Even with Petrino, the Razorbacks would be losing some key personnel.
It would be a little bit odd to do this post without acknowledging that the biggest loss for Arkansas this year never actually set foot on the playing field for the Razorbacks -- that, of course, would be head coach and personnel expert. But we focus on players here -- so the motorcycle ride that changed Arkansas football history won't be discussed. Suffice it to say that the Hogs need John L. Smith and crew to live up to their end of the bargain for any of what follows to matter.
BIGGEST RETURN | QB Tyler Wilson
Wilson was one of the biggest question marks heading into last year -- a first-year starter at the helm of Petrino's famously explosive offense. Question answered. Wilson completed more than 63 percent of his passes for 3,638 yards and 24 touchdowns against just six interceptions. Wilson never threw more interceptions than touchdowns in a game, threw for fewer than 200 yards just once (the loss at Alabama), and completed less than 50 percent of his passes only in the win at Ole Miss. It's going to be very different for Wilson on several levels this year, but Arkansas will be just fine if its quarterback can match his performance from last year.
BIGGEST LOSS | The wide-receiving corps (Joe Adams, Greg Childs, Jarius Wright)
Arkansas is losing perhaps one of the most explosive trios in the history of the SEC -- Adams, Childs and Wright combined for 7,410 yards and 56 touchdowns over the last four years. And while Wright is arguably the biggest loss of the three, being the only one with a 1,000-yard season and the touchdown leader among the three, all three have lead the trio in yardage at least once over the last four seasons.
|Joe Adams||Greg Childs||Jarius Wright||Total|
|2008||31, 377, 1||18, 273, 2||19, 348, 2||68, 998, 5|
|2009||29, 568, 7||48, 894, 7||41, 681, 5||118, 2143, 19|
|2010||50, 813, 6||46, 659, 6||42, 788, 5||138, 2260, 17|
|2011||54, 652, 3||21, 240, 0||66, 1117, 12||141, 2009, 15|
|TOTAL||164, 2410, 17||133, 2066, 15||168, 2934, 24||465, 7410, 56|
The three of them helped Wilson adjust to his first year as a starting quarterback in the SEC. Arkansas has to hope that the transitional year will be enough for Wilson to do well without veterans catching the ball.
BREAKTHROUGH POSSIBILITY | DE/LB Tenarius Wright
It's not that Wright is a complete unknown -- he went to SEC Media Days in 2011. But Wright only got into eight games last year and still recorded five tackles for loss and five quarterback hurries. He's now in line to be the middle linebacker if Alonzo Highsmith doesn't make it back, meaning Wright could be the most important player on the field. At either position, if Wright stays on the field, he could be a major factor for the Hogs.