Bobby Petrino addressed the coaching vacancy at LSU at his first opportunity, the Monday afternoon press conference for University of Louisville football:
“I’m not interested in going anywhere. I’m very fortunate to be the head coach here at the University of Louisville, very happy about that, very glad I have the support of our athletic director Tom Jurich. We were able to sit down last year and do a new contract. We’re going to expand the stadium. We’re coming off one of the greatest crowds and Card Marches I’ve been around (at the Florida State game). We feel like we’ve got everything going in the right direction.
LSU officials reportedly considered Petrino the last time the job was vacant.
“This is the job I want. This is where I’m going to be.
According to some, the LSU administration was insecure about its ability to sell tickets for an LSU-UofL matchup in the Music City Bowl and, as a result, the University of Louisville football team will be playing Georgia in the Belk Bowl on Jan. 30.
While the traveling distance — an eight hour drive to Charlotte as opposed to 2 1/2 hours to Nashville — is a concern to some Cardinals’ fans, the actual matchup is even better, with UofL ranked 20th, Georgia 13th in the final College Football Playoff ranking.
If the claim is true, Louisiana is mired in the mid-Sixties about football perceptions. Reportedly using its clout to lobby for what it perceived to be a bigger name opponent, LSU was able to get Notre Dame, practically guaranteeing a win over a traditional power.
Or, shudder to think that Steve Kragthorpe, a former UofL football coach fired after three disastrous seasons, may have had a hand in the decision. Kragthorpe is listed on LSU’s roster as Chief of Staff and Special Assistant to the Head Coach. Hard to imagine him wanting LSU to run up against Louisville.
We get it that UofL fans should be insulted by what LSU fans would perceive as a sleight. What they can’t comprehend from their exalted view is that the University of Louisville is a respected football institution, with two BCS bowls to its credit and a member of the club. Typical SEC pretentiousness, we suspect.
LSU Football Coach Les Miles also may have had visions of getting his butt handed to him in Nashville, with as many as 35,000 University of Louisville fans witnessing the humiliation. That possibility would have been a bit much for a school whose universe revolves around Tiger Stadium with its 102,321 seats and its football legacy. So Miles settles for a ho-hum matchup against Notre Dame.
Would Louisville fans like to have played LSU in the Music City Bowl? Of course, but a game matching up two of college football’s better teams from the 2014 season means much more.
UofL Defensive Coordinator Todd Grantham left Georgia last year to join Coach Bobby Petrino. Grantham spent four years as Georgia’s defensive coordinator where his defense was among the nation’s best in 2011. Louisville’s defense is currently ranked sixth in overall defense this season.
The Belk Bowl will be one of only 10 bowls this year that has two ranked teams competing against each other.
Reports out of Bayou Country indicate that former University of Louisville football coach Steve Kragthorpe may be the leading candidate for offensive coordinator at LSU.
Gary Crowton, the current LSU coordinator, is said to be interested in a similar position with the Chicago Bears, a position he held in 1999 and 2000 before taking the head-coaching job at Brigham Young. LSU was 112th of out 120 schools in total offense last season among Division 1A schools, averaging 304.5 yards a game.
LSU head coach Les Miles said yesterday that he has no intentions of firing Crowton but it is widely speculated that Crowton may resign. Miles recently hired Florida receivers coach Billy Gonzalez to be his passing game coordinator. Former UofL head coach Ron Cooper is on the LSU staff as a defensive back coach.
An interesting turn of events for U of L’s ex-skipper. Kragthorpe recently moved his family back to Tulsa and stated that he would take some time off to reevaluate and consider his next move. Looks like he may be ready to pack the suitcases again and head to Baton Rouge.
One thing that comes to mind…if Kragthorpe installs the same offensive game strategy for the Tigers that he used at Louisville his final season, that 112th out of 120th ranking in offensive production last year is in jeopardy of dropping even further. He may have more talent and weapons at LSU than he did at Louisville. If Kragthorpe ends up with the job, one would hope that he listens to the offensive coaches around him instead of taking the “it’s all on me” approach.
LSU ended the season with a 19-17 loss to Penn State in the Capital One Bowl, a game that saw the Tigers struggle offensively.