Bahn: Hogs' Tyler Wilson Has A Read On Paul Petrino After They Team For Big Spring

by Chris Bahn  on Tuesday, May. 22, 2012 4:30 pm  

Tyler Wilson credits his relationship with Paul Petrino for aiding his growth and development this spring. (Photo by Mark Wagner)

“It goes beyond football. We care about each other.”

Feelings in football? They are not that rare with Petrino, apparently.

Former Illinois receiver A.J. Jenkins was quick to credit Petrino for helping his development into a first-round draft pick of the San Francisco 49ers. Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Roddy White was heavily influenced by Petrino’s 10 or so months as an NFL assistant.

Jenkins and White, like Wilson, point beyond Petrino’s knowledge of football when describing how he helped their growth as players. Having a personal relationship with the coach was a critical component of that development they said.

Which is an area where Paul and his brother, former Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino, seem vastly different. Paul is much more likely to shoot a player a text totally unrelated to football.

Does he know how to call plays as well? Time will tell, but there seems to be plenty of evidence to suggest Paul Petrino gets the game beyond the Xs and Os.

“Your players have to trust you have their best interest in mind,” Petrino said. “I think sometimes it’s as easy as just texting and asking how they are doing. You text them stuff away from football sometimes. You build a relationship, show you’re going to do everything in your power to make them the best they can be. … you build their confidence.”

Petrino worked quickly to develop that rapport with Wilson. Noticing that the junior quarterback struggled with blitz pickups during the regular season, Petrino spent extra time before the Cotton Bowl developing a book for Wilson to study that was devoted totally to reading Kansas State’s defense before the snap.

Wilson completed 64.5 percent of his passes against Kansas State for 216 yards and two touchdowns. It wasn’t his most impressive outing of the year, but Wilson felt his comfort level with the offense and Petrino grow, something that carried over into the film room and spring practices.

Those nearly flawless scrimmage performances by Wilson have him anxious for the fall. He’s ready to see further payout from a relationship that’s already paying dividends.

This is one read Wilson doesn’t mind blowing in the least.

“He’s a guy I connect well with,” Wilson said. “We’ve got a great chemistry and I’m pumped. Ultimately, I think that’s what football and team sports are about: having that chemistry. I feel like we’ve got that here.”



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