Bobby Petrino has set sail on a new coaching adventure, recently putting the wraps on his first recruiting class at Western Kentucky. The embattled former Arkansas coach says his time away from the sidelines last season was very difficult, and those feelings were only compounded by the responsibility he felt for the Razorbacks going 4-8.
Bobby Petrino joined WGFX in Nashville with 3 Hour Lunch to discuss getting back to coaching at Western Kentucky, what he did when he wound up not coaching last year, how much that time away hurt, the reception he’s got at his new job, Western Kentucky’s facilities compared to Arkansas and how fast he can have success in his new gig.
How much are you looking forward to getting back on the field as a head coach?:
“It’ll be fun. You put a smile on my face just talking about it. You really miss it when you’re not out there, so to be able to get back on the field and work with young men and try to help them excel is something I’m really looking forward to.”
What were you doing in that time that you weren’t coaching?:
“I was able to acquire video. From the previous year, I studied the NFL teams that were really good on offense — the Green Bay Packers, New Orleans Saints and New York Giants. Then I was able to get each week, acquire some video from the SEC teams. I tried to stay involved as much as possible with what was new, what was Johnny Football doing to get Texas A&M in the end zone so often? It was really just trying to make sure I didn’t miss anything.”
Was that time hard for you?:
“It was very, very difficult. It’s always been a way of life for me, not necessarily a job. I grew up the son of a coach and it was just something you did every year, every fall. It was difficult, and then to watch them struggle and not play the way they played before, I felt a lot of responsibility for that.”
On the reception he’s gotten from Western Kentucky folks:
“It’s been great. I’m really excited to be there, and the support that we have. We had a signing party the other night and had 400 boosters come for it.”
Compare Arkansas’ facilities to those at Western Kentucky:
“I tell you what, it’s unbelievable the facilities we have at WKU. The weight room, training room and locker room are way off the charts, way better than what we had at Arkansas. They did a great job of designing the new facility. … I really couldn’t understand it until I got there and saw it for myself.”
How fast can this group at Western Kentucky adapt to your style?:
“Well, we’re going to have to do it fast. We went out and really worked hard in recruiting. The good thing is there’s three starters coming back on the offensive front, two really good tight ends back and a great running back. It’s going to be developing the passing game, and really working hard on the timing and the precision of it and getting the quarterbacks and receivers and offensive line in sync. It’ll be fun. I think we can do it in a short period of time.”
Take us back in your career a bit. You were at Louisville and then jump to the NFL and the Jacksonville Jaguars. How’d that work?:
“I was sitting in the meeting room with my brother, Paul, and we were watching video from the year before, right around this time. … The secretary came in and said, ‘There’s a guy by the name of Tom Coughlin on the phone,’ and we both kind of laughed and joked, yeah right. … I went and got on the phone and Coach Coughlin told me his offensive coordinator just left and took the head job with the Cleveland Browns and he wanted to hire a young quarterback coach and grow him in to be the coordinator. … I flew down there, went through the interview. … I really didn’t want to take the job. I was real hesitant about taking it, but I didn’t want to look back 10 years from now and say, ‘What if I would’ve done it?’ … Went and did it and had a great experience.”