Ties that bound Petrino and Brohms at loose ends now

No stepping on the brakes, it’s a freight train now, the season opener only six days away for the University of Louisville football team. Against Purdue University, the Brohm brothers and company.

Bobby Petrino wishes Jeff Brohm lots of luck, just not next Saturday (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

Jeff, Brian and Greg Brohm all former UofL players, good ones, ambitious people, wanting to prove themselves on the sidelines, eager to make names for themselves, starting at the expense of their alma mater, possibly even envisioning a return to UofL some day.

Current UofL Coach Bobby Petrino noting in his press conference on Monday that all three of them, including Purdue head coach Jeff Brohm, were guests at the wedding of his daughter Katie over the summer. Along with Poppa and Momma Brohm. Strong between the Petrinos and the Brohms, almost two decades now.

Jeff Brohm is a Purude Boilermaker for now.

Jeff, of course, was an assistant to Petrino at at Western Kentucky before becoming head coach at WKU. Making his mark there, earning a Big 10 opportunity. He knows the Petrino system as well as anyone, having lived it at least 20 hours a day, 12 months a year.

“I’m excited for Jeff … but now he’s the enemy,” said Petrino smiling. adding that Brohm went through a rigorous process of contemplating a coaching career after his NFL career was over, the long days, all the travel, the ups and downs of recruiting, and all the other responsibilities. “He called me when I went to Western Kentucky and said he had decided he wanted to be a head coach,” he said. “I know he put a lot of thought into it, and I believe he will be successful.”

Jeff is one of four family members to be a football letterwinner at Louisville, along with his father, Oscar (quarterback 1966-69), and brothers, Greg (wide receiver 1989-92) and Brian (quarterback 2004-07).

Unfortunate, perhaps, that Brohm’s first game at Purdue has to come against Louisville. Or maybe not, since he knows Petrino’s system so well. Petrino is well aware of Brohm’s proclivity for unorthodox or trick plays, relying heavily on them for his success at Western Kentucky. Petrino expects more of the same Saturday at Indianapolis.

No more of this buddy, buddy stuff, however.

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Lamar Jackson confidence grows with maturity and stronger offensive line (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

Lamar Jackson is ready to put the off season behind him. He’s done with all the awards banquets, and the monotony of fall football camp . Ready for some football he is.  “I was ready after the first week of practice. I’m always ready to play football,” he said.

As for being left off pre-season Heisman Trophy candidate lists, “I don’t know. They don’t come to me and talk about it. I don’t really care. I just care about my teammates and winning games.”

As for his much maligned offensive line, “They’re eager to play. They were eager to play last year but I can see a difference now. They’re much more mature now, they’re stronger and can push defensive lines back.”

As for whether he himself is more mature, “Last year they would be bringing a blitz, I would try to use my arm and try to beat the blitz. Now I can change the play and go in a whole different direction.”

Petrino says Louisville football more than ready

“Game week. Finally got here.”

Coach Bobby Petrino spoke for a lot of people, declaring the long wait nearly over, the long hot summer for members of the University of Louisville football team finally behind them.

“It’s been a good pre-season. I like the way our guys work. I like the way our coaches have been coaching. It’s fun to see the new staff members and their personalities coming out. It’s been really good.”

Yeah, Bobby Petrino is ready (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).
Yeah, Bobby Petrino is ready (Cindy Rice Shelton photo).

An entirely new outlook from a year ago when the program was still struggling to find a quarterback in a nationally-televised game against Auburn in Atlanta.

A team full of first-time starters took its lumps early, losing its first three games before winning eight of its last 10 games, including a signature win over Texas A&M in the Music City Bowl.

So much different this time around. “A year ago everything was new to them, what we did on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday,” he said. “These guys have been through that numerous times and that should help us in getting prepared.”

Petrino wants to see his team “come out and execute, do their jobs, do what they are asked to do, work their technique and fundamentals, and play with great effort play in and play out. I want to see guys with effort habit, playing hard on every play.”

The coach also wants to choose the option of receiving the ball on the opening kickoff every game if possible. “One of the hardest things I ever had to do was tell our guy last season that if we win the toss, we’ll defer until the second half,” he said, noting that he never wants to do that again.

It’s obviously difficult for Petrino to contain his excitement when asked about the progress quarterback Lamar Jackson has made during the off-season. “He’s had a good camp. He’s harder on himself now. He expects more from himself, as far as his drops, his sets, his accuracy. That’s really fun to see.”

With a stronger, more experienced offensive line, Petrino is expecting more from running backs Brandon Radcliff, L.D. Scott and Jeremy Wright, as well as from freshman Malik Staples whom Petrino described as “a home run hitter, capable of going the distance on any play.”

Petrino chomping at the bit, eager to get started.