Petrino, who signed mega-stars Michael Bush and Brian Brohm in first two years as U of L's coach, said Thursday that this is an important time during the recruiting process with national signing day less than two months away.
In fact, Petrino and staff didn't waste any time following last week's game against Tulane, as several U of L assistants hit the recruiting trails immediately following the Cardinals season-ending 55-7 victory over the Green Wave.
"The coaches hit the road right after the game against Tulane recruiting," Petrino said. "A couple of them didn't even come back with the team, they just flew out from New Orleans."
Next weekend, as U of L plays host to rival Kentucky on the hardwood, is shaping up as a monster recruiting weekend for the football Cardinals, who might host upwards of 20 prospects making official campus visits. Among those expected in attendance are a trio of highly coveted prospects from New Jersey, notably 6-3, 230-pound linebacker Brian Cushing, 6-5, 280-pound offensive lineman Brian Roche and 6-7, 260-pound offensive lineman/tight end Corey Wooten. Additionally, defensive linemen Patrick Kuntz of Indianapolis and L.D. Scott of Auburn, Alabama are scheduled to visit. Both recently told Inside The Ville they could make their college decisions shortly after that visit.
"We're excited about our recruiting," Petrino said. "We're looking forward to having a big weekend next weekend with a lot of players coming in for visits. And things seem to be going well with the coaches out on the road."
Petrino admitted that preparations for the December 31 Liberty Bowl against No. 10 Boise State make recruiting a little more challenging for both he and his coaching staff.
"There's a short period of time from now until the signing date," Petrino explained. "So we're going to be working extremely hard on the phones and getting out on the road when we can. And we'll have to balance that out with preparing for the bowl game."
With recent speculation surrounding his future at U of L as schools like Florida, Mississippi and Notre Dame all had Petrino on their short lists to replace departed coaches, the second-year Louisville coach said he's been vigilant the past several weeks assuring prospective student-athletes that he'd be at U of L next season.
"We've been getting questions all year long really," Petrino admitted. "At least since Coach Zook was released [at Florida]. But I've talked with almost every prospect that we're recruiting and we sent a letter to the recruits to assure them that I'd be here."
On Wednesday, Petrino, through the U of L sports information department, released a short statement saying that he would not consider any other coaching opportunities this year and would remain at U of L. That statement of committment to the U of L program should prove beneficial when Petrino hits the recruiting trail next week.
"Early next week I'm going to be gone on the road doing both school and home visits with prospects," Petrino said. "So it's going to be a busy schedule."
"Next week is going to be a challenge for us," Petrino continued, "because we have to be out on the road recruiting, and we have to practice and prepare [for Boise State]. So there will be some coaches who will have to leave after practice to go make some home visits."
Petrino also thinks the upcoming Liberty Bowl, provided his seventh-ranked Cardinals can win, could provide a big boost to his staff's recruiting efforts this winter.
"I think it's important for us to go down there, perform well and win the game," Petrino said. "It would certainly help our recruiting because the recruits would know that when we do start the next season that would be ranked very high and have a great opporunity to go to a BCS game."