UofA head football Coach Petrino wows record crowd in Manila
University of Arkansas Head Football Coach Bobby Petrino may be the most popular man in the state of Arkansas these days. He certainly was Monday night in Manila, where an overflow crowd of over 500 Mississippi County Razorback Club members called the Hogs at the Airport Center.
The banquet began with a Hog call and the evening ended with the traditional call. A silent and live auction was held with proceeds going to the Razorback Foundation.
Petrino wowed the audience on subjects ranging from the just completed football season to the latest recruiting class for the Razorbacks. Petrino also fielded questions from the sold out crowd in which several of his answers brought standing ovations from the Hog faithful.
Mississippi County Razorback Club President Ben Hubbard called the evening a great success. " This was the largest crowd ever to attend the event. The food was good, the folks were enthusiastic, and I thought the coaches did a great job," said Hubbard. "Coach Petrino was great and I think he and the coaches were impressed with the crowd."
Petrino was joined by Arkansas Sports Information Director Kevin Trainor, Assistant Athletic Director of Student Life Marvin Gaston and Inside Linebacker Coach Reggie Johnson.
Petrino took the Razorbacks to the All-State Sugar Bowl and a 10-3 record in just his third season at the helm.
Petrino talked about who would succeed record-setting Ryan Mallett at the quarterback position and the health of injured players such as running back Dennis Johnson and wide receiver Greg Childs, among other topics.
Petrino praised all three returning quarterbacks including junior Tyler Wilson, sophomore Brandon Mitchell and red-shirt freshman Jacoby Walker. "It's going to be lot of fun," said Petrino. "We've got Wilson coming back, who in his heart believes it is his time. He did a great job two years ago in the Alabama and Texas games as a true freshman, and this season against Auburn he had a great game in place of Mallett who was injured with a concussion."
"Between those three guys it should be very good competition, a very good battle and one that I am really looking forward to seeing how it's going to play out," said Petrino.
Petrino said running back Dennis Johnson is now 100 percent healed, while receiver Greg Childs is doing well and will join the team near the end of spring drills.
Petrino praised his latest recruiting class. The Hogs signed 30 athletes on Feb. 2, including seven from within the state of Arkansas, led by five-star offensive tackle Brey Cook of Springdale Har-Ber.
Petrino also talked about the upcoming spring practice and encouraged Hog fans to attend the annual Razorback spring game.
Petrino spoke about the state of Arkansas and about Razorback fans and their support. "Our fans are absolutely fantastic," said Petrino. "Ohio State has a great tradition, but we greatly outnumbered them in New Orleans. The fans really helped us in the Super Dome when we were behind. And does anyone remember the Ice Bowl in Memphis? I remember 55,000 Arkansas fans braving the cold and I don't think we would have won the game had it not been for our great fans that night," added Petrino.
" Arkansas is such a unique state with Razorback fans from one corner of the state to the other," said Petrino. "There are no split loyalties. That's one of the things that make it so unique."
"We really believe we are going to win a national championship here at Arkansas," said Petrino. "It's just a matter of time."