NCAA Football: Missouri State at Arkansas

New Arkanas offensive coordinator Bobby Petrino said he "didn't sleep for month" while learning Jimbo Fisher's offensive terminology at Texas A&M this past season. Petrino made the comment in an interview with Hogs Plus as he explained some of the challenges that came with working under Fisher, who hired Petrino to help reinvigorate A&M's offense but "wanted to keep his terminology."

"It was hard," Petrino said. "It was studying every night, trying to figure this out. Why are we calling it this way?"

Texas A&M averaged 403.8 yards of total offense in 2023, which was up from 360.9 in 2022 and 392.4 in 2021. Still, the unit's effectiveness was a far cry from Fisher's first team in 2018 that averaged 471.6 yards per game. It also fell short of the 439.3 yards per game averaged by the Aggies in 2020 while navigating an all-SEC schedule with a 9-1 record amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

At Arkansas, Petrino should feel relatively unencumbered. Unlike Fisher, who made his name in the coaching world as an offensive coordinator, Razorbacks' coach Sam Pittman is not a coordinator by trade. Thus, he should be more willing to let Petrino have full control to install the offense as he sees fit.

"I have an offense that I am very familiar with and understand inside and out, and calling it will be much easier and going going quicker," Petrino said. "The players are going to have to work hard at understanding it, but we'll have a processed approach to installing it and learning it, and we'll get it installed three times. Psychologists say if you learn something three times, you better have it. We'll expect them by kickoff to have it, have it down and be ready to go."

Arkansas fans know that system well, considering Petrino guided the Razorbacks to a 34-17 record as the program's coach from 2008 to 2011 before a scandalous unraveling to his tenure following an 11-2 campaign in 2011. The Razorbacks have not won more than nine games in a season since then, but Petrino's return provides at least some reason for optimism in 2024, even amid the expected transfer of veteran quarterback KJ Jefferson.