University of Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino is typically among the first few names rattled off when the discussion is centered around the best offensive minds in college football game today. Now entering the third season in his second tenure with the Cardinals, Petrino's team's - despite the location - have always been known to have highly effective offensive attacks, often ranking among the nation's best in multiple categories.
Coaches often comment how they only put players in a position to succeed and that it's the athlete that makes the difference. Keeping that in mind, its shouldn't be a surprise that Petrino was included on a list created by NFL.com writer Chase Goodbread of 16 college coaches that are the best among developing talent. Petrino checks in at No. 13 on the list, which also includes three others from ACC programs.
Following his first year back in the Derby City, a school-record ten Cardinals were selected in the NFL Draft. As stated in the list at NFL.com, Petrino has helped produce a number of NFL players at each stop.
...his track record in his previous stint at Louisville and then at Arkansas includes an impressive 23 selections. And following his one year at Western Kentucky, the Hilltoppers had two late-round draft picks and an undrafted free agent who made the cut with the Tennessee Titans: RB Antonio Andrews.
One could point to Petrino's first tenure at Louisville, when he compiled a 41-9 record and guided the program to a victory over ACC Champion Wake Forest in the 2007 Orange Bowl as evidence of his ability to find and develop talent.
During that time, the U of L program was still very much in the process of defining its football identity. Bouncing from Conference USA to the Big East, Petrino's recruiting efforts saw the program reach new heights in the annual class rankings, but he signed many athletes who weren't highly-rated and at times, nearly complete unknowns.
Gary Barnidge, Harry Douglas, Elvis Dumervil, William Gay and Breno Giacomini are just a few of the Cardinals from his first four year run at Louisville that have enjoyed NFL success.
He continues to prove that he has one of the best eyes for locating and then developing professional players. It was just last month that an NFL.com article listed Louisville as one of five programs that could dominate the 2017 draft.
While Petrino does rely on prospect video, assistant recommendations and other essentials for finding players during the recruiting process, watching the player first-hand remains the preferred method for the 55-year old. That's a primary reason why he remains in Louisville conducting his camps while many of his peers jet around the country making appearances at off-campus mega satellite camps. In the Cardinals last signing class, more than half attended a camp that allowed Petrino a hands-on opportunity with the prospect.
Petrino, who won his 100th college game with a victory over Texas A&M in the 2015 Music City Bowl, will lead his team in their season-opener against Charlotte on Thursday, September 1 at Papa Johns Cardinal Stadium.