Petrino’s Wandering Eyes

Bobby Petrino hasn’t arrived in Arkansas yet. But already, Razorback fans have to be wondering how long he will hang around Fayetteville. A man who flirts with every major job vacancy around can’t be trusted.

Just a year ago, Petrino was confirming for the fourth year in a row that “Louisville is where I want to be,” denying interest in other coaching jobs. Leading fans to believe he would return this year with Brian Brohm to pursue a national championship. Two days after winning the Orange Bowl, however, he was off to the Atlanta Falcons.

Petrino was effusive about his new position, describing it as “the best job in football,” the fruition of his dream of becoming an NFL coach. Fan expectations weren’t that high, he could introduce his system, build the Falcons into a winner over two or three seasons, be there for the long haul as Falcons’ owner Arthur Blank recently told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

“He’s been very clear with me,” Blank said. “He loves Atlanta and he loves the organization. Obviously he’s disappointed in what happened to Michael Vick, but he has great confidence with myself, with [president/general manager] Rich McKay and the coaching staff to put together a winner and be here many years. He told me this is where he wants to be and that his work is just beginning.”

Less than two weeks later, Blank receives a telephone call from Petrino saying he is resigning to take a college job. Before the NFL season is even over. Got the urge to move on.

Arkansas fans feel fortunate to get Petrino, especially after their first choice changed his mind. His reputation as a winning coach overrides any other concerns for now. The Arkansas Rivals Board described the pick as a “Home Run Hire For Hogs!”

It just could be a match made in hog heaven. When other more prestigious coaching vacancies surface, Hog fans should not concern themselves. Petrino will ease anxieties by assuring them that Fayetteville is where he wants to be, and he plans to be there for a long, long time. And you just know he’s a man of his word.

Let’s hear it for Bobby: “Whooo, Pig, Soooeeee!”

Babysitter Gone, Baby Too

Now we have a good idea how Ellis Myles kept Derrick Caracter out of trouble the last two years: Can’t you just see it? Myles tracking Caracter’s every move, making sure he gets out of bed every day, trailing him to classes, getting him to practices, monitoring his food intake and getting him back to the dorm before curfew.

Problem is the babysitter got in trouble himself, recently relinquishing his official duties as assistant strength coach after an unpleasant encounter with a local high school coach, apparently serious enough to send Myles packing. Myles was last seen in Israel, looking for another basketball team.

So the team is stuck with depending on Mr. Undependable. No clue about personal responsibility. Caracter interpreted the dismissal of his keeper as a get-out-of-jail card, making up for all the time he had missed while under the constant surveillance.

The odds against Caracter turning himself around would be remote under the best of circumstances. But Ellis Myles has probably had enough of the babysitting, even if he were reoffered the position.

Monday Morning Memos

Those Thinking NBA Already: Not gonna happen anytime soon, and won’t ever if you can’t fathom how teams are supposed to function. You know, the parts working together, not separately.

Sizzle Over Substance:
Yeah, you T-Will. A bounce pass beats one from behind the back sailing out of bounds. Dunks are great but not when you miss them; sometimes simple layups will do, especially when points are few and far between.

One Dimensional: Some of those offensive moves are incredible, Derrick. However, your movement on defense is just plain offensive.

Sulker: The act is getting old, Edgar. Remember how you played before you scored so many points against Texas A&M. Play quarterback again. Wasn’t that long ago.

Find the keys quickly, please.

Card Fan Gift Tip #2

Just over two weeks until Christmas, stop the procrastinating. A sure way make a statement and make Card fans in the family happy is to get them University of Louisville state license plates. The plates are available at any Jefferson County Clerk office. Takes only minutes if you go early in the month, like now. The initial cost is $56, and $10 of that goes to U of L’s general scholarship fund.

Reality Checks In Against Dayton

Now we know why Rick Pitino looked so concerned before the game, probably saw it coming.

Reality checked in for real against Dayton, making it dawn on fans that this is not the U of L team they were expecting to see this year. Should have known challenging times were back when the Cards struggled to get points against Miami.

You can only rationalize the losses of David Padgett, Juan Palacios, George Goode and Clarence Holloway for so long. The Ville is Thinville again, relying heavily on four sophomores, one flashy but erratic junior, one hardworking freshman, and a scrappy senior who plays good defense but can’t hit either field goals or free throws.

My how the outlook has changed since the first game against Hartford, the Cards tossing in 22 three-pointers in that one. Won’t be long before the detractors emerge again. They haven’t had much time to recuperate since football, you know.

All is not lost, however. It’s obvious that U of L has significant talent on this team. Equally obvious is that some people are not playing up to their potential. Derrick Caracter comes to mind, shrugging his shoulders when he doesn’t get the ball, fouling instead of playing defense.

Pitino, ever the master motivator, knows he has his work cut out for him this season. All that early fan chatter about a final four was premature.