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Brohm Named Playboy All-American, Graces Sporting News Cover

Despite the fact that his team's first game is still more than four and-a-half months away, it was quite a week for Louisville quarterback Brian Brohm.

Brohm became the first Cardinal since Sam Madison to be named to the Playboy All-American Team when the magazine released its annual list of honorees on Friday.

"I'm excited to be chosen," said Brohm. "The Playboy All-American team has been around for a while and is pretty well-known throughout the country. It kind of recognizes what I've done in the past, and it's nice to get that recognition. But I still have to go out there and prove it again this year."  

Brohm will head out to Arizona on May 11 for a photo shoot with the rest of the Playboy team.

Brohm also made headlines this week by gracing the cover (along with some friends) of The Sporting News' spring practice issue, which was adorned with the headline: "Why Brian Brohm passed on a No. 1-sized payday."

Steve Greenberg's piece
inside reveals that the answer to the cover question is Steve Kragthorpe.

Greenberg pays particular attention to Kragthorpe's relationship with his players, and juxtaposes it with the way the stand-offish way that Bobby Petrino went about handling the same issue.

That Kragthorpe does. It's one of the biggest -- and most welcome -- differences between him and his predecessor, new Atlanta Falcons boss Bobby Petrino. Inside the walls of the Louisville football program, Petrino, often stone-cold and addicted to X's and O's, was neither well-known nor particularly well-liked. Kragthorpe, the 41-year-old architect of an amazing turnaround at Tulsa, has swept away the eggshells.

"He has a personality everyone can love and relate to," says senior quarterback Brian Brohm, who speaks for this team as only the most important player in program history can. "I guess you would call him a players coach. He knows how to relate to the players. It's like hanging out with one of the guys."...

Quite telling are comments from Victor Anderson, a running back from Louisville high school powerhouse St. Xavier, in an interview with Rivals. "There's a big difference between the old coaching staff and the new one," says Anderson, ranked 10th nationally among all-purpose backs by the recruiting service. "I'm not saying I didn't like the old coaches, but the new ones are more interactive with the players and they all have great personalities."

Greenberg then points out that Petrino has left Kragthorpe in a situation where any season that doesn't include a BCS bowl win will be a disappointment, and questions whether Kragthorpe's nice guy attitude will produce the same results as his predecessor.

Petrino may have been a short-timer from the moment he arrived in Louisville, but there is no denying his place in Cardinals history. After taking the torch in 2003 from John L. Smith -- whom Petrino worked for at three schools -- the steely-eyed offensive genius became the best football coach U of L ever had. Better even than Schnellenberger, who left in 1995 on a 22-23 slide after the program had first peaked in 1990. Petrino left Louisville after a 12-1 season, having set up the Cardinals for a run at a national championship -- ostensibly, the only higher ground to which Kragthorpe could lead them. Pretty much nowhere to go but down, right?

"I just don't see it that way," he says. "Some of the most rewarding seasons I've had in football were with teams that didn't have great records."

The words of a very nice man. But is he too nice for his own good? Say this for Petrino: He figured somebody had to be the bad guy -- "College kids will take advantage of every inch you give them," a longtime U of L athletic department staffer says -- and Petrino was willing for it to be him. Perhaps that brought his players closer to one another. Might they become too close to a coach who is "one of the guys"?

Kragthorpe is annoyed by the question -- "My players will know who I am and what I expect from them," he says -- because he has heard it several times already since taking the job. (One reason it keeps coming up: Kragthorpe's signing linebacker Willie Williams, the ex-Miami five-star recruit known better for his rap sheet than his on-field performance.) Jurich calls his coach a "strong disciplinarian."

The story concludes on a positive note (for U of L fans at least), reverting back to the theme of Kragthorpe's personality being a better fit for Louisville football than Petrino's.

In every area, Kragthorpe is off to a dazzling start. His players are wild about him. Area high school coaches trust him. His quarterback is a firm believer in the Cardinals' offense, which will continue to feature the pass but mix in more of the short, timing throws Brohm will have to make at the next level.

Perhaps most important -- particularly after the Petrino experience -- Louisville believes it has found a football coach who will stick around long enough to make sure the program's current success sticks. "He wants a place he can stay 20 years," Jurich says. "He was looking for a place to love."

For now, Louisville is ready to love him back. Up, up and away.

Up, up and away? Really? Steve, when you don't know how to end a story (or post), you always make fun of the way someone else ended theirs, it's how the game's played.