Although we’re only a few weeks into the Bobby Petrino era, it’s obvious already that it’s going to supply plenty of blogworthy material. The interesting thing to me is that the duality that was discussed ad nauseum when he was hired – great excitement about his ability to win (college) football games, tempered with a dash of uneasiness about his “blank shark-eyed” nature – will apparently be the standard reaction to the football program while he’s at the helm.
For example, on the day that Petrino lost his entire all-world backfield to the NFL, he pulled off a huge coup by securing superstar-QB-of-the-future Ryan Mallett. No way would that ever have happened under Houston Nutt, who was more known for causing QBs to transfer rather than reeling in ones who were transferring. Meanwhile, though, we’re treated to allegations that Petrino and his staff are trying to poach players from Louisville, a definite no-no in the world of college sports.
To be fair, these are only unproven allegations and the columnist reporting them, Rick Bozizh, seems to have the column-writing ability of Wally Hall, so who knows if there’s even a trace of fire with that smoke (and Nutt-haters will certainly argue that there was no lack of ethical lapses on his watch, also). My point is that, even as the Hogs improve on the field, the Petrino-haters will still have enough ammo to take their shots.
As a Razorback fan, I’m encouraged by the events of the last few weeks and am very excited about the future of the football team. But at the same time, we should definitely get comfortable with both the light and dark sides of the Petrino era. Seeking an edge in the insanely competitive SEC, that’s the deal Jeff Long knowingly signed up for. So, let’s buckle our seat belts and enjoy what promises to be an often thrilling (and occasionally dismaying) ride.
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