Tuesday afternoon Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino announced that defensive Willy Robinson would no longer continue as Arkansas’ defensive coordinator.
Robinson had been the target of ire among Razorback fans for the thought poor play ofArkansas’ defense throughout his four year stint with the Hogs.
In 2010 the Razorbacks finished No. 36 in total defense allowing an average of 347 yards per game. The 2011 squad finished the regular season No. 51 in total defense allowing 371.42 yards per game.
In comparison to the other defenses in the SEC Robinson’s unit may have underperformed.Alabama, LSU, Georgia, and South Carolina were the top four defensive teams in the nation. Florida finished No. 9, Vanderbilt No. 19, Tennessee No. 28, and Mississippi State No. 43.
In an unfair comparison,UniversityofArkansasdid not even win the state defensively. Former Arkansas defensive coordinator Dave Womack led Arkansas State to a No. 20 total defensive ranking allowing 325.67 yards per game.
Robinson’s downfall during the 2011 season was his unit’s difficulty stopping the run.Arkansas’ run defense on average allowed 174 rushing yards per game; in 2010 they averaged 162 yards per game. Top ranked teams took advantage of the Hogs run defense;Alabamarushed for 197 total yards, 381 net rushing yards for Texas A&M, and 286 for LSU.
Through injuries Robinson did a great job of keeping his defensive unit together. Four starters missed significant game time including senior defensive end Jake Bequette, junior defensive end Tank Wright, and cornerbacks Darius Winston and Isaac Madison. Robert Thomas presence along the defensive front was noticeable as well.
Another contributing factor to the Razorbacks defensive woes was a lack of a strong running game throughout the season. Arkansas finished No. 81 in the nation in rushing offense accumulating 138 yards per game.
Bobby Petrino has lost three coordinators since the end of the regular season. Offensive coordinator Garrick McGee takes over as head coach of UAB, special teams coordinator John L. Smith is the new head coaching job atWeberState, and Robinson.
Petrino announced Tuesday morning that Paul Petrino will take over offensive coordinator duties for the Razorbacks. Paul Petrino was the offensive coordinator for the Razorbacks during the 2008-2009 seasons before taking the same position at the University of Illinois during the past two seasons under Ron Zook.
Robinson release is effective immediately. He will not coach the Razorbacks in the Cotton Bowl against No. 8 Kansas State.