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Hog Safety’s Comments Suggest Petrino’s Love Of Offense Might Have Hurt Defense

Did Bobby Petrino’s offense-friendly practices have a negative impact on Arkansas’ defense?  If what safety Ross Rasner says is true… then it’s entirely possible.

According to The Associated Press:


“‘The defensive guys aren’t afraid to make plays out there, where in the past you might lay off a receiver and not break up a pass because…’ Rasner said, trailing off.  ‘We were an offensive-minded team, there’s no doubt about that, but with Coach (John L.) Smith coming in… he’s a defensive coach, so there’s a definite change already.’”


Now, it’s certainly a case of connecting a few dots, but it’s not unreasonable to think that a defense scolded for popping receivers and breaking up passes during certain portions of practice might have had a hard time flipping the proverbial switch come gametime.

And for the record, here’s how Petrino’s offenses and defenses ranked in the SEC in terms of points scored and points allowed during his short reign:


2008 Scoring Offense: 7th               2008 Scoring Defense: 12th

2009 Scoring Offense: 1st                2009 Scoring Defense: 9th

2010 Scoring Offense: 2nd               2010 Scoring Defense: 7th

2011 Scoring Offense: 1st                 2011 Scoring Defense: 8th

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Bennett No Longer Committed To Arkansas

Wide receiver Austin Bennett from Manvel (Texas) High School decided to decommit from Arkansas after learning Bobby Petrino had been fired.

“My family and I talked and we decided I should de-commit from Arkansas,” Bennett told “I will be checking out other places like West Virginia and TCU. TCU has been talking to me more lately since all this hit. I’m still going to be looking at Arkansas but it realy depends on who they hire. I’m not sure what I’m going to do yet.”

Memphis, Tenn., running back Mark Dodson Jr. had a similar reaction Tuesday night when he was reached by MrSEC. Dodson, who plans to announce his decision on May 14, is also considering Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Vanderbilt. Arkansas would likely be out of the race if it doesn’t have a permanent replacement for Petrino in place by May 14.

“They most likely wouldn’t be the school I’d choose,” Dodson said.

Running back Jamel James chose Arkansas during his sophomore year. Now the Katy, Texas, junior doesn’t know what he’ll do.

“We’ve talked about it,” Cinco Ranch High School coach Don Clayton told HawgSports. “It’s definitely a concern of his. He’s still committed to Arkansas but a lot of other schools are talking to him too. I can’t say for sure what he will do.”

The news was still good for Arkansas with linebacker prospect Keree Renchie from Elkins High School in Missouri City, Texas.

“It doesn’t affect me at all,” Renchie said. “Arkansas is still there as one of my top three schools. I don’t see this changing anything.

It doesn’t affect me at all,” Renchie said. “Arkansas is still there as one of my top three schools. I don’t see this changing anything. I’m going to keep it that way with them up there.”

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Memphis Duo Sets Announcement Date

Running back Mark Dodson Jr. and athlete Gerald Perry from Memphis (Tenn.) Whitehaven High School will announce their college decisions on May 14.

Dodson will choose among Arkansas, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Vanderbilt while Perry is considering Ole Miss, Vanderbilt, Cincinnati, Memphis and Arkansas State.

Dodson told the Memphis Commercial Appeal there’s a “50-50 chance” that he and Perry will choose the same school.

Both Dodson and Perry should be able to help on the offensive side of the ball, according to Whitehaven coach Rodney Saulsberry.

“Gerald has extreme speed,” Saulsberry said. “Speed is something you can’t coach. He’s a speed-burner. Speed is what he brings.”

And what does Dodson bring?

“Mark truly is an all-purpose back,” Saulsberry said. “He does it all. He’s able to run inside and outside, he can catch the ball out of the backfield, and he’s very durable. He can carry the load. He’s all that wrapped into one.”

And both players will be down to one school on May 14.

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