Pug Suey! Arkansas Pulls a Coup

Everyone who laughed at Arkansas’ coaching search may want to chime in with something here as it looks like the Razorbacks have landed the Atlanta Falcons’ Bobby Petrino.

Bobby Petrino resigned as Atlanta Falcons coach on Tuesday, the team said. He lasted only 13 games with the NFL team.

Sources have told Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com that Petrino will be taking the head coaching job at the University of Arkansas.

Man, those folks in Auburn are going to be jealous.

I found some similarities in the Arkansas football search and the NC State basketball search of a couple of years ago. In the end, the Hogs got a star from the pro ranks on their (publicly) third swing of the bat while NC State wasn’t quite able to make the same connection with our behind the scenes conversations with Mike Montgomery.

Then again, who knows what results can happen when your Athletics Director chooses to play an active role in the search and chooses to personally call and attempts to sell candidates on the opportunity.

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35 Responses to Pug Suey! Arkansas Pulls a Coup

  1. MattN 12/11/2007 at 7:15 PM #

    No shame in knowing what you are. Petrino is a college coach and he knows it now. Best of luck in Arkaksas….

  2. TNCSU 12/11/2007 at 7:27 PM #

    I wish him well – he’s probably happy as hell to be away from the Falcons!

  3. old13 12/11/2007 at 7:33 PM #

    He may find that it is good to be careful what one wishes for – one may get it! (I don’t see all the idiocy at Arkansas subsiding just because they get a new coach.)

  4. StateFans 12/11/2007 at 7:37 PM #

    But, isn’t it interesting that all of that idiocy didn’t preclude them from getting a great new coach?

  5. MatSci94 12/11/2007 at 7:45 PM #

    I wonder how much of this is Petrino being a “college guy” and how much is this is how bad off the Falcons are now.

  6. BoKnowsNCS71 12/11/2007 at 8:02 PM #

    So you are telling me that Atlanta actually does have a chance of getting Butch Davis? (lol)

  7. Dr. BadgerPack 12/11/2007 at 8:10 PM #

    Based on Atlanta’s record… the most pissed of person tonight is probably Brian Brohm…

  8. Kman Chu 12/11/2007 at 8:17 PM #

    Good grief, even more now it’s going to be the SEC as the premier conference and everything else as the minor leagues. Maybe Pete Carroll will go to the NFL next season and then he can replace Tuberville at Auburn.

    I didn’t realize Petrino and Tuberville had this bit of history:


  9. Wulfpack 12/11/2007 at 8:19 PM #

    Pete Carroll, Steve Spurrier, Butch Davis, Nick Saban, Bobby Petrino…The list just goes on and on for college coaches who try to hit it big then end up right back where they started.

  10. Dr. BadgerPack 12/11/2007 at 8:21 PM #

    Well, if i remember right Carroll had a modicum of success in the NFL… at least playing occasional January games.

  11. Noah 12/11/2007 at 9:47 PM #

    There are so many good assistant coaches in the NFL, it is just crazy to go fishing for college coaches. You might as well hire a baseball coach for all the success you’d have.

    There was talk earlier this year about Petrino quitting and going back to Louisville and Kragthrope quitting and finding a new job somewhere else. I actually thought that would have made a lot of sense.

  12. Dr. BadgerPack 12/11/2007 at 10:02 PM #

    ^I Don’t know Noah… i was a baseball coach– and i could outcoach probably 33% of college football coaches… in year 1

  13. EverettBeez 12/11/2007 at 10:31 PM #

    So, Arkansas is holding its news conference at 10:30 pm central time to announce the new coach. Think they are excited?
    My sports caster just said Arkansas had hired a coach after being “turned down more times then a bed cover.”

    Al Borges, Auburn’s OC, has been fired.

    Good for Arkansas on hiring someone, but dang nabit, the SEC West just keeps getting harder, at least on paper.

  14. tvbman 12/12/2007 at 7:35 AM #

    I do not know if this is a great hire or not. Putting aside the man’s coaching abilities, I would seriously question this man’s character. The way he has handled the job changes for the past 18 months is telling of his desire and commitment to an organization. The way he has handled the past 24-36 hours is especially telling. I am not sure I would want my son playing for this man given his propensity for lying.

  15. RAWFS 12/12/2007 at 7:37 AM #

    ^ True, but the SEC West is a far cry from the Big East. Pro-level defenses won’t be so easily fooled by a spread O, especially after seeing Florida’s for a few years.

    I wonder how much of this is Petrino being a “college guy” and how much is this is how bad off the Falcons are now.

    There was virtually a mutiny inside the locker room down in Atlanta.

    Besides, Petrino is a guy who moves with some regularity, so if I were Arkansas, I wouldn’t get to used to him being around. USC, ND and other bigger jobs will eventually come open.

  16. haze 12/12/2007 at 7:42 AM #

    Good hire.

    Petrino will do just fine. People also said that Urban Legend would struggle in the big time SEC. Uh, no. Petrino just makes the SEC that much tougher. Amazing really.

  17. roandaddy 12/12/2007 at 8:21 AM #

    You guys give Petrino too much credit. The reports out of Louisville are he left a lot of bad apples in the bowl and the new coach has had to purge these characters out. Its Ark, so they won’t care about violations.. but it will be interesting to watch. Winning at what cost?

  18. Noah 12/12/2007 at 8:27 AM #

    “I would seriously question this man’s character. The way he has handled the job changes for the past 18 months is telling of his desire and commitment to an organization. The way he has handled the past 24-36 hours is especially telling. I am not sure I would want my son playing for this man given his propensity for lying.”

    1) If you don’t want your kid playing for a liar, you probably don’t want him playing football.

    2) I honestly think Petrino’s move is a stunning moment of both clarity and honesty.

    The man got into a bad, BAD situation. It wasn’t the Vick thing. The Falcons were going to suck whether Vick was there or not. And he’s NOT an NFL guy. Spurrier wasn’t either. Holtz wasn’t. Freakin’ John McKay wasn’t and he was as good a college coach as there ever was.

    Which is more honest? Recognizing the horror of your situation and correcting it or being a fraud and staying in place and cashing the checks while making things worse and worse?

    All Petrino did was speed up the Falcons turnaround.

  19. Texpack 12/12/2007 at 8:44 AM #

    There are a couple of major differences between the situation Petrino will inherit at Arkansas and the one Legend move into at Florida. Arkansas had a fairly sucky recruiting year last year because of the Nutt situation and all of their great recruits from the previous year transferred out. In addition, they will likely be without McFadden next year. They don’t have a decent passing QB to run Petrino’s offense.

    Legend on the other hand, stepped into a situation where Ron Zook had enjoyed excellent recruiting success and the roster was stocked with the nucleus of a National Championship team.

    Petrino has never stayed in any job longer than 4 years. I think that will be the drumbeat that recruits hear from the other coaches in the SEC. I think Petrino is probably a pretty good coach and I don’t think Arkansas could have done any better, given all of the rejections they had gotten before this. He didn’t work any miracles with a lousy talent base in Atlanta, so we’ll see if he can in Arkansas.

  20. ldr of pk 75 12/12/2007 at 8:55 AM #

    Don’t forget Lou Holtz mini season with the Jets. It is amazing that seemingly good college coaches are usually a bust in the pros. The same might be said on the reverse, ala Weiss at ND. Even worse to me, and it is epidemic throughout sports, is the ability to go in sign a contract in good faith, and not live to the terms. That a guy can sign a 5 year deal for whatever millions, and then decide in less than a full season that he doesn’t want to be there anymore is a problem. Players with a contract for xMillion play till they see someone else with a better deal and want to renegotiate. Until owners, schools, and the law get some balls and forces this type thing away it will be the norm. What is the use in a contract with no teeth? In Petrinos case, more power to him, he’s found another group of suckers willing to pony up. That will be good till the next better deal comes along. The Hog club, WPC, Rams club, etc is always left holding the bag. Educated? I don’t know ’bout that. We get the education, but hosed is more like it.

  21. RAWFS 12/12/2007 at 9:04 AM #

    ^ All true, but NCSU is not immune to any of that, after all, we courted Calipari, etc.

  22. Noah 12/12/2007 at 9:24 AM #

    “It is amazing that seemingly good college coaches are usually a bust in the pros.”

    They aren’t the same game at all. There are a lot of college coaches that can get by (and even thrive…see: Spurrier, Steve) working 12 hour days during the season, working normal days during the recruiting season and then taking fairly significant semi-vacations for a couple of months after that.

    An NFL coaching job is something like an 18-hour day, EVERY day during the season and something like a 12-hour day during the offseason. NFL coaches are borderline mental patients. I don’t know how they do it.

    Then there’s the razor’s edge of difference in talent. For the most part, the difference between a good team and a bad team isn’t very much (this year, the Dolphins and the Patriots are making the extremes pretty unique). So it’s not a matter of having “better” players. You have to have good players, good schemes, good preparation and good execution. And then you have to coach a good game and not do stuff like call two timeouts in a row.

    In college, you can be a great recruiter and an average coach and usually thrive. You can overwhelm your opponents with superior talent and coach a terrible game and still win by 78 points.

    But as far as coaching contracts go, it’s not a matter of honesty or dishonesty. The contracts are structured in a way that gives the owner certain flexibility for firing the coach. And the coach has certain flexibility for quitting and even going somewhere else.

    There’s nothing that says an owner can’t put a non-compete clause in a contract, it’s just that no coach would sign it.

    Honesty is a very strange thing. It’s something that very few people are familiar with and something most people are completely uncomfortable with.

    Spend a day sometime telling the total, 200 proof, unvarnished truth and just look at the reactions on people’s faces. No embellishments or hyperbole. Just tell the truth. And I’m including your wife and kids.

    “Tell the truth” usually translates to “Tell me something that’s sympathetic to my world-view. Or I’ll kill you.”

  23. Dr. BadgerPack 12/12/2007 at 10:08 AM #

    Every coach has bad apples to deal with– remember also the Petrino had AMAZING character guys as well; look up Amobi Okoye (I believe it is) for a good example. Graduated at freaking 19 years old, drafted by the Texans.

  24. bTHEredterror 12/12/2007 at 10:18 AM #

    So you are saying the truth isn’t an absolute?

    Truth is, Petrino did nothing without Brohm, and conveniently left Louisville when the bulk of talent on defense graduated. He made a concerted effort to take his old HC’s job. While the truth may be a convenience, how about loyalty? This man has none,granted he probably learned that from Tuberville, and the Hogs will learn the hard way the first time he gets feedback like Nutt endured. His “brilliant offensive mind” will be exposed quite quickly in the SEC West.

  25. ldr of pk 75 12/12/2007 at 11:37 AM #

    Noah, I don’t disagree with the comparison of jobs college v pro. Pro coaching is an atmosphere that I’m not sure any amount of money can soothe. You have to be a maniac or an egotist of the highest oeder. The first Panthers coach in Charlotte, I just drew a blank on his name, was rumored to spend 3-4 nights a week at the stadium during the season. Probably did wonders for his marriage to the flight attendant wife. I understand all about the contract issues built in, it’s business. What I don’t like is the cost. The owners are in a sense like politicians, they aren’t using their money so to speak they use yours and mine. George Shinn started the ridiculous salary escalation in the NBA back in the 90’s with Larry Johnson and a 70 some million contract. No skin off old George, just jack the tickets which he did, and renegotiate your lease contracts etc. It pervasive in all sports, and now add racing with Bruton Smiths grand hosing of Concord, NC. What it gets to is the average person or even those with plenty of means find it harder to afford the product. I still don’t blame the players and owners, we’re the suckers because we still pony up. You are right about the truth for the most part. 200 proof 100% of the time is not the reality of the world for sure. My biggest blunder, or maybe not, on the 200 proof truth cost me my 1st wife and probably 1/4 to 1/2 a mil. Oh, and all my WPC stuff, tickets,…….etc,etc. Oh well, coaches come and cooaches go, it’s still sport to most of us and and a diversion to get lost in for awhile away from the reality of the real world.

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