Friday, March 28, 2008
Lunch With Bobby Petrino
Yes, I had lunch with Bobby Petrino yesterday. Well, technically, Bobby Petrino had lunch with me... and about 750 other people as well. But, that's beside the point. The point is... well, there really is no point except to pass along my perception of the luncheon after Petrino's 30 minute talk.
Let's just get right down to business, because that's what Petrino is - business. There was no hollerin' or back-slappin' or recruiting high-jinx stories. No rah-rah, woo to the pigs coming from the man. No, sir. That type of stuff is best left to the Dick Trammels of the world. This speech was all "bidness" - it was: here's where we are, here's where we're going, and here's how we're going to get there. It included his "4 P's" - Preparation, Planning, Performance, and Puking (seriously, I don't remember what the fourth P is, but this will be a fine substitute in my opinion).
He spoke highly of his mentor and confidant - his dad, Bobby Petrino Sr.,who was the long-time and winningest head football coach at NAIA Carroll College in Helena, Montana, until 1997. The "Fighting Saints" just won their fifth national title in six years. Senior told him that once he was 21, he was on his own, and still tells him to this day that "you're 3x7, you're on your own."
Of course Petrino spoke of his ultimate goal to bring Arkansas a national championship. He also gave the required coach-speak about recruiting high caliber athletes that not only have a desire to play on Sundays, but also have a desire to get their degree.
Petrino spoke about "ringing the bell" when a player sets a personal best in the weight room or does their best job out on the field. His hope is that they will ring the bell after every game this season showing improvement from the week before. It's all about bringing a team together and getting better.
(We're going to come back and ring that victory bell... like we always wanted to.)
Petrino didn't specifically address the Freddie Fairchild situation, but stated that student athletes getting in trouble is not a matter of "if it will happen," but instead of "when it will," and that is another aspect of being a head coach that you have to prepare for.
He talked fondly of some of his players from Louisville. There was no mention of Atlanta or any discussion about Ryan Mallet's chances of winning his eligibility appeal to play immediately.
It was obvious and has been obvious that Petrino is not going to be the warm and fuzzy, call-the-hogs coach rallying the Razorback faithful at every stop along the way. The man was hired to win football games. Instead, Petrino, to me, is more like an always-calculating, one-step ahead of you, coaching version of Jason Bourne. He speaks well, says all the right things, and seems to have just enough compassion, enthusiasm, and charisma to get by. But make no mistake, Coach Petrino might just blow your head off or crack your skull for a win. Coach Bobby is the most popular coach in the state right now. As head coach of the Razorbacks, Petrino has yet to lose a game, but that will change soon, and so will his popularity. But if the offensive mastermind recruits the right kind of players and wins big, and wins often, then his stock will only continue to go up.
(Why are you trying to beat me? I'm coming for you, Saban, and Tuberville, and Miles, and Fulmer, and you especially, Nutt.)
Spring practice will be open to the public and begins next Thursday, April 3rd, and the Red-White came will be on April 26th as part of RazorFest 2008.
Posted by KK at 7:10 AM