In three of the last four games that he has coached for Louisville, Bobby Petrino has owned coaching errors that he has made. After the Indiana State game he said that he shouldn’t have come out throwing the football to start the game because the game was being played in heavy rain. After going for it on fourth down deep in his own territory against Western Kentucky, he owned the fact that it was a bad decision. Now he has said that he guesses he should have run the ball late in the game against Florida State after Jawon Pass threw an interception when the game was nearly in hand.
At some point this is just a coach telling the world that he is inept. Bobby Petrino has been a head football coach for over thirteen years now and he is making decisions that you would expect from an interim coach that’s in over his head. Veteran coaches shouldn’t have to tell fans that they “have to do better”. This is why you were hired and why you collect a check that is the size that it is.
I keep coming back to that last part every week. What’s the point of paying a guy as much as they do Petrino, if he can’t even get the “Football 101” stuff right? What are you paying for at this point? If you can’t trust that your coach will be able to put his players in the best position to succeed, you’re being robbed blind. That’s the first thing you should expect from your head coach and Louisville can’t trust in that at all right now.
Keep in mind that I’m only speaking on the three times this season that Petrino has had to answer to his gaffes. There is a separate list of head scratching decisions that no one took the time to ask him about over the years. Clock management issues and personnel decisions have been a running discussion amongst fans for a few years now.
I just can’t understand why these boneheaded decisions are being made. Everyone knew that the Indiana State game would be played in heavy rain early on that week. So, when Petrino said that he wanted to stick to the game plan, he let us all know that he planned to throw the ball in a rainstorm. Why would he make that decision coming off of a game where he learned nothing about his running game?
The Western Kentucky decision was the decision of a panicked coach that either didn’t know his team or didn’t trust them. It was the first half and he had already benched his starting quarterback. He also decided to make this call with a freshman quarterback that had just entered the game.
Then you have the Florida State game. Let’s run down some facts of this game:
- Your offense is playing as well as it has played all season.
- Jawon Pass had already spent time in the injury tent and is riding a bike to keep loose.
- Florida State’s defense had been on the field all day long and is showing obvious fatigue.
- You have two running backs that are averaging over five yards per carry on the day.
- Jawon Pass had been extremely inconsistent in the second half.
With all of those things being known at the time, Petrino elected to call a passing play on first down with about two minutes left in the game from Florida State’s 21 yard line. If he had chosen to run the ball three times and kicked a field goal, FSU would have likely gotten the ball back with about a minute to score a touchdown with no timeouts. That’s the strategy that every coach with thirteen games of experience would have gone with. Petrino’s thirteen YEARS of experience told him differently for some reason.
These things just shouldn’t be happening with a veteran coach like Bobby Petrino. It’s time that his penchant for “owning up” be looked at as him telling the fan base that he’s just not capable of making big decisions in games.