For all of the talk of offensive familiarity, the defense would also face a difficult transition with a new staff. Defensive coordinator Paul Haynes was hired in December and led the Razorbacks to a Cotton Bowl win over Kansas State, and the former Ohio State assistant has spent much of this spring putting his stamp on a unit that hopes to be as renowned as its offensive counterparts.
It's just another reason for Arkansas to stick with what it knows, at least in the eyes of Paul Petrino.
"I think the smartest thing (Long) could do is to keep the whole staff for a year, because without a spring ball it would be too hard to put in an offense and defense" Petrino said. "So, keep the staff for a year, let us coach it and go win. The kids understand what we're doing. They know what we're doing. So let's keep doing it."
On Tuesday, the school also announced it had received $1.25 million in the form of two gifts from donors citing "the courageous leadership" of Long.
The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation approved a $1 million gift to help fund a new academic resource and study center and dining hall for the 460 student-athletes at Arkansas, an $18 million-$23 million plan that remains in the conceptual stages. Foundation board Chairman Fred W. Smith also made a personal donation of $250,000.
"The courageous leadership demonstrated by Jeff Long in the course of recent events has further affirmed our confidence in his leadership and his vision for intercollegiate athletics at the University of Arkansas," Smith said in a statement released by the school. "Mr. Long acted with integrity and with the best interests of Razorback student-athletes and the University of Arkansas in mind."
Long said he was surprised and humbled by the donations.