Long Says 'All Scenarios' On The Table In Coaching Search, Performing Own Evaluations

by Chris Bahn  on Friday, Apr. 13, 2012 11:02 am  

Jeff Long is using Twitter to keep the public updated on coaching search news. Long fired Bobby Petrino on April 10.

This story is from the archives of ArkansasSports360.com.

Jeff Long is just beginning his search for an Arkansas football coach and he is evaluating all possible options.

Already he has heard endorsements for candidates to fill the job on an interim basis if he goes that route. Long said late Thursday on Twitter that he would be sticking to his own evaluation of candidates. He asked that no one lobby for current staff members.

“No decision on Interim Coach, Know current assts well, no need for folks to lobby, have watched for myself,” Long posted to Twitter on Thursday. “All scenarios still on table.”

Currently, assistant head coach Taver Johnson is in charge of the program through the end of spring practice. Arkansas scrimmages today and Johnson and select players and assistants will be available afterward.

Long said earlier in the week that Johnson, offensive coordinator Paul Petrino and defensive coordinator Paul Haynes would be considered for the interim position if that’s the route he takes for the fall. There is also a push for running backs coach/recruiting coordinator Tim Horton to be considered for the interim job. Horton is a former Razorback.

Long, who also tweeted his appreciation to Arkansas fans for supporting his decision, could fill the job permanently this spring, but that will be a difficult task. Arkansas is financially obligated to current assistants through the end of 2012 and a new coach would only have the fall to install his system.

Although the timing is not in Long's favor, the job is thought to be an attractive one for outsiders. Under Petrino the team was positioned to begin the season in the Top 10. Starters back from last year’s 11-2 Cotton Bowl winner include a pair of Heisman Trophy candidates in quarterback Tyler Wilson and running back Knile Davis.

Plus, Long has shown a willingness to invest in the football program. Petrino was earning $3.56 million per year and the athletic department had invested in upgrades for the program, the biggest being a $40 million football operations center under construction.

“Well I think certainly the success our young people have had on the field is a great factor in that,” Long said. “I think the decisions that we've made through our football program by upgrading video technology and those kinds of things, upgrading the football stadium with new artificial surface and then our football center we're building now will all make the job more attractive than it maybe was when Coach Petrino took the job.”



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