Monday, December 06, 2004

Feed the Studs | by Jay

And in our continuing series on the coaching carousel...

I dug up a couple of articles here and here on Bobby Petrino from the summer of '03, when he was just getting ready to kickoff his first season as a head coach. Some things I didn't know:

* He previously served as Louisville's offensive coordinator (1998). That year, L'ville led the nation in scoring at a 40.4 ppg clip.

* He is not necessarily a pass-first kind of guy, although he does clearly prefer a good passing game, with a strong running game to set it up ("First of all, we've got to be able to run the ball real well to take the pressure off the quarterback...") When he was Auburn's OC, he marshalled a powerful running attack, and mixed in passes as the running game became the focus of attention from opponents' defensive strategies. He seems to take the team's strengths (running or passing) and work from there, building towards a powerful, balanced offense. Petrino sums up his philosophy in three words: "Feed the studs."

* At the time, he was plenty excited to air it out at Louisville, with a special focus on "yards after the catch":

...in fact, that receivers are under orders to run 40 yards after every catch, even if the whistle has blown. If they don't, Paul Petrino chases them, screaming to take the ball to the end zone. For the running backs, their orders are to run at least 20 yards on every carry. "We want those guys thinking about making the big play," Bobby Petrino said. "You want to make it a habit."
* He loves to talk to alumni, and he loves drumming up support for his program. He had one jag last summer where he went 14 straight days in a row with a scheduled speaking engagement. He seems to have zealously embraced those PR-type of duties that a coordinator doesn't have to deal with, but that are so crucial for a head coach trying to build a program.

* All that enthusiasm generated a tremendous amount of support for the program, and Louisville had a record 7,000 attendees to their spring game that year.

***

Petrino had a solid 2003, going 9-3 with only one bad loss (to Memphis), but losing to Miami Ohio in the GMAC bowl (getting dissected by future Steelers star Ben Roethlisberger). However, the program was clearly on track. They finished among the nation's leaders in offense and scoring, and were able to leverage their success into a solid recruiting class led by all-everything quarterback Brian Brohm.

This year, they've been even better: #1 in offense in the country, scoring 50+ points per game, averaging 536 yards per game. Their only loss was a 41-38 nailbiter at Miami (FL) where the Cardinals outgained Miami 507-431 but still lost.

I think I agree with Michael below; Bobby Petrino is a great choice for the Irish at this point. He's young (43), he's fiery, and he's smart as hell.

One note of concern though, from a Bill Kirk/Student Affairs/tailgating police standpoint: Petrino loves to drum up fan support, and actually talks about tailgating as an important part of the football gameday. Uh oh. Along those lines, I was in attendance at the Notre Dame/USC joint football luncheon last week before the game, and Pete Carroll talked about how he hoped the fans were going to be "jacked up" and "partied up" for tomorrow's game. Out of the corner of my eye, I think I caught a wince from Monk. I hope Fr. Jenkins is the kind of guy who enjoys a beer and a brat before the game.

5 comments:

  1. Anonymous9:06 PM

    Petrino is also the kind of guy who would stab his friend in the back to try to get ahead. Not exactly an ND guy.

    Last year Petrino tried to go behind his AD's back and negotiate a deal with Auburn, after only 1 year with Louisville! To add to the fire he was a former assistant of Tuberville(Auburn's coach at the time and today) Man, don't let anyone get in your way Bobby. Wonder what that guy's got on his mind? ($$$$$)

    On Nov. 20, 2003, as Tuberville prepared the team for the annual showdown against Alabama, then-Auburn President William Walker, athletics director David Housel and two members of the board of trustees took a private plane to meet with Louisville coach Bobby Petrino, hoping to hire him. Neither Tuberville nor Louisville officials were informed. When the clandestine trip was made public just before Thanksgiving, the outcry was fierce. Adding to the intrigue: Petrino is a former Tuberville assistant.
    http://www.usatoday.com/sports/college/football/sec/2004-11-12-auburn-tuberville-cover_x.htm

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  2. Anonymous9:12 PM

    I agree; the move was slimy and even though it was apparently initiated by Auburn's AD, Petrino should have said 'no' to the meeting just on principle.

    That said, he did apologzied to Louisville publicly and also apparently apologized to Tuberville in private.

    Part of me wants to chalk this up to a young guy getting his first chance at the brass ring, but I agree with you, it is troubling.

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  3. After attending a few Willingham "events" this would be a welcome change....

    "He loves to talk to alumni, and he loves drumming up support for his program. He had one jag last summer where he went 14 straight days in a row with a scheduled speaking engagement. He seems to have zealously embraced those PR-type of duties that a coordinator doesn't have to deal with, but that are so crucial for a head coach trying to build a program."

    The more I read, the more I like.

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  4. Tonight, Bill Parcells demonstrated that he, too, adheres to the philosophy of "feed the studs."

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  5. The "problem" is that Petrino doesn't have an agent who can act as an intermediary with interested parties. He definitely screwed up because he was caught...but didn't Notre Dame do something similar when they landed Holtz? I thought we initiated contact with him and essentially had the deal done before Faust was fired. No?

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