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July 18, 2012
HOOVER, Ala. - Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson won't lie - the days following Bobby Petrino's dismissal as the Razorback head coach was a period of time he likely will never forget.
"It was an interesting situation. It was tough on a number of us. If there was a defining moment I kind of always talk about the night our athletic director walked in and told us our head coach had been fired," Wilson said during Wednesday's third session at SEC Media Days. "A number of guys, myself and Tenarius Wright stood up and kind of laid down our thoughts on how thing should go. The one thing I really stressed was it's already happened, and there are two things you can do, two things you can control - your attitude and your effort."
So far, Wilson has liked what he's seen.
As the Razorbacks get ready to begin fall drills, the senior QB doesn't believe his team will suffer any post-Petrino letdown.
"We've got a good core group of guys who said let's go attack it, and we had the best spring since I've been there," Wilson said. "I think a lot of our younger guys looked at what the older guys were doing. We could have had a lot of guys transfer and a lot of things happen, but we didn't and I think we're on the right track."
New Razorback coach John L. Smith says having a player like Wilson in the position of leadership has helped beyond description.
"He's such a positive guy, as are all of our guys really to a certain degree," Smith said of his quarterback, who still believes there's no question his Razorbacks can successful follow up on last year's success.
"We've definitely moved on. We've got a head coach now who we are all very comfortable with and has been with our system for three years. Nothing has changed at all. Offensively, we've continued to implement the things we have for five years," Wilson said. "Terminology-wise, I'm extremely comfortable with it. Defensively, we had a change in defensive coordinator but that was done before the incident, so I think everybody is comfortable. Nothing has changed in terms of the way we operate. Summer conditioning sessions have been incredible. We've had tremendous turnout as far as attendance, not a lot of guys have been missing. There are a lot of guys doing the right thing and I'm extremely excited about the upcoming season."
Muschamp says players can "Tweet" away
Recently, Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher made some news when he told Warchant.com that his players would be banned from using Twitter indefinitely after cornerback Tyler Hunter quoted lyrics from a rap song that mentioned killing policemen.
Wednesday, Florida coach Will Muschamp was asked to give his philosophy as it pertains to his football team.
"We don't have a lot of rules. The No. 1 rule is, don't embarrass the program, the university or your family," Muschamp said. "We monitor that through a service we have to make sure. We ask them not to talk about any football business on here."
Muschamp concedes there have been some situations where he's had to step in.
"Unfortunately, we've got some knuckleheads here and there that will make poor decisions, put something on there," he said. "They don't understand the ramifications of putting something on there that's not appropriate and we handle it quickly."
Other social media issues have occurred at other schools.
Recently, Georgia defensive end Cornelius Washington lashed out at fans on Facebook regarding comments made toward former running back Isaiah Crowell.
Washington later apologized.
Muschamp indicated he evaluates any situation that may come up on a case-by-case basis.
"I think freedom of speech is one of the great things we have in this country," Muschamp said. "I don't have any problems with it as long as they handle it the right way. If a guy doesn't handle it the right way, he won't be on it because he doesn't deserve the right."
Four rule changes of note
On Wednesday, SEC head of officials Steve Shaw broke down the four major rule changes fans will need to be aware of when watching their favorite team this fall.
One, of course, involves kickoffs where the kickoff line has been moved from the 30 up to the 35 in an effort to have more touchbacks, limit collisions and have less injuries.
To provide further incentive, kick returners who take a knee for a touchback, the ball will come out at the 25 instead of the 20.
Shaw admits he's curious as to how coaches will approach the new rule.
"A lot of coaches worked on this in the spring. It will be interesting to see how this one plays out because it's easier to get a touchback now, five more yards to start from," Shaw said. "The flipside of that is some special teams coaches with good kickers may try to sky kick, pen 'em back deep. It will be interesting to see how this one plays out."
Other rule changes of note:
? Any player that loses his helmet during a game that's not the result of a penalty will have to leave the game for a play. No exceptions.
? Regarding punt returners, officials will now determine personal foul calls based on a modified halo instead of a two-yard halo. Returners will now have a shoulder width and one yard in front that will be considered "protected space" and no kicking team can get within that space until the ball is touched.
? On punt block situations, defensive players will not be allowed to jump over personal protectors who set up inside the tackle box. Defensive players will be allowed to go through or around, but not over. Any penalty will be a 15-yarder and an automatic first down.
Also, Shaw added that last year's new celebration rule was deemed a success, pointing out that only one touchdown was called back due to excessive celebrations.
They said it
? "I think it's a great tradition to leave it in Jacksonville. It's a great setting. Coming to the St. John's River, as a competitor, if that doesn't get your blood boiling, there's something wrong with you. You look at the tradition, the history of the game there. Coach Dooley never complained about it being there." - Will Muschamp.
? "Well, certainly, do I look stupid? Don't answer that question (smiling)." - Arkansas coach John L. Smith when asked if he would like to be the Razorbacks coach after this year.
This and that
Muschamp announced that tight end A.C. Leonard will transfer to another school. ? Brissett and Jeff Driskel will enter fall even in the race to become the Gators' starting quarterback. Muschamp said both could play.