Published September 25, 2012 - 11:37am
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It sure didn’t take long for a national title contender exiting 2011 to fall into the SEC West abyss. There is not just one event that occurred to cause the fall, but rather a timeline of events that have led to the saga. From Bobby Petrino to John L. Smith, there are many ways to point the blame.
March 28, 2012: Bobby Petrino hires Jessica Dorrell as Student-Athlete Development Coordinator. And Petrino releases the following quote about Dorrell’s hire:
“Jessica Dorrell will be a great addition to our football program,” said Coach Petrino. “As a former student-athlete she has an enthusiasm for the Razorbacks and is familiar with what the University of Arkansas can offer. She is extremely organized and has a professional approach, which should translate well into our program and recruiting as we continue to place an emphasis on this area.”
April 1, 2012: Petrino is involved in motorcycle accident around 6:45 PM local time. It is listed as a single vehicle crash. He is hospitalized, kept overnight and later released.
April 2, 2012: Arkansas releases a statement regarding the accident.
“Coach Petrino was involved in a motorcycle accident on Sunday evening that involved no other individuals. He is in stable condition and is expected to make a full recovery. Our family appreciates respect for our privacy during the recovery and we are grateful for the thoughts of Razorback fans at this time.”
April 3, 2012: Petrino goes back to work and admits he wasn’t wearing a helmet in the crash. Here is the video of the press conference.
He was specifically asked if anyone was with him, and he said “there was a lady there that helped me flag down a car”. That was, from what we understand, Jessica Dorrell.
April 5, 2012: We learn that Petrino was not alone on the motorcycle and that Jessica Dorrell was riding on the back. Arkansas’ released official statement was then called into question.
Later that evening, AD Jeff Long places Petrino on administrative leave with pay after he gets word that he has been lied to.
April 9, 2012: Arkansas State police release the 911 phone call following the incident, and that there was a female who was involved but did not look to be injured.
A rally is held on campus by Petrino’s supporters.
April 10, 2012: Jeff Long calls a presser for 7:15 PM and announces Petrino has been fired. Long also tells us that Petrino had given around “$20,000 in cash” to Dorrell.
Petrino released the following written statement:
“I chose to engage in an improper relationship. I also made several poor decisions following the end of that relationship and in the aftermath of the accident. I accept full responsibility for what has happened.”
April 23, 2012: Jeff Long announces that John L. Smith is hired to be the interim head coach and signs a 10-month contract. Smith was the head coach at Weber State and the former special teams coach under Petrino just last season.
July 16, 2012: Arkansas athletics launches the TD2012 campaign promoting players, namely Tyler Wilson and Knile Davis, for postseason awards. Both are considered preseason Heisman contenders.
The UA athletic department developed an all-encompassing strategic plan to support and promote multiple Razorback football student-athletes. The official campaign will highlight information regarding Arkansas’ candidates for post-season honors and rally the fans as the season progresses towards election day for each award.
July 18, 2012: SEC Media Days capture John L. Smith in his truest form, and “Get your piss hot” was born.
“Coach tells us to ‘get your piss hot’ to motivate the team.” -Tenarius Wright, about John L. Smith
August 9, 2012: Bobby Petrino is interviewed by ESPN about the Arkansas firing and the events that led up to it.
August 21, 2012: Petrino’s mistress, Jessica Dorrell, and her finance are still engaged, and her fiance takes a job at the University of South Carolina.
September 1, 2012: Arkansas beats Jacksonville State 49-24. The Hogs thought the team could be tightened up after mistakes against Jacksonville State. However, it was just a foreshadowing for the next game against ULM.
John L. Smith’s post-game quotes:
“We are going to have to tighten up in our pass coverage. That will come. In special teams, I was hoping to get Nate (Holmes) a little more running room. He got some room in there, except it had to be called back. I think that shows a little bit of his abilities as far as a return guy. So we’ll get some things out of him hopefully like what we got out of Joe Adams in the future. Anyway that was about it. There are a lot of things we need to work on and a lot of things we need to get better at before the next one.”
September 8, 2012: Arkansas has a monumental collapse to Louisiana-Monroe and loses in overtime 34-31. Tyler Wilson gets knocked out in the first half due to concussion-like symptoms. ULM even made t-shirts commemorating the victory.
September 9, 2012: Saturday Down South learns from a source close to Wilson that he was kept overnight in Little Rock from a severe concussion, was not released from hospital until “around 11 AM” and “had blood on the bottom of his brain”. Arkansas continues to say Wilson will be a game-time decision against Alabama.
YouTube singer LIZHONEY2U makes a video that would go viral by singing “Razorbacks United We Stand”.
September 13, 2012: Tyler Wilson misses practice because he went to a specialist for his concussion, and medical personnel does not clear him for Saturday’s game against Alabama. However, the media has no clue he was not cleared or why he missed practice.
September 15, 2012: Wilson warms up before the game, but he does not start because the medical personnel did not clear him. Arkansas goes on to get dominated by Alabama 52-0, and John L. Smith’s post-game comments give no encouragement to anyone.
“I really don’t know what to say. I didn’t know what to say to our team as well.”
Wilson calls out his teammates after the loss, which is met with mixed emotions:
“No, sorry, we’re not doing questions today. I’ll start with the football game. Obviously it wasn’t very pretty to watch. It wasn’t pretty for me to sit on the sideline and watch as a player. It sucks I can’t be out there to do anything about it. Do I feel like we at times gave up out there? Yeah. Absoutely. And as a leader, it sucks to see people not do their jobs and things go wrong. There have been a lot of things that have gone that way. As a leader at this point, you’ve got to look forward, and there’s been a lot of people jump off the bandwagon and it’s my responsibility as a leader to keep everybody in this organization, in this team, in that locker room, together. And I’m going to make sure of it going forward. We’ve got a big game against Rutgers next week. I’m going to do everything in my power to be a part of it and be the starting quarterback to run out there on the field and get a win. You’ve got to start with one before you can get the rest of them. But I give you my word I’m going to do the best in my ability and the best in my power to make that happen. That’s all I’ve got.”
September 16, 2012: LIZHONEY2U publishes another video after the Alabama loss named “Razorbacks Ain’t No Stopping Us Now“.
September 17, 2012: John L. Smith delivers the unforgettable “SMILE! SMILE!” press conference heard around the college football world.
September 19, 2012: Everyone learns that John L. Smith has over $25 million in debt from real estate deals gone bad. You can read the details here.
September 20, 2012: We also receive word from the University of Arkansas via a press release that John L. Smith’s brother has passed away, and he was in Idaho for the funeral.
“Coach John L. Smith flew to Idaho Falls last night following practice to attend the funeral of his brother (Bart) who passed away Monday. The funeral is being held this afternoon and Coach Smith will return to Fayetteville early this evening.”
September 21, 2012: Wilson is cleared to play against Rutgers, per John L. Smith.
“Good news this afternoon: Tyler is cleared to go,” Smith said. “That’s very exciting, and we are thankful that he is. Our football team is excited about that. Now we need to go to the field and be accountable and execute.”
September 22, 2012: Rutgers beats Arkansas 35-26, and the Rutgers quarterback throws for five touchdowns in the win. Hogs’ Cobi Hamilton sets a single-game SEC receiving record with 303 yards.
September 24, 2012: John L. Smith refers to the “state of Alabama program” when delivering a speech about his own team at the Arkansas Touchdown Club.