Over three months after his termination at the school much of what Petrino left behind is still there. Wednesday at SEC Media Days Interim head coach John L. Smith embraced that fact as a sign of stability for the players.
"The coaches are going to stay the same," Smith told a gathering of over 1,000 reporters from around the country. "Basically the program's going to stay the same," he added. "The offense is going to stay the same, the defense is going to stay the same, the kicking game is going to stay the same."
In fact had Smith not been in Hoover, Alabama for Media Days as the Hogs' head coach those reporters would not have noticed much difference from what was said about the Razorback football team a year ago at this event.
It was Petrino who told the media gathered there last year that he had encouraged his players to embrace the preseason expectations that came with the team's 10-3 season in 2010.
In 2012 they're embracing the expectations from an 11-2 season in 2011.
"Let's embrace the expectations and embrace the hype a little bit," senior quarterback Tyler Wilson explained to reporters while acknowledging that the team's situation has changed a lot in one respect. The head coach who built Arkansas into a top three SEC football program is gone.
" This year being a little bit unique," Wilson continued, "because of the situation that's occurred we're taking it upon ourselves to continue to work hard and be in that conversation (conference title talk) late in the year."
One significant difference for 2012 is the return of preseason Heisman candidate Knile Davis who missed the entire 2011 season with a broken ankle. Davis lead the SEC in rushing his sophomore season but he doesn't want to be the same running back this season. He wants to be better.
"Every day I'm trying to figure out what I'm going to do different this year," Davis revealed. "I'm kind of re-tweaking my game a little bit."
With the talk from yet another SEC Media Days behind them one thing was clear as Smith, Wilson and Davis headed back to Fayetteville. Bobby Petrino's plan largely remains in effect even though the man himself will no longer be roaming the sidelines. Can the plan be effective if the man behind it is gone?
Hogs fans will have an answer to that question shortly.