FanDuel - WFBC

January 08, 2007

Louisville's Petrino leaves to coach the Atlanta Falcons: Another story of a coach bolting after signing an extension and making tearful speeches about his commitment to stay in Louisville for the long haul.

posted by louisville_slugger to football at 05:12 AM - 26 comments

How could anyone not know? I have been saying it was just a matter of time for three years. I was poo-pooed each time by my friends. When he got caught up in the Auburn deal I knew it was just a matter of time. When you catch somebody being sneaky, that is a measure of their integrity. Great Coach, poor personality. Soft schedules have made him look good. Remembr John L Smith, He is available!

posted by Godzilla82 at 05:29 AM on January 08

I'm anxious to see how he and Vick get along. His high powered offense doesnt seem to fit with Vick at all. He needs a qb to throw 4000+ yards for his system to work.

posted by louisville_slugger at 06:25 AM on January 08

And another one who'll be back looking for a NCAA job in two years. And will get one.

posted by etagloh at 07:53 AM on January 08

When ADs and fan bases stop talking about how committed they are to their coaches and then firing them immediately after signing them to an extension (see Shula, Mike) then coaches should stop doing the same. Until then, the fans and ADs should quit their whining- disloyalty cuts both ways. His high powered offense doesnt seem to fit with Vick at all. Vick's arm has always been more dangerous deep and long than short; seems like that would fit much better into Petrino's offense than it did into the West Coast scheme. Besides, isn't Petrino supposed to be the sort of Flexible Offensive Genius (like the dude at Navy, and Texas Tech) who will tailor his scheme to fit the tools at hand, instead of trying to fit the tool into the scheme (IMHO, Mora's big mistake?)

posted by tieguy at 08:14 AM on January 08

Vick's arm has always been more dangerous deep and long than short Seriously. Say what you will about his accuracy, but that man has an absolute rocket for an arm. One of his problems is actually throwing the ball too hard to his receivers. And as an Atlanta Falcons fan, damn damn damn! Last thing I want is another college football coach leading my team. OK, so he had a year as an O assistant. Hopefully it'll help out.

posted by jmd82 at 08:29 AM on January 08

When ADs and fan bases stop talking about how committed they are to their coaches and then firing them immediately after signing them to an extension (see Shula, Mike) then coaches should stop doing the same. Personally, I think that's a bunch of hogwash. What Petrino pulled on Louisville has nothing to do with the suffering endured by any other coach. Petrino demonstrated a pattern of a lack of loyalty and if he used "but colleges aren't loyal to coaches" - he'd demonstrate a different pattern - of being a very weak man. (Of course, if Louisville could've legally gotten out of their contract with him when he pulled the Auburn shenanigans, then I consider them also "weak" for not kicking him to the curb then). But, AD's/owners' lack of loyalty is a problem, too, and I know that a lot of folks agree with tieguy's take, so I won't completely poo-poo it. But, here's an honest open-ended question, but also (if my guess is correct) food for thought for anyone wanting to complain too loudly about how ADs/owners treat coaches ... When a coach is fired prematurely from his/her contract, the school/pro team has to still pay them the contractual balance, correct? (unless the coach is fired for some clear breach of conduct/contract) However, when a coach pulls a stunt like this, is that coach responsible to pay any monetary or other obligations back to the school/team? (I'm thinking No)

posted by littleLebowski at 08:48 AM on January 08

Vick's arm has always been more dangerous deep and long than short; seems like that would fit much better into Petrino's offense than it did into the West Coast scheme. I'm not arguing Vic's arm strength, the guy is a freak and has a cannon. But if you throw out the 2 years he was hurt, he's averaged a little more than 2500 passing yards for his carreer. I don't see Petrino changing his offensive philosophy that much. Maybe he'll be the one to get more out of Vick's passing game, who knows. I'm sure he had to sell the Falcons on that when interviewing for the job. For it to work like it did in Louisville, he'll need to get a lot from his qb.

posted by louisville_slugger at 09:12 AM on January 08

I don't see Petrino changing his offensive philosophy that much. I can't imagine how the Falcons would have hired anyone without spending a lot of time asking 'how are you going to structure your offense around Michael Vick?' If Petrino doesn't have a very good answer to that question, and the Falcons hired him anyway, the Falcons are idiots. Petrino demonstrated a pattern of a lack of loyalty Every fan base, and every AD, ever, in the history of modern American sport, has demonstrated a lack of loyalty. That is how hiring of top-level coaches works. Petrino would be an idiot to be loyal to an institution that is incapable of being loyal to him. (The Steelers are a possible exception to this rule; that anyone has even dared to question JoePa's right to coach as long as he wants proves the rule, though.)

posted by tieguy at 09:17 AM on January 08

I think of these coaching changes as career moves. I am not particularly loyal to my company compared to my long-term career prospects, but I am loyal while I am there. I will stay at my company until I get a job offer that furthers my career goals. I don't tell my current company that I will leave if a better offer comes along, but they know that anyway. It's business. Ever since people stopped working for a company for life with a large pension to match, people have switched jobs. When schools and ADs stopped being long-term loyal to coaches (JoePa and Bowden loyal), then coaches were going to start moving around. It's just business.

posted by bperk at 09:52 AM on January 08

Every fan base, and every AD, ever, in the history of modern American sport, has demonstrated a lack of loyalty. That is how hiring of top-level coaches works. Petrino would be an idiot to be loyal to an institution that is incapable of being loyal to him. You're painting with a broad and inaccurate brush. We're not talking about (Shula, Mike) or (Willingham, Tyrone) or any other coach or any other situation. Contrary to your comment above, Louisville DID demonstrate an inordinate amount of loyalty to Petrino after the Auburn incident. And, you bringing up JoePa is a point against you. When EVERYONE - media, alumni, fan base, "experts" were calling for Penn St to make a change, they stuck with him. (Entertaining the question regarding loyalty to him does not prove your point - it merely demonstrates legitimate business-sense followed by undying loyalty by an administration towards a coach whose program was struggling). I'm not particularly offended by Petrino making the jump, and I can rarely blame a coach for moving to a situation that they consider "better" for their livelihood and families (On preview, agree with bperk). - but the incessant argument of "well, the colleges aren't loyal, so why should the coaches?" is misguided by fans and immature/weak by coaches. Until someone demonstrates to me how colleges/teams are "made whole" after a coach skips early, I can almost guarantee we'll continue to disagree about any fallout regarding these kinds of situations not falling squarely and solely on the shoulders of the coach making the move.

posted by littleLebowski at 10:18 AM on January 08

Welcome to the NFC South--the New Orleans Saints will be waiting for you.

posted by govtdrone at 10:19 AM on January 08

I can't imagine how the Falcons would have hired anyone without spending a lot of time asking 'how are you going to structure your offense around Michael Vick?' If Petrino doesn't have a very good answer to that question, and the Falcons hired him anyway, the Falcons are idiots. As I said earlier, I'm sure he had to sell them on exactly that. He has a history of saying things people want to hear. If you believe he'll turn the falcons around and turn Vick into a probowler again, that's cool. Lord knows I have invested too much money in my son's Vic jerseys to see him ever get traded and have to buy more. For my wallet's sake, I hope you're right. We'll see.

posted by louisville_slugger at 10:34 AM on January 08

You know I could be very wrong so please don't hold me to it, but I could have sworn I caught something in passing the other day about the Falcons' owner saying they were not necessarily married to M. Vick and the new coach would have some input as to his future plans with the team. Did anyone else hear/see this report or any similar statement? Any chance they trade Vick this offseason?

posted by ampto11 at 10:51 AM on January 08

I saw that on ESPN the other day. I'm guessing they'll give it a year to see what happens with a new coach. If it doesn't improve I think he'll be traded after that.

posted by louisville_slugger at 10:57 AM on January 08

I can't see Vick getting traded. His contract is outrageous. Dropping him would mean that they would take a huge contract hit. I think Blank would want to see Vick with a coach like Petrino that would work with Vick instead of installing a system despite Vick. I never understood that switch anyway. He should have given Reeves a year with a healthy Vick to see what could happen. Vick's progress pretty much stalled since then.

posted by bperk at 11:52 AM on January 08

bperk, The cap hit for Vick wouldn't be that high. If he were traded the remaining unpaid dollars would go with him and he would likely sign a new contract with his new team. The Falcons are only responsible to the cap for money already paid (salary and signing bonus). Since Vick has been under his current contract for a few years, I suspect the Falcons have chosen to eat most of the cap number already. Most teams try and get the signing bonus cap hit out of the way ASAP. The Falcons have had cap room the past two seasons so I am sure Vick's bonus has been paid in cap dollars by now. Cap problems come when players get cut/injured before the cap number was allocated. Say Atlanta chose to differ Vick's signing bonus over the entire period of the contract. If he got a 10 mill SB they could pay one million against the cap the first year, 2 the second, 3 the third and 4 the fourth (1+2+3+4=10) or any variation they wanted. If he got traded after year two the Falcons would owe a 7 million dollar cap hit. This method is the 'old' way (hello Dan Snyder). It got the Broncos in trouble as they started differing payments longer than the contract was for and the NFL bitch-slapped them for it. The Eagles OTOH paid Donovan's signing bonus in one year, which is why they have so much cap room now. Most teams try and follow this method when possible. Having said all that, Vick will not be traded anytime soon. Atlanta is the "Black Hollywood" and Vick is its red-carpet star. He is more to that city and team than just a Quarterback. He puts asses in seats. Blank sees himself and the Falcons as a pillar of Atlanta, and he knows Atlanta loves Vick. Also, the last thing a new NFL head coach wants is instability at the QB position.

posted by r8rh8r27 at 01:00 PM on January 08

College coaching contracts often have buyout clauses and since Petrino signed a 10 year deal that starts at $1.6M and escalates to $2.6M just this past summer, I expect it has one, maybe in the $500k-1M range.

posted by billsaysthis at 01:01 PM on January 08

If he were traded the remaining unpaid dollars would go with him and he would likely sign a new contract with his new team. The Falcons are only responsible to the cap for money already paid (salary and signing bonus). Since Vick has been under his current contract for a few years, I suspect the Falcons have chosen to eat most of the cap number already. Most teams try and get the signing bonus cap hit out of the way ASAP. The Falcons have had cap room the past two seasons so I am sure Vick's bonus has been paid in cap dollars by now. Vick received a $22.5 million dollar roster bonus in 2005 - prorated now, but would immediately accelerate if he were to get traded.

posted by bperk at 01:17 PM on January 08

You know I could be very wrong so please don't hold me to it, but I could have sworn I caught something in passing the other day about the Falcons' owner saying they were not necessarily married to M. Vick and the new coach would have some input as to his future plans with the team. Did anyone else hear/see this report or any similar statement? Any chance they trade Vick this offseason? Mort reported it. Said that Blanc told him that he would trust the coach to decide what to do with Vick and that if someone came in and said he wouldn't work out as QB, then that is what they would do. He also said if a coach came in and told them he wanted to keep Schaub just in case, then he would do that as well. We've seen enough comments from Blanc to know that he is definitely not married to Vick (wasn't it like week 10 or so that he said he was holding EVERYONE accountable for the poor performance of the team and that no job was safe...that statement seemed to be specifically geared towards Vick and Mora).

posted by bdaddy at 01:58 PM on January 08

Wow bperk, 22 for a roster bonus is outrageous. I didn't know that. You used the word "prorated" so I'm sure you know what is going on here more than most ;) I doubt the Falcons have absorbed 22 mil this early. So I guess that is yet another reason Vick won't get traded and this conversation is moot. The owner's vague statements are irrelevant. He hired one of the top GM's in the NFL and gave good compensation for him. He wouldn't do that and then go free-wheeling with a hatchet on the roster. Rich McKay makes the football decisions and he values Vick, and for good reason. For argument's sake lets say Atl did want to deal Vick. What would they ask for/get? They wanted a first and third for Schaub *gag*. What is the "trade value" of the most exciting player in the league? Well, a lot. We are a talking Hershel Walker-like trade. So again. Vick is not going anywhere. If Patrino and Vick do not produce offence, it is Bobby that will get the boot.

posted by r8rh8r27 at 02:26 PM on January 08

Thanks Bdaddy, L-Slugger. I'm here in Louisville and needless to say it's quite the mix of emotions here today. Good luck to Bobby P. and his family. Will be interested to see how much this affects Louisville's recruiting not only this year but the next two or three years to follow.

posted by ampto11 at 04:21 PM on January 08

I'm about 70 miles south in Campbellsville. Television and radio are really nuts over this today. I'm hoping his brother will get the job, but it sounds like the guy from Tulsa is on his way.

posted by louisville_slugger at 05:10 PM on January 08

I'm not sure why this kind of thing gets so much media play. One, it happens all the time. As a Gopher fan I remember Lou Holtz leaving to go to the Irish. Set back the program...still haven't recovered in my mind, and this year didn't help. Two, as others have pointed out, we would all say the same thing if our bosses asked us if we were looking for another job. "No, sir, I love it here, I wouldn't think of leaving" Then we get the better offer and we're out the door. Three, he obviously had an escape clause in his contract. If he didn't the university could hold him to it.

posted by dviking at 07:19 PM on January 08

There are a few other recent contracts with big bonus numbers--can't be sure but I think McNair had one in the $22M range that kept him on the Titans one season longer than would have been the case without it.

posted by billsaysthis at 10:50 PM on January 08

I'm hoping his brother will get the job, but it sounds like the guy from Tulsa is on his way I wouldn't want his brother. To me, that would be like rewarding the family. Bobby leaves so you throw millions to his brother. No. Tom Jurich is one of the best AD's in the country. He'll find the right coach, sounds like it will be the guy from Tulsa, and Louisville will be okay. Every hire Tom Jurich has made since arrving on campus has proven to be right. The worst hire so far, based on wins/losses, has been Rick Pitino. To me, that says an awful lot about the job Jurich has done if his one bad decision was to bring in Pitino. I thought I heard Paul Petrino was being considered for the Alabama offensive coordinator, could be wrong though. They are reporting here locally that Matt Simms has rescended his letter of intent. He was, I believe, the #1 ranked QB coming out of high school this year. Oh, and Michael Bush is holding a PC this morning to announce whether or not he'll take the medical redshirt and return next year or enter the draft in April.

posted by ampto11 at 10:28 AM on January 09

I wonder what will become of Vick now.

posted by LA_Dude at 07:38 PM on January 14

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