It’s been a mix of the old and new in Razorbacks land this week.
The Hogs were selected to play in their 12th all-time Cotton Bowl, but this will be the first Arkansas plays away from Dallas. Arlington’s snazzy Cowboys Stadium is now the home of the Cotton Bowl, and a board of directors with a near-shocking number of members.
The Jan. 6 bowl also marks the beginning of a new era for the Razorbacks. In the past week, the team’s offensive, defense and special teams coordinators left. Only the offensive coordinator has so far been replaced – by a face quite familiar to Hog fans. Bobby Petrino’s brother Paul Petrino returned to Fayetteville to accept the position, which he had held in 2008 and 2009 before leaving for Illinois. Arkansas is also looking for someone to replace coordinator John L. Smith, who accepted a head coaching job at Weber State after overseeing one of the nation’s top kicking games this season.
But by the far the brightest spotlight shines on the search for the man who will replace Willy Robinson, the fiery defensive coordinator who never could seem to help Arkansas turn the corner to become one of the SEC’s better defenses. Robinson resigned after a regular season in which Arkansas defense ranked #51 in the nation, 15 spots below the previous season’s ranking.
His replacement’s short-term charge is twofold: help Arkansas beat Kansas State to provide a strong base for spring practice and recruit the living daylights out of the football-rich Dallas-Fort Worth area. Indeed, recruiting prowess is one reason Randy Shannon, a former Miami defensive coordinator with strong ties to equally football-rich Florida, has been rumored as a top candidate for the position.
So who do you want to see as the Hogs’ D.C.?
Want to see some of the highlights from Sync’s sports columnist’s recent VIP tour of Cowboys Stadium?