which will likely be ranked in the Top 5. Not looking too far ahead will be key, McGee said.

“When we were here our first year and were nowhere near the rankings, we were working to win one game at a time. That doesn’t change,” McGee said.

 

 

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