Dave Hart of Tennessee and Jeff Long of Arkansas are both men of integrity and high professional standards. As such, neither is likely to hire Bobby Petrino to replace your currently embattled head coach.
I’ve seen and heard speculation that both programs have “reached out” to the former Razorback coach and could be in talks to have him come in and rescue their programs. It’s not happening and that’s all so much wishful thinking from impatient fans with active imaginations.
One program, perhaps both, will be in the head coach market at season’s end.
Derek Dooley isn’t a “dead man walking” yet because despite Saturday night’s disappointing loss to the Florida Gators, Tennessee does appear to be an improved team. After two straight embarrassments at Arkansas, John L Smith is certain to take his $800,000 paycheck with him to US Bankruptcy Court.
But Bobby Petrino ain’t walking through that door.
Or, back through that door in the case of the Razorbacks.
To put it bluntly, there isn’t a program that’s had Petrino as its head coach would be willing to take him back. Not Louisville. Not Atlanta and certainly not Arkansas. What should have been a legitimate run at a conference and possibly national titles was totaled along with the Harley-Davidson Petrino dubbed “Hawg Wild” on April Fools Day, 2012.
Arkansas’ 1-2 start isn’t John L Smith’s fault. It’s the fault of a man who put himself before his family, his employer and his team. You don’t want him back and neither does your athletic director.
Tennessee’s previous athletic director might have stooped that low. After all, he’s the same guy who hired Bruce Pearl and Lane Kiffin. But Dave Hart is no Mike Hamilton. Winning is important to Hart, but not at any cost and certainly not with the risks associated with hiring men of known character problems.
Bobby Petrino has a brilliant offensive mind. He is a good football coach who knows how to recruit and develop very good quarterbacks. Somebody somewhere will give him another chance. They’ll roll the dice and sign him up. He will invariably win some football games and then leave his Good Samaritan program holding a bucket of warm spit. He’s done that everywhere he’s been.
Jeff Long has already held that bucket. Dave Hart doesn’t ever want to.
So, Bobby Petrino will coach someplace else next year.