Bahn: Haynes' Reputation As 'Grinder,' Talent Developer Fit Petrino's Razorback Staff

by Chris Bahn  on Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2011 2:02 pm  

Arkansas introduced new defensive coordinator Paul Haynes on Tuesday. (Photo by

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Shortly after arriving in Fayetteville on Sunday, new Arkansas defensive coordinator Paul Haynes began familiarizing himself with the unit he would be taking over. Haynes watched film until about 1 a.m. with a graduate assistant, taking notes on plays and personnel.

Haynes has plenty of catching up to do before the No. 6 Razorbacks face No. 9 Kansas State in the Cotton Bowl. He’ll be involved in preparation for the bowl and while he might not be calling plays on short notice, Haynes is doing all he can to learn what he’s working with at Arkansas (10-2).

That willingness to jump right into the task at hand is a pretty telling glimpse of what attracted Bobby Petrino to Haynes, a six-year assistant at Ohio State. Petrino calls it “grinding.” You often hear Petrino use that phrase in relation to employees and players. Petrino likes people who work hard and do whatever needed to get the job done.

Haynes, when asked about Petrino’s preference for grinders, described himself as fitting the bill.

“To me it’s just a guy that works all day, and whenever he has the job done, it’s done,” Haynes said. “I am that.”

Petrino got a glimpse of Haynes’ ability to grind a decade ago. Haynes was the defensive quality-control assistant for the Jacksonville Jaguars when Petrino was the Jags' offensive coordinator.

Haynes shared a workspace with offensive quality-control assistant Garrick McGee. Petrino spent a lot of time with those two, talking football and whatever else three guys obsessed with football might talk about when not talking about, well, football.

I was really, really impressed with him,” Petrino said of their Jacksonville experience.

Former Arkansas assistant John L. Smith worked with Haynes at Louisville. He backed up Petrino’s first impression of Haynes with a good recommendation.

There is nobody working for Petrino that is unwilling to put in long hours. And it seems – as with many coaches — Petrino prefers working with assistants he or people he trusts have crossed paths with in the past.

That’s why some of the names linked to the job were head-scratchers. None had any sort of tie to Petrino.

Haynes isn’t a Carroll College guy (like four other assistants on staff), but he had plenty of history with people Petrino trusts. That factor also no doubt weighed heavily into his favor as Petrino reviewed candidates for the position.



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