Category Archives: Arkansas

Senior Bowl: Six interesting South players

MOBILE, Ala. – As we did with the Senior Bowl North squad earlier, here are six of the most interesting prospects from the South squad through three days of practices.

These aren’t necessarily the six most interesting players, or the six best. Just six that seem, to this untrained eye, to have earned a second and third look. Players are listed alphabetically.

Ziggy Ansah, DE, BYU – He hasn’t been a standout performer here, maybe because he’s still new to football and the new structure, new coaching and new surroundings of the Senior Bowl take some getting used to. But scouts have been watching Ansah all year, and they’ve seen the Ghanian who came here hoping to play basketball blossom into a pass-rushing machine and likely a first-round pick come April. He was twice cut from BYU’s basketball team, ended up running the 400-meter dash against guys half his size and will be the project of some team hoping to turn him into a Jason Pierre-Paul like impact player down the road.

Mike Gillislee, RB, Florida – The workhorse for the Gators last fall, he’s been the same for the South team this week and has probably improved his draft status in the process. Gillislee knows how to find daylight and has displayed a nice second gear after finding it. He’s solidly built at 5’11, 207, proven productive and durable and is clearly the top runner in Mobile this week. He looks like a guy who will be helping an NFL offense sooner rather than later.

Vance McDonald, TE, Rice – Rice doesn’t produce a bunch of NFL players, but it has produced a likely top-100 draft pick here. McDonald is 6’4, 262, has an 82-inch wing span and is blossoming as a tight end at a time when the tight end position is booming in the NFL. The Senior Bowl’s two best tight ends are probably both on the South roster, with McDonald getting the edge over Tennessee’s Mychal Rivera at this point.

Leon McFadden, CB, San Diego State – He’s a shade under 5’10, and that might make him more of a mid-second rounder. But McFadden has displayed the confidence and ball skills of a first-rounder this week, challenging the South’s best receivers and showing up to compete in every drill. He thought about coming out and trying the draft last year, but he comes this year as a more polished product and someone looking like an immediate contributor at a premium position.

Quinton Patton, WR, Louisiana Tech – While Baylor’s Terrance Williams is the biggest and likely most coveted receiver on the South team, Patton has made quite an impression. He’s big enough (6’0, 202), been both fast and smooth and has made several impressive catches. During Wednesday’s practice he drove Georgia’s Tavarres King from the numbers all the way through the sideline during a special teams drill, making his teammates and scouts take notice that he’ll do what it takes to get on the field immediately.

Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas – Wilson has made a strong — though not unanimous — case as the best of the six quarterbacks here this week, and he understands a strong showing was necessary. While West Virginia’s Geno Smith declined the Senior Bowl invite, Wilson accepted early and has played with a sense of urgency. “We didn’t have the best year and I didn’t have a great year,” he said. “I knew I had to get here, get some things cleaned up and show that I can be an NFL quarterback.” Teams are always going to take a second and third look at gifted quarterbacks, and Wilson has at very least shown he’s capable of better than his senior season film was.

Why would Arkansas be surprised about Petrino?

In January of 2011, Ohio State played Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl, a game when Ohio State used several players who were going to be suspended for the first part of the 2012 season. At that time Jim Tressel was criticized for letting the gang of suspendees play.

Ohio State won, and at one point in the game the TV cameras showed Bobby Petrino on the sidelines for Arkansas.

The thought  came to mind: Is there another coach in America who would make the nation happy to see Ohio State win?

The answer, of course, is no.

Because Petrino has lived in his insular world of deception and duplicitousness for years — enabled and abetted by those in college athletics whose ethics and standards lie lower than the home of the meercat.

Petrino’s life hit another of many new lows this week when he got in a motorcycle accident while driving a 25-year-old around town, a former coed he had just hired to work under him at Arkansas. Petrino then lied about what happened to the school administration and only admitted the truth when a public police report became … well … public.

In short, he told the truth when he had to tell the truth.

Now Petrino is on administrative leave, when he really should be on permanent leave.

This “role model” and molder of young men has a trail of slime that oozes nationwide, with the one constant that Petrino only ever believed in taking care of No. 1. All the while, he lied.

His history is this:

–He interviewed with folks from Auburn while he was coach at Louisville and while Tommy Tubberville, his former boss and a guy who helped him, was still … well … coaching at Auburn. Of course Petrino denied this all along, until Auburn came clean and exposed Petrino’s lies.

–A year later, he interviewed with Notre Dame, and talked with Florida and Mississippi. All while he was saying he loved Louisville.

–In 2005 he interviewed with the Oakland Raiders after saying he never wanted to coach in the NFL.

–A year later he signed a 10-year contract with Louisville, and trumpeted a $1 million buyout he said he wanted in the deal if he left.

–Shortly after that season ended he took a job with the league where he never wanted to coach, and despite the buyout. That’s when he was hired by Atlanta.

–That stint lasted 13 games before Petrino left for Arkansas without telling his players, though he did leave them a letter in the locker room. That earned him the scorn of the NFL.

Now the same guy who hired him away from the Falcons will decide if a 51-year-old philanderer who hired his 25-year-old paramour is deserving of leading a bunch of 18-to-22 year old kids in football. If Arkansas as an institution truly stood for education, it would fire Petrino immediately. But colleges already have proven that they care nothing about education when it comes to raising money through football. So a guy like Petrino keeps getting hired.

Consider the past few days. Petrino had an “inappropriate relationship” with Jessica Dorell, a former Arkansas athlete. (Inappropriate relationship literally translates to “wild and often.”) He hired her to a job in the Athletic Department as “Student-Athlete Development Coordinator.” (You just can’t make this stuff up). He took Dorrell for a ride on his motorcycle (What, your boss hasn’t taken you for a motorcycle ride lately?) The polic report states she was riding on the back “for an unknown reason” (no comment). For another unknown reason, Petrino lost control and skidded (again, no comment). The day was sunny and clear (NO COMMENT). After skidding, Petrino said he woke up in a pile of wood chips.

He said when he awoke a woman was waving a car down for help. Petrino and the lady got in the car. He was taken to the hospital. Yes, the woman was Dorrell. No, Petrino was not going to say anything about it until he realized the police report was going to be made public. That’s when he called AD Jeff Long, who immediately and self-righteously and sanctimoniously commissioned the proverbial “investigation.”

Petrino magnanimously said he would cooperate, as if he has a choice. Of course, he said it behind a printed statement that misspelled the word publicly (his version has more ‘Ls’ and an ‘A’ where it does not belong … make your own joke.)

Long is the same guy who hired Petrino away from the Falcons.

He can’t say he didn’t get what he paid for.