Wherefore art thou, Bobby Petrino

Where is he, the football coach who demanded perfection, the bully who ruled by intimidation, the browbeater no one wanted in their face? The one some misinformed analysts still describe as an offensive genius? The arrogant rowdy whose teams ran roughshod over lesser opponents?

Where is the tactician who would draw up the first 10 plays of the game, quickly getting his team in the opposing end zone? The one knew how good he was in the profession, always looking around for another job, wanting move up in the profession? 

Nowhere to be found on the University of Louisville sideline this season, at least not after the first four games. Bobby Petrino, the one who used to have all the answers, seemingly replaced by a shadow of himself.

Players needing some good things to happen, but lacking the confidence to get there.

The current version of Petrino reduced to almost apologizing after a demoralizing 27-3 loss to Virginia on Saturday. The coach in the same fog as he was following struggles against Indiana State and Western Kentucky, all but apologizing, repeating familiar assertions about needing to get better.

Questionable whether Petrino is confident that can happen, sounding like he wasn’t sure where to begin. Not when he doesn’t know who his quarterback will be next week. Pulling starting quarterback Malik Cunningham after an unproductive first half in which UofL was unable to amount any offensive threats. His replacement Jawon Pass unable to capitalize on three opportunities inside the five-yard line, at other times short-arming numerous passes to receivers in wide open spaces.

Uncertain about his running backs as well, his starter Dae Williams picking up only six yards, the replacement Jeremy Smith only 10 yards, and Trey Smith somehow managing 27 of them. None of them in long enough to get a good feel for the game. 

In the first four games this season, Louisville has scored only 10 points in the first half. Players needing some good things to happen, but lacking in the necessary confidence or leadership to get there.

Petrino just wanting to get back on the practice field, wanting to put another lackluster performance behind him. Wanting to get out of the line of fire, wanting the doubters to go away, wanting something to right for a change.

Forced to try some new approaches maybe. No longer having the luxury of a scrambling Lamar Jackson to overcome questionable play calling and offensive inefficiencies. One of the top paid football coaches in the nation, knowing things are heading south, needing to turn things around.

Author: Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, as well as a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.

5 thoughts on “Wherefore art thou, Bobby Petrino”

  1. Generally when I see three poor offensive performances as I have this year and with UofL’s talent,it spells that a problem exists outside of the playing field.No enthusiasm on the sidelines,players slowing walking to the line of scrimmage etc. Is it a lack of leadership,too many young coaches or a combination of problems.The Louisville faithful are getting restless and Bobby is starting to feel the heat.We need to rebound and quick.

  2. I am afraid Bobby left his brain, football skills, and leadership abilities on the road in Arkansas after his motorcycle wreck in Arkansas! He is taking our football backwards. We do not even look like a CUSA team. Makes me want to puke!

  3. When was the last time UofL went an entire football game without a touchdown?

    These kids need to find some heart, courage and brains. Maybe they should watch the “Wizard Of Oz.”


  4. Something has gone wrong at UL. Why call the same 3 running plays when the team is on the 2 or 3 yard-line? Is that a poor coaching decision or not? Is there too much nepotism? No real long-term relationship with a defensive coordinator?

    Is Petrino perhaps suffering from an early onset of Alzheimer’s? Maybe the athletic director needs to investigate what might possibly be going wrong.

  5. Team not producing, is it the quality of players? Mojo starts at the top. Poor decisions on hiring of coaches and direction from Petrino, looks like he has lost his confidence! The university heading in right direction with other coaching changes so why continue in the direction of present football program. Pull the trigger and let’s get back to respectibility.

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