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SEC Media Days 2011: Arkansas Hopes That Change Will Shape the Season

For the record, Bobby Petrino is easily the most boring press conference to come through Birmingham every July for SEC Media Days. When he says, "It's good to be here in Birmingham again for Media Days. I always wonder when I say that how to keep a straight face," he does so without hinting that he's about to laugh. Everyone joins him in this.

"Really excited to get started," Petrino says in a monotone that suggests anything but excitement.

But maybe it's all part of a plot. Because while media types like to chase rabbits at this event -- get Steve Spurrier to comment on Stephen Garcia, ask Les Miles about eating grass -- Petrino gets to talk almost entirely about football. He gives no indication of having anything interesting to say about anything else.

And the most intriguing question about Arkansas this year is what will happen when Tyler Wilson takes over for Ryan Mallett. I've already disclosed my questions about him, so we won't rehash that. What does Petrino think?

I think Tyler has an opportunity to do a very, very good job for us. He's been in the offense for four years now. He's done a good job when he's come in in games. ... Then it's our coaches' job, my job to say, 'Okay, this is what our quarterback does best, now let's take this nice, fancy playbook we have, set it over to the side, and develop the offense around the quarterback, give him a chance to be successful.

It's obviously an opinion shared by most of the media that gathered in Birmingham -- one question referred to the advantage of "having a solid quarterback situation" at the same time that others concerned the skill level of a first year starter -- and not one without basis. After all, Petrino has shown an ability to adapt the playbook the way he describes, at least when he's coaching a Conference USA or Big East team.

The rest of Petrino's team also seems to share the view. When asked about the difference between Wilson and Mallett, wideout Jarius Wright paid Wilson about the highest compliment he could.

I wouldn't say there's too much difference. Both of them have great arm strength, great velocity with their throws and both can make pretty much any throw on the field.

If those opinions become a reality, Arkansas could be a serious contender in the race for the SEC West. And even a skeptic like your humble correspondent can't close the door on the possibility.