Bobby Petrino calls Mallett a "student of the game"

Add former Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino, now the top man at Louisville, to the list of people happy to see Ryan Mallett finally getting an opportunity to start in the NFL.

"Ryan was always one of my favorite guys to coach because he was such a good student of the game and spent a lot of time studying and in the classroom," Petrino said on Wednesday. "He enjoyed it."

Mallett played two years under Petrino at Arkansas, leading the Razorbacks to an appearance in the Sugar Bowl. The signal caller broke 16 school records during his career.

QB Ryan Mallet's career in Houston, New England, as well as at Arkansas and Michigan, is captured here in photos.

Left tackle Duane Brown told Texans Radio that he considers Mallett to be "a field general" and that the Texarkana, Tex., native has great leadership ability. Petrino concurs. "The first thing about Ryan is, the minute he stepped into the room, he was the leader."

"Even when he was redshirting, he was the guy that was the leader of the team and everybody around him. It came naturally to him."

Petrino thinks that learning behind Tom Brady was highly beneficial. "When you're doing it (playing back-up) you never feel like it's the best thing that can happen to you but I think it is," his former head coach added.

"There have been a lot of good quarterbacks that go into the NFL, have to play early and it ends up hurting their career," he mentioned. "He should feel great about being able to sit and work against great players in practice. I know it was hard on him because he's competitive, he wants to be out there."

Petrino credited Mallett for growing as both a person and professional upon entering the NFL. "The first thing he did was mature off the field. I thought he really grew up."

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