The reaction to the news today that Bobby Petrino will return to Louisville as their head football coach has seemed to surprise many, some are even shocked, a few more appalled!
Petrino’s hiring should not surprise anyone, of all the candidates Tom Jurich, Louisville Athletic Director, was apparently picking thru Petrino was the best choice and the safest hire.
Petrino and Jurich have long had a personal relationship, in fact Petrino’s daughter played college golf for the Cardinals during and after Petrinos time at Arkansas. Jurich was key in Petrino getting back into coaching at Western Kentucky. By all accounts, Tom Jurich likes Bobby Petrino, you could say he considers him a friend, and he had help him put his personal and professional life back together following the mess he made at Arkansas.
So knowing this why would anyone be surprised that Petrino would be a serious candidate at Louisville?
Petrino was and should have been fired at Arkansas, but that does not remove the fact that Petrino is one of the top 2 or 3 offensive minds in the game. His play calling abilities are second to none, his in-game adjustments seemed to work on both sides of the ball and he got the most from every person in the program.
So why would you not hire a coach that could do all of this, especially if you had a personal relationship with him?
Think what you want, say what you want of Tom Jurich, but his track record of winning in all sports at Louisville has given him the leash to hire Petrino. Jurich hired the best man for the job, and the devil he knew, and that’s no surprise to me.
Here are some conversations that are certain to spark less debate this Thanksgiving than talking Razorback Football at the table:
10. Unions and their role in today's workplace
9. Texas - what a wonderful place and OH the Great People!
8. NASCAR - Is it REALLY a Sport??
7. Gun Rights in America
6. Bill Clinton - Greatest American President Ever
5. Nancy Pelosi
4. The ACLU and how they are looking out for your rights
3. Government Bailouts - Who should be next??
2. OBAMACARE and how it benefits America
1. Jeff Long - Here's why he deserves ANOTHER raise!!
By Tommy Craft = ESPNARKANSAS.NET Twitter: @tommycraftESPN
Since his arrival in Columbia Steve Spurrier has always been the biggest name and the biggest star surrounding the Gamecock program, until this season. Jadaveon Clowney is now, without question the biggest star and the bigger name for South Carolina.
Could this possibly be at the root of what seem to be at best mis-communication and at worst a full on rift between the “head ball coach” and the most feared man in college football?
Clowney’s post season, helmet removing hit against Michigan took on a life of its own and elevated his fame and lore to a new level, making him the most talked about player in the game, and the most talked about person surrounding South Carolina football.
Is all the attention surrounding Clowney this past year making Spurrier a little jealous?
We all know about Spurrier’s ego, and his fun, sarcastic remarks that make all of us pay attention to most everything he says. In the past, some have even accused Spurrier of beating down his QB's because he never wanted one of his QB's to be better than he was, far fetched, but the statement has been made before. Spurrier, even with Marcus Lattimore, has always been the star of the show until now, until Clowney.
Going back to August and Spurriers comments about Clownery’s practice and conditioning habits, only to be followed by the announcement that “Clowney’s back in the fold, get the word out” statement and this weeks about face with Clowney’s injury status leaves me wondering what the relationship is between the Coach and his star defensive end.
This may be nothing more than Spurriers crafty way of motivating thru the media, but I do find the fact that Spurrier has been surpassed in popularity by one of his own players an interesting side-bar to the drama.
By Tommy Craft
The value of the starting quarterback is often factored in football by measuring stats, but this Saturday’s game between Arkansas and Florida will showcase two quarterbacks that have values to each of their teams that can’t be measure in yards per game.
Arkansas Starting QB Brandon Allen will make his 5thstart of the season after missing the Rutgers game due to a shoulder injury. Florida QB Tyler Murphy will start for the Gators for just the 2ndtime this season and this will only be the 8thgame Murphy has even been on the field after replacing Jeff Driskel whos season ended with a broken leg.
Not exactly a match-up of seasoned signal callers, but think about the alternatives when you evaluate the value of these two and what it means to their teams.
Tyler Murphy has added a sense of excitement that most Gator fans had lost about the direction of the offense with Driskel at quarterback. Last week against Kentucky, Florida started the game with a 93 yard scoring drive, went 4 of 4 in the red-zone including 3 touchdowns and didn’t punt the entire game. Now it was Kentucky, but for a first start, Murphy had the offense dealing hope to its fans. But consider the alternative, if Murphy were injured, or played very poorly over a stretch of games, what are the Gators options? Skyler Mornihinweg, a redshirt freshmen, is next on the depth chart and has never played in a game. Could Tyler Murphy be one of the most valuable QB’s in the SEC today?
Brandon Allen missed most of the Southern Miss game and all of the Rutgers Game, the Hogs first loss of the year. Backup QB AJ Derby seemed rattled when thrown into the USM game after the injury, and a little more settled for the start at Rutgers, but the offense sputtered, the passing game struggled, and the ground game was halted. Allen’s return against the Aggies seemed to spark the offense, the rushing attack regained some footing, the passing game was not a lot better, but all-in-all we clearly witnessed the talent gap between Allen and Derby. Without Brandon Allen, winning another game might be in question for the Razorbacks.
I am not saying the best two QB’s in the conference are playing against another Saturday night in Gainesville, but what their absence would mean to each team moving forward may be more profound than any other SEC team when you consider the alternatives.
With Murphy at QB, the Gators now feel like winning the East is possible again, without him, Florida likely will lose several key games 14-6. Manziel, Murray, McCarron and Mettenberger may all be better players, but none of them mean more to their team right now than Tyler Murphy does for Florida.
by Tommy Craft
Arkansas starting quarterback Brandon Allen injured his right shoulder while scoring a touchdown Saturday against Southern Miss.
When Allen left the game it was the only score of the contest, the Hogs lead 7-0 with 3:52 left in the first quarter. Allen did not return to the field, and came back to the sideline after halftime out of uniform with his arm in a sling. Allen wore a headset and appeared to be involved with backup QB AJ Derby and the other quarterbacks in their planning.
Now a long list of questions have to be answered about the future of the Arkansas offense if Allen is unable to play for any significant portion of the 2013 season.
Can A.J. Derby be an effective starting Quarterback?
Can Arkansas find enough balance without Allen and not be one-dimensional with the lack of a passing game?
Should the Red-Shirt be taken off of true freshmen, and younger brother, Austin Allen now?
First you have to get answers for Brandon Allen's shoulder and a prognosis for his return. Until then Hog fans have plenty to worry about and question.