Category Archives: Fall and Rise of Bobby Petrino

“Sometimes they may know what to do, but they’re second-guessing themselves.”

A little pre-G-Day perspective for you guys:  do I really need to say more about Louisville’s spring game than this?

The offense piled up 951 yards and 11 touchdowns in the first exhibition appearance of coach Bobby Petrino’s second regime, showing off an abundance of weapons in the receiving and running back corps.

Well, yeah.  It could have been worse.

Gardner completed eight passes for 20 or more yards and would have had a ninth if a 66-yard bullet to Parker wasn’t called back for an illegal-formation penalty.

Neither Grantham nor his towel were available for comment.

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Name that caption, now I can finally say it edition

ESPN’s Andrea Adelson sits down to get the real poop from new Louisville defensive coordinator Todd Grantham in what looks like a very large, very empty space.

Have at it in the comments, peeps.

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It’s your problem now, Bobby.

Damned if this doesn’t sound all too familiar.

(h/t Gil Salter)

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Everything’s easier in Louisville.

Either I’m missing something here, or Bobby Petrino is.

As for the installation plan, Petrino says Garrick McGee and Todd Grantham will install the entire offense and defense in the first seven practices and then repeat the installation beginning with practice No. 8.

I guess it depends on what your definition of “install” is.

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“A spokesperson for Louisville told WPTV that coach Bobby Petrino had been made aware of the situation.”

And I, for one, can’t wait to hear his “do as I say, not as I did” response to this.

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“To get a coach like Todd Grantham on our staff says a lot about our program.”

Giving Todd Grantham a five-year guaranteed contract that pays him $1 million a year says a lot more, my man.

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UPDATE:  By the way, note that Grantham’s making a change for himself at position coach.

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UPDATE #2:  Stay classy, coach.

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UPDATE #3:  Sometimes this shit just writes itself.

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PAWWWLLL, when’s he coming back to the SEC?

Epic programming today…

Wonder how Finebaum poses his question about Grantham’s contract.

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Some post-Grantham thoughts

Rumor has it that the towel is holding out for a three-year guaranteed contract.

A variety of thoughts that popped into my head after learning the news that Georgia’s in the market for a new defensive coordinator:

  • The contract.  Seriously, can anybody blame Grantham for jumping at a five-year, $5 million guaranteed deal?  Hell, if he hadn’t taken it, I’d have questioned his judgment.  There’s no way Georgia would match an offer like that and I doubt Grantham even asked.
  • The timeline.  Pretty damned fast, I’d say.  Petrino was officially named Louisville’s head coach on Thursday.  He first offered the DC job to Alabama’s Kevin Steele, who initially, according to reports, accepted and then changed his mind and declined.  Petrino and Grantham made contact on Saturday, per Greg McGarity.  It’s a done deal the next day.
  • The initiator.  The $64000 question we’ll probably never get an answer to is who reached out to whom first.  And I’d sure like to know, for a couple of reasons.  Is Petrino that impressed with Grantham’s run at Georgia?  Or was Grantham perhaps being proactive in response to “that talk” with Mark Richt?  The size of the contract and the fact that Grantham was telling recruits after Lakatos’ departure that he was busy looking for a replacement make me lean in Petrino’s direction, but the speed with which the two came together would argue in favor of Grantham letting Petrino know that he might be in play with the right offer.  It’s a mystery unlikely to be solved.
  • Nepotism, for the win?  I’m not sure how much this came in to play, but one thing’s for sure.  It’s a helluva lot easier to hire your brother to coach at Louisville than it is at Georgia.
  • Rodney Garner.  Twice Richt called on Garner to hold things together when the defensive staff was in transition.  On both occasions, Garner came through.  On the other hand, there’s been plenty of chatter over the years about Garner being a sticking point with certain occupants/would be occupants of the coordinator spot.  This time, he ain’t around to make a difference either way.  Which leads to…
  • Recruiting.  The early response from recruits hasn’t been too troubling – anywhere from no difference to wait-and-see mode is manageable.  In any event, this is the worst reason in the world to rush into a hiring decision.  I expect Richt is smart enough to know that.
  • The hiring process.  Richt claims that he’s already had a fair amount of interest expressed in the position and I have little reason to doubt that.  It’s an attractive job.  There is plenty of returning talent, with a good class coming in this season if the staff can hold things together.  And the position coach opening in the secondary gives anyone coming in a leg up on shaping the defensive staff.  My gut tells me that it won’t take as long to hire somebody as it did when Richt replaced Martinez.
  • Greg McGarity.  He won’t be micromanaging the hire, but you can be damned sure he’s in control of the contract parameters.  Georgia isn’t as desperate to attract top coaching talent as Louisville, so it won’t be necessary to lay out the same kind of deal that Grantham got to land a qualified replacement, but this is the SEC and you’re not going to get your guy without a competitive offer, which makes it hard for me to see how Richt gets his man for much less than what Grantham was getting while in Athens.  This part of the play is going to be interesting to watch, to say the least.
  • Kirby Smart.  If I had to guess, this is the hire that would please the fan base the most, but it’s hard to see how this happens without a bunch of people taking a deep breath before taking the plunge.  There are some burned bridges after what happened the last go ’round.  And after watching Alabama’s defense flounder against HUNH offenses as much as Georgia’s did in 2013, I’m not so sure this is the slam dunk that those arguing in favor of it believe it to be.  Still, if the rumors are true about Orgeron coming to Tuscaloosa, I wonder if Smart might see the Georgia job as an opportunity to really be in control of the defensive staff and a step up.  It would admittedly be nice to see his recruiting talents come to Athens.  But I question whether McGarity is up to the salary requirements (not to mention what he’d likely have to do for Bobo, as well).
  • The rest of the field.  There are plenty of good choices out there.  Richt’s not close-minded about hiring, as indicated by the process last time.  But you wonder what he might have to promise these days to get a slam dunk hire.  I guess we’re about to find out how good Georgia is in attracting top flight coaching talent in the new world of exploding assistant salaries.

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UPDATE:  Seth Emerson’s analysis is worth a read.  Particularly this:

Did Richt let Grantham leave? It’s probably comparable to when Rodney Garner left after last season: Both were welcome back. But when they had a better offer, Richt (and Greg McGarity) said, essentially: Good luck to ya.

By comparison, if Mike Bobo had come to his bosses with a $1 million offer to run another team’s offense, the bet here is Richt and company would have fought to keep him.

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UPDATE #2:  Chip Towers sheds some light on a question I thought would remain murky.

So now we’re left with the chicken-and-the-egg question. Is this something that Richt initiated or is it something that just happened? There’s evidence on both sides of the equation.

Consider the timeline:

  • Richt meets with AD Greg McGarity for his end-of-year review on Thursday morning.
  • Thursday evening, UGA announces the resignation of Lakatos.
  • On Saturday, Grantham informs McGarity that Bobby Petrino wants to talk to him about Louisville’s defensive coordinator position.
  • On Sunday, news breaks that Grantham has accepted the Cardinals $5 million offer.

Here’s what I think: I believe the Lakatos resignation was going to happen anyway. There is some validity to the “personal reasons” the fourth-year assistant cited and clearly the Bulldogs needed to address the shortcomings at that position.

As for Grantham, I happen to know that he had no plans whatsoever to leave Georgia as of Friday night. Louisville swooped in fast-and-furious on Saturday. But the Cardinals’ lucrative offer left the Bulldogs no choice.  [Emphasis added.]

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Quite an offseason we’re having.

Holy.  Shit.

What was that some of you were saying about nobody wanting Richt’s staff?

Also, if I remember correctly, Grantham has to give McGarity notice if he wants to talk with somebody else, so I presume we’re past that step.

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“I said, If you lie to me, I’ll kill you.”

I find myself fascinated by the pundit class’ reaction to the Petrino hire, particularly the lesson we’re supposed to take from it.  Here’s Andy Staples, in a piece titled “Louisville hired Bobby Petrino to win, not because he’s changed”, for example:

All Jurich needed to say on Thursday was this: “This is a results-oriented business, and Bobby Petrino, more often than not, achieves the desired result. I didn’t hire him to be a good husband or to tell the truth. I didn’t hire him to graduate players or to mold men. I hired him to win football games. If he does that, he’ll probably leave for a better job even though we wrote a $10 million buyout into his contract. If he doesn’t do that, I’ll fire him.”

This is what every athletic director should say when he hires a coach, because it’s the truth. All that mess about integrity and graduation rates that ADs and presidents spout when they hire a coach? They never seem to mention any of it when they fire them after consecutive 5-7 seasons.

Andy’s piece is better thought out than most I’ve read, but I still find this whole “it’s proof that college football is about winning” reasoning a bit pat.  All ADs hire head coaches because they want to win, don’t they?   (If they didn’t, eventually they’d become former ADs.)  And even questioning whether Petrino’s moral compass is finally pointing true north doesn’t really fill in all the gaps. You can find plenty of examples of questionable college hires before this one – hell, just go back more than one stop on Petrino’s resume, or, closer to home, Georgia’s hire of Jim Harrick.

No, I think what really gets me about this is the underlying quick fix nature of the hire.  Implicit in Staples’ reasoning is that nobody, including the guy who just hired him – excuse me, rehired him – will be surprised in the slightest if a rehabilitated Petrino scoots for greener pastures.  Again.  (I use the word “rehabilitated” only in the loosest, on the field sense.)

Louisville is one of college football’s better off programs.  It’s now a member of a major conference.  It’s paying big bucks to its big program coaches.  And taking a risk on a guy who’s perceived in all corners as an even bet to leave after three or so years if things break right for him is the best Tom Jurich can do?  Staples says Jurich is one of the sharpest ADs in the country.  What in the world does that say about the rest of his peers?

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UPDATE:  Also, some lies matter more than others if you want to be a college football coach.

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