18 Holes With Coach Bobby Petrino

8/2/2010 9:22 AM

Every year at the end of July the Razorbacks have a golf scramble for Media, Car Dealers, and Big supporters of the program.  It gives the coaches one last chance to swing the clubs before the start of fall camp.  I have played in this event as long as I can remember and have played with the likes of Roy Whitke, Tim Horton, Willie Robinson, former Coach and AD Frank Broyles, Sports Information Director Kevin Trainor, and many others.  I never got to play with the head coach.

When Bobby Petrino was at his first SEC Football Media Days after he was hired at Arkansas I asked him if he was going to have the traditional golf outing.  He said he was looking forward to it.  I asked him, “Do you want to win?”  He said, “I always want to win.”  I then told him if he wanted to win that he should tell Trainor to put me on his team.

When the day came for the golf outing I thought I was going to get to play with coach.  I ended up being paired with Defensive Coordinator Willie Robinson (who was coming off of knee surgery) and Nate Allen of Nate Allen Sports Services.  Nate has a handicap of about 150, and shows up to the first hole wearing a pair of Chuck Taylor High-Tops.  Coach Petrino’s team did not win that year. 

Last year I made the trek up the hill and found out I was paired with the Top Hog.  Bobby Petrino wanted to win this year.  There was only one slight problem.  It decided, of all days in July, to rain and rain and rain.  Coach took his staff back to the office and they got to work and I thought my chance of playing with coach was gone forever.

This past Thursday, I hop in my Toyota 4-runner and make the trek to Paradise Valley Golf and Athletic club.  I pull up, go inside to register, and I find out I am signed up to play with…..Bobby Petrino.  YES!  Finally!

Me, Matt Trumbo, former Hog Lindy Lindsey, and Head Coach Bobby Petrino were a stacked team to say the least.  There were media members whining about how bad we were going to beat everyone.  If there is one thing Razorback fans have learned it’s that Coach Petrino can recruit, in Football and on the golf course.

We started on the first hole and were on the green in 2 when I was reading a putt for Coach.  I told him to hit it about a cup and a half out and it will break right in the middle.  What does coach do?  He plays it about a cup and a half out and it starts to break and drops in the middle of the cup.  Birdie number one of the day.  Shot after shot he would concentrate and the one time he hit a bad shot he knew exactly what happened.  He said he didn’t swing through the shot.  He never threw a club or cursed a shot and he knows golf.  His daughter is going to play for the University of Louisville, and beats him on a regular basis. 

We ended up shooting a 56 and winning by 5 shots.  It was only possible because when Coach was 100 yards and in, he was deadly.  He made the tough shots look easy.  I guess all of the practice in his backyard with his daughter pays off.  Out of the thick rough the ball would land soft and nestle next to the hole.  Middle of the fairway with the green sloping away, no problem for him, enough spin to control the ball and leave us a great birdie opportunity.

We did get to talk Football.  He was asked about the tight ends, and said that they will be solid at that position and have a lot of depth there.  Garrett Uekman is a freshman from Little Rock Catholic that Coach was raving about.  He said he looks like he is 218 pounds but actually tips the scales at 241.  He even had the strength staff weigh him again because he didn’t believe the 241.  Petrino says he is fast and very athletic.  He also thinks that freshman DL Byran Jones from Junction City will see the field this year. 

I asked him about the expectations this year that the Media has placed on his team, because the previous coach always wanted to fly under the radar with low expectations.  He told me, “I like the high expectations.  It means you have great football players also.”  You can’t argue with him on that.

Speaking of great football players, Ryan Mallett’s name did come up.  Coach said that Mallett will be ready for the start of fall camp.  He told us that he has been in the meeting room watching tape and studying defenses.  Last week at SEC football media days, Mallett handled himself well, even laughing with reporters about his foot at times.

I really think that Coach Petrino and his family are glad to be in Arkansas.  They are in a place that has passionate fans.  I think this year is going to be a good year for the Hogs.  It sure has gotten off to a good start for me.

Thanks Coach Petrino! 

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