A couple hundred concerned Razorback fans and a few appropriately decorated pets gathered on the Gardens to express their support for Bobby Petrino Monday evening. The rally, which began as a social media effort under the Facebook group "Team Save Bobby Petrino", was set up in just a few days and featured some Hog Calls, "Free Bobby" chants, and a couple of speeches. What I guess you'd call the keynote speech focused on admitting Petrino's mistakes but pointed to less-reported actions such as his $250,000 donation to Arkansas Children's Hospital as proof that Petrino is a human being who's simply made a bad mistake.
I'd love to share my picture of the dog that was painted red, but until my missing camera cable is located, you'll have to take my word for it.
After speaking with several of the festival-goers, a clear theme began to develop. Virtually everyone said some variation of, "I don't agree with what he did but he wins." Compartmentalization is alive and well in the Ozarks. Some full quotes after the jump.
I just, I don't feel like what he did was appropriate, but I want him as our coach. I want to win. - Jimmie Wilson
I think we pay him to be our football coach and not to be scrutinized for every detail of his life. I understand that we want to look good as a university, but, ultimately, his job is to win games and he has and we need to keep him. If we want to win a national championship, we keep Bobby. End of story....Me and my friends, we want to keep him. He wins for us and that's what we want. I mean, it's a terrible thing that happened and I feel bad for everybody's feelings being hurt but, win games. That's what he's here for. - Katie Nichols
We've got a lot of potential for next season and don't want to see it go to waste. We've got a lot of momentum going in the right direction. We've got all these facilities going up for $40.3 million and that would probably be put to a slow and steady halt. And it just wouldn't be good for the whole state. - Sam Holt
"He's the best coach we've had in a long long time. My opinion's changed on him sure, I feel differently about him than I did last week at this time. But he's the best coach for our football team and that still hasn't changed." - Clint Reed
"We all have to decide how much sin we can live with." - Nucky Thompson
When something like this happens it seems to get blown out of proportion kinda like a wildfire. It seems to get bigger day by day. Like they said here tonight, we all make mistakes. What he did wasn't right. But I wouldn't want to lose him. I don't want to go back to the Houston Nutt days, the Danny Ford days. We need to stop and think about what we went through in those years. To me, I've never seen a coach getting as much talent here as he has. He's building something special. I'd hate to see it end like this. I think it'd be a big big mistake if they let him go. You don't know when you make a coaching change, if who you get will be any better. You just can't make a change unless you better yourself. Dale Sizemore
Well I think it's a bad situation Bobby's put us in, but I want to keep him here. I don't want him to go anywhere. But I do think they need to discipline him somehow, but we do need to keep him here. It's very important he stays here at Arkansas. The facilities they brought in here because of him and the momentum the university has in football, I think it's important that we keep it going and keep him here. We're all human. We all should be forgiven. I do think if we brought in another coach, and he didn't pan out, we might be looking for a new athletic director, because that's a bad situation Jeff Long's in. - Dwayne Huckeba
Well, I think people make mistakes. People are human. Coach Petrino's no exception. I don't think it should affect his career. People in the business world are adulterers. These things happen. I'm not saying I condone that lifestyle, but if it doesn't affect the football program, I don't care what he does in his personal life. We shouldn't have to enforce morality. Coach Petrino's the man and I don't want to see him go, that's for sure. I want to keep winning....I think the incoming coach would have really big shoes to fill, so I don't think we should go to drastic measures like [finding a new coach]. Because we know what we have in Coach Petrino. Consecutive 10-win seasons. Last year we won 11 games. We're in the top 5 in the nation. Why mess with a good thing? - Nick Porter
21-5 over the past 2 seasons. It's the best we've been in years. People make mistakes and it's his personal life. It's not on-the-field business. It had nothing to do with the program. I can see how with a university employee, it would look questionable, but, either way, 21-5. He should stay here. - Bryan Roland