Signs indicate Petrino to be named next UofL coach
It appears from various newspaper accounts in Alabama that current Auburn Offensive Coordinator Bob Petrino has emerged as Louisville AD Tom Jurich's top candidate to replace former coach John L. Smith, who accepted the head coaching position at Michigan State last Thursday.
Petrino served as Coach Smith's O.C. during the 1998 season and directed an offense that set numerous UofL records and finished first in the nation in total offense that season. In his lone season as the O.C. at UofL, the Cards offensive attack included a 4,00 yard passer (Chris Redman), a 1,000 yard rusher (Leroy Collins) and a 1,000 yard receiver (Arnold Jackson). Petrino then became quarterbacks coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars and was promoted to offensive coordinator after only two seasons with the Jaguars. Petrino was named O.C. prior to the 2002 season at the University of Auburn for the 2002 and directed the Tigers to a number three ranking in total yards (396.7), scoring (31.2) and rushing (204 ypg) in the SEC this season despite numerous injuries and quarterback changes.
An additional benefit of a Petrino hiring is the relationship he's already developed with Louisville Male High superstar Michael Bush while courting the star quarterback for Tommy Tubberville and Auburn this season. Petrino's hiring could quickly re-establish the Cardinals as the overwhelming favorite to land the state of Kentucky's Mr. Football next February. With Petrino's exciting brand of offense and his recruiting ties in the deep south, UofL's recruiting class could reap immediate benefits in the talent rich state's of Florida and Alabama this winter.
Auburn will take on Penn State on January 1 in the Capital One Bowl and Petrino and Jurich may not meet until after the game, according to a report by Troy Johnson of the Ledger-Enquirer. Comments made by Jurich indicate Louisville's next coach will earn between $300,000 - 500,000 in base salary to start. Petrino earns $150,000 as Auburn's offensive coordinator.