As for the recruiting part...it's just a tough place to recruit. The state is surrounded by Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, Tennessee, Missouri...it's next to impossible to pull top recruits from those states and a lot of times they lose the best Arkansas recruits to better SEC programs as well.
Petrino was successful because he want hard after all the offensive players and landed a few 5 star guys and then a bunch of 4 star players. He also got lucky with Mallett transferring...that kinda put the program on the map for a couple years.
I think most people here want Charlie Strong. I wouldn't mind Malzahn because I think he could at the very least, recruit the state better than anyone, but I'd like to see him get more HC experience first.I know Charlie Strong is a popular name for them right now and I'm a huge fan of his but a Gus Malzahn type of hire gives them another dose of unique, which is what a team in their position needs IMO.
Either way, Jeff Long (Arkansas AD) needs to hit a homerun with this hire or else he may be on the hot seat himself after firing Petrino and hiring such an awful replacement in John L. Smith.