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Long, Gearhart moving on, eyeing coaching search

By David Harten

This article was originally published April 13, 2012 at 8:57 p.m. Updated April 13, 2012 at 9:29 p.m.

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— University of Arkansas Athletic Director Jeff Long and UA Chancellor G. David Gearhart met with the media prior to Friday night's Silas Hunt Award banquet at The Peabody Hotel in Little Rock, both explaining the process of moving on after the firing of former head football coach Bobby Petrino earlier this week.

While both were mum on the situation involving Student-Athletic Development Coordinator Jessica Dorrell's current standing with the university — Dorrell was placed on paid administrative leave on Friday, Gearhart said the university is "working with her lawyers" — both spoke to how much the state and the university has stayed steady through the entire process.

"Early on, we talked about how we're going to deal with this," Gearhart said. "With the fanbase, the fact that we like to win just as much as everybody else does. But (Long's) commitment to doing the right thing, to be transparent, was there from the very beginning."

Long said that while the players and staff have stayed focused on their tasks at hand during the process, those being academics and spring practice, he did say that they were "victims" in this case and lauded them for sticking together.

The coaching search is still in the assessment stage as well, according to Long. While Long was mum on any possible candidates to take the vacant spot left by Petrino, he did add that he hopes to have a clearer picture of the direction of the process by the end of spring practice.

"There's really nothing to say for where we are on a coaching search," Long said. "And again, I'm really in assessment mode about what options I have before me and what I think is the best, short-term and long-term, for our program."

As far as recruiting is concerned, Long said that all assistant coaches have been in contact with current signees for the 2012 season and to his knowledge, none of them are wavering on their commitment to the Hogs.

"I think this (recruiting) class wants to be Razorbacks for the right reasons," Long said.

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