IRVING -- For most college football teams, changing three coordinators between the regular season and a bowl appearance would mean disaster.
For Arkansas, it's a reunion.
The No. 7 Razorbacks (10-2) will play No. 11 Kansas State (10-2) Friday in the AT&T Cotton Bowl with three new coaches.
Former offensive coordinator Garrick McGee was hired as the head coach at UAB, defensive coordinator Willy Robinson resigned and special teams coordinator John L. Smith took the head coaching job at Weber State.
Arkansas rebounded with three quick moves, including bringing back head coach Bobby Petrino's brother, Paul, the Arkansas offensive coordinator in 2008-09.
"We didn't miss a beat there," Bobby Petrino said. "He just stepped in and kept going with what we are doing."
Paul Petrino was familiar with Arkansas' players and offensive schemes. He helped build the team.
"[QB] Tyler [Wilson] was the first guy I recruited," said Paul Petrino, who coached at Illinois until Arkansas hired him back Dec. 6. "I helped recruit Joe Adams and Jarius Wright, and for those two, it's fun to get back and coach them in the last game they are going to play."
Arkansas promoted defensive ends coach Steve Caldwell to special teams coordinator and hired Ohio State's Paul Haynes to lead its defense.
"It has been fun to watch [Haynes] work," Bobby Petrino said. "He is a tremendous teacher. He has done a great job with our players in a short amount of time."
Arkansas' coaching turnover may have hindered Kansas State more than the Razorbacks.
"It creates more problems for us that put you in position to not be able to focus on how they call, tendencies with down-and-distance," Kansas State coach Bill Snyder said. "It also create issues schematically, just exactly what a coordinator will bring in."
At the kickoff for Cotton Bowl week, Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino and several of his defensive players fielded questions about Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein.
Most were seeking a comparison between Klein and Denver Broncos QB Tim Tebow.
"I think you can certainly see some comparisons there," Petrino said. "The size and the strength, the ability to break tackles, the ability to win games in the fourth quarter when the game is on the line."
Klein, 6-foot-5, 226 pounds, has 1,745 yards passing with 12 TDs this season. But it is his power running game that sets him apart. Klein has 1,099 yards rushing with 26 touchdowns.
"It's been a journey," Klein said of his junior season. "I've learned a lot. I've been able to grow and improve through it and continue to improve to this day."
Klein's dual-threat ability landed him on the All-Big 12 team as an all-purpose player.
"He's been very instrumental to whatever degree of success we have had this season," Kansas State coach Bill Snyder said. "He maybe doesn't fit every category but certainly fits an all-purpose category."
Klein's rushing stats are comparable to Tebow's Heisman-winning 2007 season, when Tebow had 895 rushing yards and 23 rushing TDs. But Tebow had much higher passing totals with 3,286 yards and 32 TDs.
Klein, however, doesn't want any comparisons.
"As far as categorizing yourself, saying what you can and can't do, don't let yourself do that and don't let other people do it to you," Klein said. "I don't know if there is one [comparison] or not. I'm just trying to get better."
Alvin Bailey, who is 6-foot-5 and 319 pounds, didn't have to wait for Friday's Cotton Bowl to get his fill of competition. Bailey and the rest of the Razorbacks participated in a traditional beef bowl eating contest Monday night at Lawry's The Prime Rib in Dallas.
"I've heard great stories about the beef bowl," Bailey said Monday afternoon in anticipation. "I don't think I will win, but I will put up a fight."
Many of the Arkansas players picked Bailey as their team's beef-eating heavyweight.
But Bailey tabbed Jason Peacock, a 6-foot-4, 334-pound offensive tackle, to put down the most prime rib.
"I've got faith in Peacock," Bailey said.
Kansas State will participate in its side of the beef-eating challenge tonight.
Brent Shirley, 817-390-7760