Former Arkansas football players were ecstatic to hear about the expected return of Bobby Petrino to Fayetteville as offensive coordinator for the Razorbacks.
ESPN’s Pete Thamel first reported Arkansas was vetting Petrino on Tuesday afternoon. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette has learned that barring a breakdown in negotiations, Petrino is expected to join head coach Sam Pittman’s staff.
Petrino led the Razorbacks to a 34-17 record from 2008-11 and a No. 5 ranking the in the final Associated Press Top 25 poll after the 2011 season.
Chris Gragg, who played tight end for Arkansas from 2008-12, is elated about Petrino coming back to Arkansas.
“I think it is great,” said Gragg, who was a seventh-round draft pick of the Buffalo Bills in 2013. “Coach Petrino is back on the Hill. He knows how to coach football. I am proof he can develop players. I hear he really is a better man today. It has me excited.”
Former Razorbacks running back Ronnie Wingo. Jr. posted, “Yessir Bobby P!!.. let’s turn this thing around now!!” to his X account.
“It’s exciting,” said Wingo, who played for the Buffalo Bills and Atlanta Falcons in the NFL. “Needed something to give the fans something to look forward to after a down year. Ready to see what he can do, plus he has the track record with the previous success.”
Wingo, who played for Arkansas from 2009-12, is the older brother of 5-star receiver and Texas commitment Ryan Wingo.
Former All-SEC receiver Jarius Wright was thrilled about Petrino coming back to Fayetteville.
“I love the hire,” said Wright, who played eight years in the NFL with the Minnesota Vikings and Carolina Panthers. “I think the state needed something like this. Couldn’t have gotten a better guy. I love the hire. Best possible situation.”
At the end of his career as a Razorback, Wright was one of three receivers in school history at the time to eclipse 1,000 yards receiving in a single season.
Travis Swanson, a former All-American and All-SEC center at Arkansas, played for Petrino from 2010-12 before being drafted by the Detroit Lions in the third round of the 2014 NFL Draft.
“It makes a lot of sense and I think it’s something just based off my experience with him I’m excited for it,” said Swanson, who played four years with the Lions and one with the Miami Dolphins before announcing his retirement in 2019. “I think fans should be excited for it. If he’s still anything from an offensive schematic standpoint like [when] I was there for three years, then it’s going to be exciting watch.”