FAYETTEVILLE — Razorback head football coach Bobby Petrino met with the local media in the Bud Walton Arena interview room prior to the Arkansas-Alabama men’s basketball game.
The event streamed live from RazorVision at ArkansasRazorbacks.com, and is now available in the archives.
The media event also served as the introduction to Fayetteville for new offensive line coach Chris Klenakis.
Among the subjects covered by Coach Petrino were off-season surgeries, notably quarterback Ryan Mallett’s non-throwing shoulder, the return of Mallett and D.J. Williams next season, the new coaches hired at Arkansas and the welcome higher expectations for next year.
To watch the full media conference, click here.
A partial transcript of the media conference is below.
Head Coach Bobby Petrino: Opening Statement:"First of all, I was happy with the season. We talked about being better than we were my first year here and I certainly feel that we were. We put a nice home run together. One thing that you have to do to win a championship is win your home games and we came very close to that. If we had been able to win our home game against Georgia, we would have won all of our home games. I think we have certainly taken a step forward in the program.
We broke a number of records-both team records and individual records-and that’s a credit to our team. Anytime you break individual records, it’s because your team is performing well. At the end of the season, those things are important. During the season, you try not to think or talk about those things because you’re worried about winning games, but at the end of the season, those are things you evaluate and they become important to our individual players.
We started eight true freshmen at some time during the season. I think that number was tops in the SEC and second in the nation. We are still a very, very young football team and we’re working on growing as a football team. We made tremendous strides in our turnover margin. At the end of my first year, we were -9 and last year we were plus +15 which is a great turnaround and why we were able to win some games. You look back at the Florida and LSU games and if we had been able to finish those games and win in the fourth quarter, we’d be talking about a great year for us. We weren’t able to do that, but we did finish strong and at the end of the season, we were a much better team than we were at the beginning.
We didn’t play well at the bowl game. You can see why there aren’t a lot of points scored in cold-weather situations throughout the country because it did affect us in our ability to throw the ball, in our ability to catch the ball and execute the way we needed to on offense. But it was a good way for us to win a football game where the defense had to step up and make the plays that made the difference in the game. That’s a credit to our defensive staff and players staying in there and working hard."
On status of injuries heading into spring semester:"One thing I’ve very happy with is our trainers and new medical staff. They’ve done an excellent job as everyone has come back to start school. On Monday, we had exit physicals, on Tuesday, we had MRIs scheduled for guys that needed it and Wednesday, we had some surgeries. We had four or five guys that needed some kind of surgery. We had some shoulders that needed to be tied down and tightened up. Van Stumon was one of those and Ryan Mallett was another. Ryan had some work done to his left shoulder. Both of those went very, very well and both will be in spring ball. Van will not be able to have full contact and we don’t have full contact with quarterbacks. We had a couple of knees to get cleaned up with some cartilage work. DeMarcus Love and (Grant) Cook had their knees cleaned up a little bit. All of them are doing real well. With Chris Gragg, they went in and took out a screw from his previous surgery. That’s a credit to Matt Summers and our training staff and doctors. To have all that done with that much organization, was crucial for us moving forward and having a great offseason."
On new additions to coaching staff:"We have some new coaches on our staff. Obviously, when you lose coaches, it hurts and it’s not something you like to do but it is part of the profession. Coaches like to have a chance to move on and all of them have different reasons. I’m real excited about the staff we have in place now with the new guys that came in. Steve Caldwell came in to coach our defensive ends. When I was the offensive coordinator at the University of Nevada, Steve was the defensive coordinator so we competed against each other all the time in practice and worked together to win games. I’ve always followed his career at Tennessee and how well he’s done in recruiting, so we’re getting a great football coach and a tremendous recruiter and I think he’ll be a great addition to our staff.
Kris Cinkovich is coming in to coach our receivers. He’s a guy I’ve worked with before and a guy I’ve watched travel through the small college ranks into being a head high school coach and into being a receivers coach at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas for six years. When I went to interview him, there was no question that he was the right guy for the job. He knows a lot of our offense already. He knows the drills and everything we do coaching our receivers. He also gives us a unique aspect in recruiting in the fact that he’s been a high school coach and has been able to establish relationships with other high school coaches and I think that’s something that really will help us in recruiting.
Being able to go out and hire Chris Klenakis as our offensive line coach is something I’m very excited about. We worked together at the University of Nevada-Reno. We threw the ball a lot but we were always very good at running the football. We worked for a Hall of Fame coach by the name of Chris Ault. Coach Ault is someone I have tremendous respect for. He taught me a lot about football and motivation. I’ve known Chris (Klenakis) forever and he has a unique knowledge of our offense but they were also the innovators of the so-called pistol offense and that’s something I’m very interested in. We used aspects of it this year and I think it was really good for us in the passing game and now to be able to bring in the guy that knows the intricacies of the run game, I’m really excited about that. I know it was the right hire and it will be great for our football team. He’s going to come in to coach our offensive line and do a great job motivating and getting them to come off the ball and play with great speed."
On work to be done during offseason:"The idea right now is to build on what we have. It was fun the other day, when we got to meet together as a team, to see how many seniors are sitting in that front row and how much experience is there. They need to take this offseason and become the best possible football players they can become. They can get in better physical condition. There some guys that need to get bigger and stronger, and there are guys that need to get smaller and stronger. That’s what the offseason is about."
On the announced returns of Ryan Mallett and D.J. Williams:"We talked a lot about it after the season-between the end of the season and the bowl game-and then put it to sleep a couple weeks before the bowl game. I think they both made the right decision. I think Ryan coming back, continuing to work on his skills and development as a quarterback, will help him in his future."
On expectations for 2010 season:"I like the fact there are expectations out there. Obviously, our expectations are very high, but I would rather have people think we’re going to be a good football team. I’ve always believed that preseason rankings are based on how you finish and what you have coming back. As a football team, we finished strong and we have a lot of good returning players so I’m hoping there’s some pressure on us and we’re ranked to start the season."
Assistant Coach Chris Klenakis: Opening Statement:"First off, I’d like to state that I’m very honored and very proud to be a Razorback right now. I’m excited to be in the Southeastern Conference, the best conference in the United States. Most importantly, I’m proud to be associated and coaching again with Coach Petrino. Our time together at Nevada was highly successful. As coach said earlier, we were the second-ranked team in offense, but we also produced the leading receiver in the nation and our quarterback led the nation in offense that year. I learned a lot of good football under Coach Petrino and was able to learn the base foundation of his offense. Obviously, since then he’s added to that offense and I’m excited to continue to learn and grow as a coach. I’m very happy to be here and proud to be part of this great institution to help Coach Petrino with his quest to win championships."