Tom Murphy is a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of Louisiana Tech University, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and voter for the Heisman Trophy and AP Top 25 football poll.
Assistants in line for $719,756
Arkansas offensive coordinator Paul Petrino (right) likely won't return in 2013.
FAYETTEVILLE Arkansas’ transition to a new coaching staff will be an expensive proposition, in terms of salaries for the new head coach and his staff, their potential buyouts, as well as the remaining payments to the Razorbacks’ current assistants.
Arkansas’ athletic department and Razorback Foundation saved a substantial sum in not paying eight months of former Coach Bobby Petrino’s $3.1 million salary this season, which was partially offset by the $850,000 guaranteed to pay John L. Smith’s 10-month contract.
Athletic Director Jeff Long also arranged for the nine-member staff to receive “longevity incentive payments” that will total $719,756. The longevity inducement was put in place ideally to keep the staff on board during the interim period between last Friday’s regular season finale and a bowl. However, the payments, which ranged from 25 percent to 33 percent of the coach’s annual salary, were also to be paid in the event Arkansas did not qualify for a bowl.
Three coaches hired by former Coach Bobby Petrino before his firing in April: Offensive coordinator Paul Petrino ($141,667), defensive coordinator Paul Haynes ($141,667) and assistant head coach Taver Johnson ($91,667), are all getting one third of their annual salaries.
The other assistants: offensive line coach Chris Klenakis ($66,605), defensive ends coach Steve Caldwell ($64,250), cornerbacks coach Bobby Allen ($58,950), receivers coach Kris Cinkovich ($53,700), running backs coach and recruiting coordinator Tim Horton ($51,250), and defensive tackles coach Kevin Peoples ($50,000) are receiving 25 percent of their salaries.
Arkansas’ eight losses this season came against teams that have a combined 72-23 record for a .758 winning percentage. Seven of the Razorbacks’ losses were against teams with eight or more victories, including Alabama (11-1), LSU (10-2), Texas A&M (10-2), South Carolina (10-2) and Rutgers (9-2).
Louisiana-Monroe, which beat the Razorbacks 34-31 in overtime, is 8-4.
The only team to beat Arkansas that doesn’t have a winning record is Ole MIss (6-6), which beat Mississippi State 41-24 on Saturday.
Arkansas’ 11 Football Bowl Subdivision opponents are a combined 86-45.
Jacksonville State, a Football Championship Subdivision team the Razorbacks beat 49-24 to open the season, finished 6-5.
Tulsa (9-3) is the only FBS team with a winning record that Arkansas beat.
The Razorbacks’ SEC victories came against Auburn (3-9) and Kentucky(2-10).
Arkansas offensive coordinator Paul Petrino became emotional and had to fight back tears when talking about quarterback Tyler Wilson after the Razorbacks’ season-ending 20-13 loss to LSU on Friday.
“You know Tyler, he means a lot to this university,” Petrino said. “He fought every day. He was banged up a lot this year and he ... there isn’t anything I wouldn’t ever do for Tyler Wilson. I guarantee it.
“Nothing I wouldn’t do for him. I respect him so much. He’s a great kid, and all the Razorbacks should definitely care about him and always appreciate him.” No bonuses
Arkansas finished the season without scoring any touchdowns on defense or special teams after getting six touchdowns last season on punt, kickoff and fumble returns.
Tyler Wison said he’s now turning his attention to choosing an agent and preparing for the NFL Scouting Combine.
“It’s going to be a busy few weeks for me to kind of gather everything up here and finalize some of the relationships that I’ve built here,” Wilson said. “Then try to move on forward with that next process.” Decision time
Arkansas center Travis Swanson, a redshirt junior who has made 38 consecutive starts, was asked after the LSU game if he’ll consider entering the NFL draft.
“I have not even thought about that,” Swanson said.
“I’ve tried to keep my head out of that. I’ve actually done a pretty good job of it. That’s something I’m not even going to focus on right now.”
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
QB Tyler Wilson
Wilson completed 31 of 52 passes for 359 yards, with 1touchdown and 1 interception in his career finale. The senior from Greenwood also became Arkansas’ career passing leader, his 7,765 yards surpassing the record held by Ryan Mallett (7,493) for just two years.
Star Ross Rasner
DE Chris Smith
Rasner led Arkansas with 13 tackles to clinch his spot as the team tackle leader with 92 for the season. Smith (right) had 6 tackles and 1 1/2 sacks, bringing his sack count to 9 1/2 for the year to rank seventh on Arkansas’ single-season chart.
LSU 20, Arkansas 13
Georgia 42, Georgia Tech 10
Tennessee 37, Kentucky 17
Alabama 49, Auburn 0
Vanderbilt 55, Wake Forest 21
Florida 37, Florida State 26
Texas A&M 59, Missouri 29
Mississippi 41, Mississippi State 24
South Carolina 27, Clemson 17
Sports, Pages 20 on 11/26/2012