FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — On Saturday, Bobby Petrino will coach his first game in Fayetteville in over a decade. The former Arkansas head coach brought the program to new heights and left as it came crashing down, all in the span of a few months.
Ahead of Petrino's return to Razorback Stadium former Arkansas tight end Chris Gragg looked back at both of those seasons. Gragg is currently the wide receivers coach at Har-Ber High School.
The 2011 football season was one of the best in program history. The Razorbacks finished the season with eleven wins for the first time since 1977 and had a Cotton Bowl title to show for it.
"It was a lot of winning back then, it was hard though. He (Petrino) was a no nonsense coach. He taught you a lot about the game, it was an enjoyable time for sure, said former Arkansas tight end Chris Gragg."
In 2011, Gragg was one of the tight ends in the country reeling in 41 receptions for 518 yards.
"Really I think he got everybody to buy in, kind of like what Pittman has done with the guys now. He showed you how hard it was going to be, but once we did it his way we started to have success, said Gragg"
In the spring of 2012 the Petrino scandal in Fayetteville left Jeff Long with no choice but to dismiss the head coach. The Hogs would go just 4-8 the next season.
"It was shocking, we really didn't know what to believe. We heard a lot of stories going around, he came in and told us his story, said Gragg."
Ten years later, Petrino will coach his first game in Fayetteville and Gragg says there are no hard feelings toward his former head coach.
"Now that we are all grown up and seeing how life has played out, we all have respect for coach Petrino. A Cotton Bowl victory and the only BCS game Arkansas has ever played in so, if you go back and look at the numbers he deserves a lot of respect.
Arkansas and Missouri State are set to kickoff from Razorback Stadium at 6 p.m. on Saturday. You can hear the rest of Gragg's comments in the video attached to this story.