Petrino placed on administrative leave
At around 10pm tonight, University of Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long held a press conference at which he announced that he has placed Bobby Petrino on paid administrative leave.
Long announced that this afternoon Coach Petrino called him to alert him to the fact that he wasn't alone on the motorcycle at the time of the accident and that they subsequently met to discuss the situation. After that meeting, Long said he informed Coach Petrino that he was placing him on administration leave until such time as he can complete his review of this matter.
As the press conference was beginning, reporters there were handed a statement from Coach Petrino. The entirety of that statement is below.
“The state police report today provides an accurate description of my accident, which includes details that had not publicly come to light prior to the report being issued. I regret that I have not publicly acknowledged a passenger on the vehicle. I have been in constant pain, medicated and the circumstances involving the wreck have come out in bits and pieces. That said I certainly had a concern about Jessica Dorrell’s name being revealed. In my press conference, I referred to her simply as ‘a lady’. My concern was to protect my family and a previous inappropriate relationship from becoming public. In hindsight, I showed a serious mistake in judgment when I chose not to be more specific about those details. Today, I’ve acknowledged this previous inappropriate relationship with my family and those within the athletic department administration.
I apologize to my wife, Becky, and our four children, Chancellor (David) Gearhart, Jeff Long, the Board of Trustees, University administration, my coaching staff, student-athletes and the entire state of Arkansas. I have been humbled by the outpouring of concern and get-well wishes. I apologize to the Razorback Nation for the attention my actions have brought to the University of Arkansas and our program. I will fully cooperate with the University throughout this process and my hope is to repair my relationships with my family, my Athletic Director, the Razorback Nation and remain the head coach of the Razorbacks.”
At the press conference, Long gave the impression that he would decide the path forward fairly quickly but did not give a definitive timetable. Long announced that assistant head coach / linebackers Taver Johnson would serve as interim head coach.
We'll keep you posted.
Saban explains his motivation
Nick Saban made it clear this week that he has zero interest in returning to the NFL. He learned a lot from his experience in the league but really enjoys coaching at the college level.
"I learned about myself by going to the NFL, why do I have to go do it again?" he explained to Mark Schlabach of ESPN.
Going into his sixth season with the Tide, and in pursuit of his fourth national title, Saban knows himself well enough to know he's happy where he's at. "I had my chances and I've had chances since. I think you have to know yourself well enough to know that if I'm happy doing what I'm doing now, why do I need something else? Before as a coach, even when I was at LSU, I went all those years and it was always work hard to get the next opportunity."
"From a job standpoint it's a great profession because you have a great opportunity to affect young people and help them be successful. If you go out and talk to anybody that's an athlete, almost every one of them will tell you about some coach they had somewhere that had a huge impact on their lives. That's kind of why I do this."
Saban says he understands the love he gets in Tuscaloosa is conditional on winning, but he has a bigger purpose. "If I didn't get positive self-gratification from helping kids and helping them graduate from school, being better people and being all they can be as football players, I wouldn't do this"
"It wouldn't be worth it to me. It wouldn't be worth the time, the sacrifice, and the family sacrifices I've had to make over the years with my own kids and wife. It's just not worth it. You can go make all the money in the world, but when you die, they bury it with you. There is no legacy to it. There won't be something they remember you for or talk about."
NAIA training circuit
Hastings College, an NAIA program in Nebraska, put together a highlight of their off season training circuit that looks very taxing.
The video is matched up with the popular message that conveys that you will be successful when you want success as bad as you want to breathe.
Very well done video, and you can tell the workout circuit takes everything the players got.
Akron coaches note promising progress
This morning Akron hit the field to begin the second half of their spring practices, and head coach Terry Bowden and associate head coach / defensive coordinator Chuck Amato have noticed some promising progress.
Bowden says that they are about where he had hoped they would be at this point through spring with the offensive and defensive installation, and players are starting to understand the coaching staff's expectations. Bowden explains that their focus has now shifted to identifying their top 22 players that will help them out come fall.
Amato added that leaders have yet to emerge, but guys are starting to figure out "how to play harder than they can".
Illinois defense meshing ideas and schemes
Illini Productions shadowed linebackers coach Mike Ward at practice the other day, and also got a few thoughts from the players on the adjustments they've had to make to the new coaching staff.
Ward says that they aren't trying to overhaul the whole defensive structure, but are instead focusing on trying to bridge the gap between what they did last season and some schemes and things that the new staff wants to install. The end goal is to successfully mesh the two philosophies and terminologies.
Vandy planning creative seating option
Vanderbilt is planning some exciting new additions and renovations at the stadium after the spring Black and Gold scrimmage next Saturday.
One of the additions will be a large hill, or "berm", at the open end of the stadium outfitted with a large JumboTron. The hill was inspired by Wake Forest's "Deacon Hill". Vice Chancellor of Athletics David Williams said he wouldn't call it a hill, "...but it certainly won’t look like it’s looking now”.
Williams, further explaining the difference between the two, said "Ours is on the line of, but not to the same effect, as Wake’s. Wake’s is a natural hill. Ours is something we’re creating. With Wake’s, I think you enter from the top. Ours won’t be like that. I don’t think there’s any place that has it like this because ours is not going to be that huge.” The new hill will sport the grass from the playing field when the field switches to FieldTurf and improved lighting will also be added to the stadium as part of the renovations.
Steve Walsh, Vandy's director of sales and marketing points out that their goal is to make it a more family friendly environment. “We want to appeal to fans with young kids, where their kids can run around and they can still watch the game and keep an eye on the kids. We want to make it more of a ‘blanket in the park’ thing.” Blankets will be allowed in the area, but coolers and lounge chairs will not.
James Franklin is a fan of the change, partly due to the fact that it's not a permanent fixture.
“There have been discussions of building a football complex there, there have been discussions of closing the stadium in (with permanent seating). But until we prove we have a demand for those things, it’s hard to justify. This is a way to do something inexpensive, relatively speaking, that isn’t permanent. It can be bulldozed if we decide.”
Great way to kick off a practice
Navy started off practice yesterday with "The Ring Drill".
Coach Niumatalolo calls two guys out to go head to head. This is good stuff...mano a mano.
Great way to kick off a practice.
Urban Meyer: Getting better every day
A week has gone by since the start of spring ball in Columbus, and Urban Meyer still feels a sense of urgency in finding consistency in the offense, and finding the play makers for the Buckeyes.
"We're not where we need to be. But I'm not upset. I just wish we would grasp it a little faster. There's not one position. It's like offensive football, anytime you install, anytime you do something new, nine guys do it right and two guys do it wrong and it just looks like the most disgusting thing you'll ever see. So we've just got to get a little more consistent" he explained.
Meyer still feels that progress is being made daily. "We're a lot better today than we were yesterday, so as long as we keep doing that, it means there's still the bar is being raised."