Petrino Snub Gets Job Done At UConn

By Paul Sykes

He dreamed of playing football at Papa John’s Cardinal stadium, kicking for the red and black. Kickoffs, punts, extra points.  Didn’t matter to Desi Cullen. Louisville was his favorite school and any way he could help was the right ticket for him.

Except Bobby Petrino had no interest. Submitted game tapes went unviewed. Calls from Butler coaches didn’t get returned.  Cullen would wind up in the Big East, but it was at UConn instead of Louisville.

Cullen has been the punter and kickoff specialist for Randy Edsall’s squad the last three years. He did eventually get to punt at Papa John’s last season, rocking the Cards for five punts for an average of 44 yards in a 26-21 UConn win.

Currently, he’s the second leading punter in the Big East, with a 43.4 punting average. 70% of his kickoffs have gone unreturned this year.

He recently told the Hartford Courant:

“I have some great discussions with my grandmother back in Louisville, because she’s so pro-U of L and I’m up here. The great thing is that she’s coming up to watch the game Saturday and it’s homecoming and it’s my senior year so that is really special to me.”

Cullen admits he was “too jacked up” when he first punted against Louisville in 2007 and “wanted everything to go 60 yards … but after I shanked the first one and it went about 20 yards…the coaches told me to calm down and focus.”

Butler coaching assistant and mentor Keith Beisler describes Cullen as “one of those kids that comes along once in a lifetime. Good student, great personality, a team leader and motivator. Why Petrino didn’t grab him up is still a mystery to me…but Desi’s happy at UConn and that’s all you can wish for him.”

You Go, Bozich

[stextbox id=”custom”]The observer is not about to knee jerk Rick Bozich’s analysis that Bobby Petrino had much to do with the rapid decline of Louisville football. Writers like Bozich have a great deal of access to the program. They also recognize the bounds of personal restraint within the athletic department and the tremendous challenges of privacy laws.

Common sense tells you that an individual who is contantly looking for other jobs doesn’t have your best interests in mind. The short-sighted Petrino failed to recognize he was sitting on a potential gold mine in Louisville.

Don’t even try to turn this into a defense of Steve Kragthorpe. Just another deserved jab at old steely face in Fayetteville.

Soaking Demise Of ‘Bobby Petrino’

By Sonja Sykes

I got home from work and the house was empty. The big guy is usually prowling about doing something when he’s in town, so it was surprising not to see him muttering and puttering around. Then, I found the note:

“Gone to the old house.”

That said it all: The six inches of rain, the basement. I almost feared calling his cell phone.

"But Bobby won’t be there. His feet got waterlogged and he fell face first into the wet carpet. He died while his esteemed cohorts, safe from the flooding, stood by and watched … unable to help."

Over the sound of a wet-dry vac, he told me there was wet carpet, a few ruined items on the carpet and “Bobby Petrino didn’t survive.”

Over the years, the big guy has hauled home various life size cardboard cutouts of people, as well as one mean looking grizzly bear. When we moved, we decided to leave them in the other house. The college kids renting the house had no objection to them, perfect additions to their “man cave.”

I used to tell people that called for the big guy that he was down in the basement watching whatever sporting event that happened to be on with Shaq, Elvira, the Three Stooges, Bobby Petrino, Angel McCoughtry and Rick Pitino. And the bear. Joe Huber and Harry Carey are down there also…but in a different room and unable to see the TV.

The kids get back in a couple of days for college, so we’ve been stopping in, checking and maintaining. But Bobby won’t be there. His feet got waterlogged and he fell face first into the wet carpet. He died while his esteemed cohorts, safe from the flooding, stood by and watched…unable to help.

"Shipping him to Fayetteville for final disposition would be a bit costly. Leaving him in Steve Kragthorpe's front yard a bit juvenile and possibly a punishable offense."

The work was almost done by the time I arrived but the wake had not started yet for the coach. With his face streaked and his extremities soaked…there was no saving Bobby. He had been transported to the back yard and lay on his back on the sidewalk. His fellow basement dwellers remained below … silent and staring at the vacant corner he used to occupy.

The big guy surveyed the situation a few moments later with a beer in his hand and wondered aloud what to do with the fallen coach. Just tossing him in the recycling bid seemed a bit cold and unfeeling. Shipping him to Fayetteville for final disposition would be a bit costly. Leaving him in Steve Kragthorpe’s front yard a bit juvenile and possibly a punishable offense. And we wouldn’t want to add to the challenges of the Louisville football coach.

Today is a another day. Basement dry, dehumidifier running, fans blowing. Bobby still lies on the back porch sidewalk … drying out and starting to curl up a bit. I think we’ll put him in the garage and drag him to the first tailgate of the season.

One last wake, one last gaze at the place where he performed so well. We’ll carry him over to the green lot and leave him leaning against a port-o-let maybe….letting some sympathetic fans or the sanitation department to decide his final fate.

I’m sure that’s what he would have wanted.

Getting Personal: Pop Pulls Out Another One

The Observer steps aside briefly to allow the favorite son to pass along a few flashbacks of growing up in the family of a couple of University of Louisville diehards.

By Steve Springer

After sitting through one of the more hand-wringing encounters that I have witnessed as a University of Louisville fan, I knew that another of my great sports fantasies had come true. After a thrilling victory over No. 13 Notre Dame, I realized that the next UofL game I would attend would be against the No. 1 team in the land, the Pitt Panthers on the upcoming Saturday.

The chance to beat No. 1 does not come along very often. Combine this rare opportunity with the fact that one does not always get to attend such a spectacle with the engineer of one’s love. The win over top-ranked Pittsburgh will rank right up there with the best of many big moments as a Card fan. The Observer instilled a deep passion for Cardinal Nation in my soul and fueled it with ticket after ticket to big games.

Steve, Koby, Rick Pitino and the Observer
Steve, Koby, Rick Pitino and the Observer

I have attended Cardinal basketball and football games since before I could walk. The memories run together in a collage of college athletics. The clearest early memories that stand out are sitting so high in the Superdome to watch the Cards battle Patrick Ewing in the 1982 Final Four. The setting was so huge to my 6-year-old eyes that I preferred to watch the action on the big screen scoreboard instead of the tiny little players running around so far below. My first and only experience with the Big Easy and my beginning infatuation with shrimp and seafood tagged along for good measure.

Visions of hugging red-clad people I had never met when I was nine in Reunion Arena shortly after Jeff Hall intercepted a Duke pass at the end of the 1986 National Championship in Dallas stand out, as well.

A few days before my parents had upgraded their hero-status in my eyes as I secretly intercepted a phone call from the Observer’s wife and my fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Osterman. Mom was campaigning for permission to allow me to accompany them to Dallas for championship weekend and I would have to miss a couple of days of school. Mrs. Osterman obliged; I guess the real life experience I was to receive would be worth way more than multiplication tables and spelling words.

Continued Continue reading “Getting Personal: Pop Pulls Out Another One”

John L Smith To Arkansas

A farm team providing football coaches to the Arkansas Razorbacks? Could be worse, not much, but worse.

Let’s not go there.

First, it was Bobby Petrino taking a circuitous route from Louisville through Atlanta and down to Fayetteville. The funny thing about it is that Petrino is still there a year after doing the whoo-pig-sooey cheer at a news conference.

Now, if WHAS-TV is right, John L. Smith, another former UofL coach, is headed to swine country to serve as an assistant to his old assistant. Going to be part of the defensive coaching staff.

Coach Bobby Petrino is scheduled to meet with media at 1:30 p.m. Friday. The press conference was scheduled 24 hours before reports of a coaching hire began circulating.

Petrino and Smith do have a history. In fact, Petrino was an assistant at Louisville for Smith, who had a 132-86 record in 18 seasons as a head coach. Smith was also head coach at Utah State and had Petrino as part of his staff there.

John L. has been co-hosting a daily radio show with Drew Deiner on WKRD in Louisville for several months, bouncing back after being shown the door at Michigan State.

One can only hope John L minds his manners and stifles any negative thoughts on his way out of town this time around.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]