As Bobby Petrino was shown the door by the University of Arkansas on Tuesday, I flashed backed to a conversation with former Saints and Falcons defensive tackle Rod Coleman.
After practice I asked Coleman, in a taped television interview, for his thoughts on former his former coach in Atlanta, Petrino. "He had no business coaching men," said Coleman.
In December of 2007 with three games left in the season, Petrino left the Falcons for the Fayetteville. Atlanta defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer was blunt in his assessment of Petrino. "He's a coward," said Zimmer.
This was the same Petrino, who in 2003 at Louisville, interviewed for the Auburn job while his former boss, Tommy Tuberville, was still employed by Auburn. Petrino was Tuberville's former offensive coordinator.
Flash forward eight years to November of 2011. LSU scored 17 fourth quarter points in a 41-17 rout of Petrino and Arkansas. At one point, a frustrated Petrino was caught by television cameras gesturing and cursing at the other sideline to LSU head coach Les Miles.
Petrino looked amateurish as he gave Miles a very cursory handshake at the end of the game.
One year earlier in Little Rock, LSU's hopes for a BCS bowl game were dashed in a loss to the Hogs. The 31-23 loss was particularly stinging for the Tigers. LSU had allowed Arkansas to score on an 80-yard touchdown pass on the final play of the first half.
After the game, Miles handled the defeat with aplomb. "I am not happy. This was not how it was supposed to end for us," said Miles.
Meantime, in the other dressing room, Petrino injected a touch of bravado. Said Bobby, "We didn't come to paint. We came to win the game."
As the sordid details of his relationship with a 25-year old former Arkansas volleyball player and their subsequent motorcycle accident surfaced, former players piled on to Petrino's self-engineered grave.
Former Falcons safety Lawyer Malloy called Petrino's troubles, "Karma."
Former Falcons quarterback DeAngelo Hall was ever more candid. "(Petrino) He's a clown," Hall slammed. "I have a 10 year old son, and I would never send him to a college to play for a person or coach like Petrino."
The 2012 season could have been the Hogs year. Arkansas will play both Alabama and LSU in Fayetteville.
The Hogs return starting quarterback Tyler Wilson. Plus, star unning back Knile Davis is back after suffering a season ending injury in August of 2011.
On the night Petrino was fired, a veteran Hog watcher called me and said, "He was making $3.6 million a year, and a he had a chance to win a national championship. All he had to do was behave himself."
In the SEC West, the beat goes on. Since Les Miles arrived at LSU in 2005, each school in the West has changed coaches at least once, Ole Miss twice.
A 51-year old coach's ill-fated motorcycle ride with a 25-year old former student has tilted the balance of power in the SEC West even more to Baton Rouge and Tuscaloosa.
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