Most of the Arkansas Razorbacks lost an offensive coordinator when Garrick McGee left in December to become the head coach at Alabama-Birmingham.

 

Most of the Arkansas Razorbacks lost an offensive coordinator when Garrick McGee left in December to become the head coach at Alabama-Birmingham.
Alvin Bailey lost much more. The third-year sophomore All-SEC second-team offensive guard of Broken Arrow, Okla. lost his Tulsa born Oklahoma link to Arkansas.  “He recruited me,” Bailey said. “That’s my coach, man.  I am happy for him. He got the opportunity to be a head coach.”
Alvin Bailey Sr., Alvin’s Helena born father and former Razorbacks basketball walk-on of the Eddie Sutton era, started his son’s link to Arkansas but McGee finished it as Alvin the son said Alvin the dad left the choice of college up to him.
Now McGee is gone but the 10-2 BCS No. 6 Razorbacks press on for their Jan. 6 Cotton Bowl game in Dallas against the BCS eighth-ranked 10-2 Kansas State Wildcats.
The situation is nothing new to Bailey. When he was a redshirting freshman in 2009 and the Razorbacks readied in December for their January Liberty Bowl game in Memphis, McGee was the quarterbacks coach newly promoted to offensive coordinator. Paul Petrino, the offensive coordinator under his play-calling brother, head coach Bobby Petrino, had left to become the play-calling offensive coordinator at Illinois.
Now McGee is gone and Paul back on with Illinois Coach Ron Zook fired and an Arkansas situation made to order for the Petrino brothers to reunite.  “Coach Paul stepped in and I played for him when he was an offensive coordinator, too,” Bailey said. “So everything is going fine.”
It certainly seems to be with Bailey, 6-5, 319, recognized both by the SEC Coaches and the media voting in the Associated Press as second-team All-SEC, which is certain to make him start 2012 as Preseason first-team All-SEC and an All-American candidate, too.
“I am very happy,” Bailey said. “Any time you get recognition like that it’s obvious you had a successful year. It’s good to know I am getting recognition for my hard work.”
Call Bailey happy but definitely don’t call him satisfied.  “I don’t ever think I did good enough that there is no room for improvement,” Bailey said. “Next year I tell everyone I will be better and that starts with the bowl game.  I am not saying what I have done is not good enough, but I know I will do more in the future.”
Amen, says Chris Klenakis, Arkansas’ second-year offensive line coach always grateful that the Petrino brothers and former Arkansas offensive line coach Mike Summers ultimately redshirted Bailey in 2009.
Klenakis appreciates what Bailey has done but never thinks a young player should think he’s done enough.
“Well, he’s still has got to get better,” Klenakis said. “He’s just a sophomore now.  I am not the kind of guy who gets too fired up when they are young because he’s still got two years to get better and we still have got two weeks to get better before this game.”
Klenakis always knew Bailey is smart enough to see it his way or whatever football way is the right way.
“Alvin’s best attributes are his football intelligence,” Klenakis said.  That intelligence must be off the charts since Bailey has the body and the quickness to test off the charts of any NFL scout.
“ We all talk about how quick he is, how big he is and how strong he is,” Klenakis said.  “And he is all those and explosive.  But the thing I like most about Alvin is his football intelligence.  He understands the game and takes a lot of pride in learning the game and that’s what is going to mark him an even better player. He’s got the God-given talent, but I like the way he learns the game.”
The 38-14 and 41-17 losses to Alabama and SEC champion LSU, the SEC teams playing for the national championship Jan. 9, teach Bailey the Hogs have catching up to do for next season and “it definitely, definitely starts with this bowl game.”