Cards establish their squad as national powerhouse.
Cards establish their squad as national powerhouse.
I'll tell ya that was one sloppy football game. Louisville was lucky to get out with the win.
But I didnt expect Louisville to use a WR pass. It was kind of predictable to see on the TV because he went like 5 yards behind the QB on the right side, but how did Wake Forest let the HB all the way down the field.
I believe this makes the Big East 4-0 in bowl games? :)
Petrino leaves Louisville for Falcons
By PAUL NEWBERRY, AP Sports Writer
January 7, 2007
ATLANTA (AP) -- From his very first year at Louisville, Bobby Petrino's name kept coming up for other coaching jobs.
On Sunday, he finally decided it was time to go.
Petrino left the Cardinals to become head coach of the Atlanta Falcons, who needed less than a week to find a replacement for Jim Mora.
After firing Mora, who never seemed to get the most out of Michael Vick's enormous potential, the Falcons went with a coach who guided high-scoring Louisville to a 12-1 season, capped by a 24-13 victory over Wake Forest in the Orange Bowl.
"This is an exciting day for the Atlanta Falcons franchise," owner Arthur Blank said in a statement. "Bobby Petrino is an extremely talented football coach who has done some tremendously innovative things as both an offensive coordinator and head coach."
The 45-year-old Petrino met briefly with his Louisville players Sunday night to let them know he was leaving, said Kenny Klein, the school's sports information director. The Falcons planned a formal announcement Monday at the team's training complex in Flowery Branch.
Petrino said he took what "I truly feel is the best job in the National Football League."
"I am excited about the challenge that awaits me in Atlanta, and I'm equally excited about the potential that I see in this team," he said in the Falcons' statement.
His first order of business: Getting more production out of Vick, who became the first quarterback in NFL history to rush for 1,000 yards but never seemed comfortable in the West Coast-style offense installed by Mora and his offensive coordinator, Greg Knapp.
This season, the Falcons were last in the league in passing and 25th in scoring with their average of 18.2 points.
Louisville never had any trouble putting up points under Petrino. In 2006, the Cardinals ranked second in the country in total offense (475.3 yards per game) and fourth in scoring with a 37.8-point average.
Petrino had a 41-9 record in four years at Louisville, leading the school to the Big East title and its first Bowl Championship Series appearance in the Orange. He had just completed the first year of a 10-year, $25 million contract. ESPN.com said he agreed to a five-year, $24 million deal with the Falcons.
Petrino's name repeatedly came up for other coaching vacancies, including an embarrassing episode in 2003 when Auburn set up a clandestine interview while Tommy Tuberville was still the Tigers coach.
Petrino met with LSU after the 2004 season and turned down the Oakland Raiders' job a year later. Louisville twice renegotiated Petrino's contract, giving him hefty raises in hopes of keeping him.
Louisville's head coach Bobby Petrino, left, talks with quarterback Brian Brohm during NCAA football action against in this Nov. 9, 2006 file photo in Piscataway, N.J. Petrino agreed Sunday, Jan. 7, 2007 to become the new coach of the Atlanta Falcons, moving to the NFL less than a week after the firing of Jim Mora.
AP - Jan 7, 9:38 pm EST
"This is where I want to be," he insisted.
That all changed after the Falcons fired Mora, just two years after he led the team to the NFC championship game. Atlanta missed the playoffs the past two seasons, going 7-9 mark in 2006.
Petrino's previous NFL experience includes three years with the Jacksonville Jaguars, where he served as quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator. He then returned to the college ranks, serving as Auburn's offensive coordinator in 2002 before heading to Louisville.
Petrino led the Cardinals to the Conference USA title in 2004, their final year in that league before moving to the Big East.
"Nobody thought this would happen, but nobody's complaining about it," Cardinals defensive lineman Earl Heyman said. "You can't fault him considering what he's done for this program."
The Falcons spent the past several days interviewing NFL assistants, including Pittsburgh offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt, Chicago defensive coordinator Ron Rivera, San Diego offensive coordinator Cam Cameron and San Francisco assistant head coach Mike Singletary.
But Blank, who was aided in the search by general manager Rich McKay, decided to go with an established head coach instead of following the same course he did in 2004.
Mora was the ***** defensive coordinator when he was hired by the Falcons, and the rookie head coach got off to a rousing start. Atlanta won its division and came up one win short of the Super Bowl, losing at Philadelphia in the NFC championship game.
After beginning 6-2 the following year, the Falcons lost six of their last eight games to miss the playoffs and keep alive the franchise's streak of never having two straight winning seasons.
Atlanta followed a similar path this year, starting 5-2 before losing seven of nine -- including its last four home games.
That didn't go over well with Blank, a hands-on owner who has spent lavishly to build a perennial playoff contender. He also was bothered by several off-the-field incidents, most notably a radio interview late this season in which Mora said his dream job was to coach at the University of Washington, his alma mater.
Mora said he was only kidding, but had to apologize after being summoned to Blank's office.
Blank described Petrino as "a motivator and developer of players. In short, he's a difference maker who will bring a strong identity to the Falcons -- one our team will buy into and take on as their own."
Petrino announced his decision to the Cardinals during a meeting that lasted only five minutes. Nearly the entire team was on hand at the Howard Schnellenberger Football Complex, including junior quarterback Brian Brohm.
Petrino's departure casts considerable doubt over whether Brohm or running back Michael Bush will return next fall.
Brohm passed for 311 yards in the Orange Bowl and could be one of the top quarterbacks taken in the draft if he decides to go pro. Bush applied for a medical redshirt after breaking his right leg in a season-opening win over Kentucky.
Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich wished Petrino well with the Falcons.
"I certainly appreciate all the hard work he did in elevating this program to where it stands today," Jurich said. "We're going to move quickly in hiring our next coach to keep our momentum going."
AP Sports Writers Will Graves in Louisville and Charles Odum in Atlanta contributed to this report
Tulsa's Kragthorpe named head coach at Louisville
By WILL GRAVES, AP Sports Writer
January 10, 2007
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- Steve Kragthorpe's whirlwind journey left him a little confused.
Moments after being introduced as Louisville's head coach, Kragthorpe was midway through an answer about how he'll approach recruiting when the day's dizzying events finally caught up with him.
"We're going to try and find the best players that fit the University of Tulsa," Kragthorpe said Tuesday, before catching himself. "University of Tulsa? University of Louisville. I haven't slept in two days."
Yup, Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich didn't waste any time in luring Kragthorpe away from Tulsa. The hiring came less than 48 hours after Bobby Petrino resigned to become head coach of the Atlanta Falcons.
"We might have just concluded the shortest search in the history of the NCAA," Jurich joked.
The process was less of a search and more of a mission for Jurich, whose relationship with Kragthorpe dates to 1990, when Jurich was the athletic director at Northern Arizona and Kragthorpe was hired as quarterbacks coach.
After four successful years under the relentless but ultimately restless Petrino, Jurich wanted some stability. And with national signing day less than a month away, Jurich knew he didn't have time to form a search committee and go through a formal interview process.
"It was very important for me to continue to build on this momentum we have in this program and the continuity that is going on right now," Jurich said. "I wanted a person who could lead this program for many, many years to come and would look at this program as a destination. I certainly found the guy."
Kragthorpe, 41, signed a five-year, $1.1-million deal that runs through the 2012 season, the first of what he hopes will be several contracts he signs with the Cardinals.
"I don't want to be a guy that moves around, I want to be a guy that stays in one place," he said.
Kragthorpe takes over a Louisville program that flourished under Petrino. The Cardinals went 12-1 this season, won the Big East and the Orange Bowl and finished sixth in the final Associated Press poll.
It's a long way from Kragthorpe's first days at Tulsa four years ago, when he took over a program that had won just two games in the two years before he arrived.
But after posting a 29-22 record in four seasons -- including three bowl appearances and the Conference USA championship in 2005 -- Kragthorpe knew he was at a crossroads. Though he'd turned down numerous job offers in the past, he didn't hesitate when Jurich called.
"I feel like I'm in the middle of a great dream right now and I don't want to wake up," Kragthorpe said.
If he can find a way to convince junior quarterback Brian Brohm to stay with the Cardinals instead of entering the NFL draft, Kragthorpe might not have to wake up for awhile.
Brohm hasn't spoken to the media since winning the Orange Bowl MVP last week and has until Jan. 15 to decide whether to return for his senior season. Kragthorpe intends to do his best to assure Brohm that the high-flying offense that made the Cardinals so successful under Petrino didn't end when Petrino headed to Atlanta.
The two have already spoken several times, and Brohm stood quietly off to the side while Kragthorpe addressed the media.
"Obviously I want Brian to be part of this football program," Kragthorpe said. "The first statement that people make about Brian is what a wonderful person he is. That's a Steve Kragthorpe kind of guy."
Brohm's decision could rest on whether any of the current staff remains with the program next year. Older brother Jeff Brohm was the team's quarterbacks coach under Petrino. Kragthorpe plans to meet with current assistants on Wednesday before choosing his staff.
Kragthorpe's hiring, however, wasn't fast enough to persuade running back Michael Bush to stay with the Cardinals. Bush said Tuesday that he was going to enter the NFL draft rather than accept a medical redshirt after breaking his right leg against Kentucky in September.
For the players that remain, Kragthorpe's easygoing personality is proving to be a stark contrast to the button-downed Petrino.
"He gives off a really good vibe," said defensive tackle Adrian Grady. "I felt a lot more comfortable around him than the first time I met the other guy that was here."
It's a feeling Kragthorpe hope translates to fans who felt jilted by Petrino's sudden departure.
"There's no question that we feel like this is a place that we've come to stay," he said
Louisville's Brohm to return for senior season
By WILL GRAVES, AP Sports Writer
January 15, 2007
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- The coach and running back who helped propel Louisville to unprecedented heights are gone. The quarterback, however, is sticking around.
Brian Brohm will return for his senior season rather than enter the NFL draft, ending weeks of speculation that the hometown kid would join former coach Bobby Petrino and longtime teammate Michael Bush in the pro ranks.
Instead, Brohm decided to stay one more year and help the Cardinals cement their status as one of college football's elite programs.
"I have a good opportunity to enter the draft and have a good position in the draft," Brohm said. "However, I still feel like there's still some things we can do here. There's a lot of things we can still accomplish."
Brohm said he wavered before reaching a final decision Saturday night, but ultimately felt finishing what he started at Louisville was more important than the potential millions awaiting him in the NFL.
"I went back and forth a little bit," he said. "But I think in the beginning I always wanted to come back. That was really what I wanted to do."
Brohm threw for 3,049 yards and 16 touchdowns for the Cardinals in 2006 while helping Louisville to a 12-1 record, a Big East title and a win in the Orange Bowl. Louisville finished sixth in the final Associated Press poll, tied for the highest final ranking in school history.
Brohm's decision caps a tumultuous week for one of the nation's hottest programs. Petrino resigned on Jan. 7 to become the coach of the Atlanta Falcons and Bush opted to enter the NFL draft rather than accept a medical redshirt.
New coach Steve Kragthorpe met with Brohm several times since accepting the job last Tuesday.
"This was a lot more difficult than anticipated because of all the new factors that kept arising," Brohm said. "Coach left and we got a new coach in. That was one factor. I wanted to see what that situation was like and obviously I'm very happy with the coach that (Louisville athletic director Tom) Jurich brought in."
Kragthorpe joked that he hadn't slept since taking the job while awaiting Brohm's decision, but can now hit the recruiting trail knowing he's already landed his top prospect.
"There's no question it's a huge coup for this program," Kragthorpe said. "It validates everything that's been done here before and validates what we're going to continue to do."
Brohm had been projected as a first-round pick by some draft experts who thought his 6-foot-4, 226-pound frame and accurate right arm will translate easily into the NFL. Brohm has thrown for 6,751 yards and 41 touchdowns in three season. Both marks are fourth on the school's all-time list.
Though Brohm had been told by NFL personnel that he would "definitely" be drafted early, he couldn't get a feel for where exactly he would go. That volatile situation, combined with his Louisville roots and Kragthorpe's background as a quarterbacks coach helped make his decision easier.
"You never know with (the draft)," he said. "You can move up quite a bit or you can move down. There are so many variables between now and the draft."
The Brohm family's deep ties to the community also had an impact. Oscar Brohm, Brian's father, and older brothers Jeff and Greg all played for Louisville.
Jeff and Greg will also remain on the Louisville coaching staff under Kragthorpe. Jeff Brohm will be an assistant head coach and passing game coordinator while Greg Brohm will remain the director of football operations.
"One more year, I kept hearing that wherever I went," Brian Brohm said with a laugh. "It'll be nice now to have that decision made."
Louisville was playing a team without BOTH STARTING RUNNING BACKS AND THEIR STARTING QB. In fact, we lost skylar jones in our first game (first string qb who was lost the whole year) and both running backs, though we ran WRs out of the shotgun and put marion in. blank the cards.