SEC Football: How Bobby Petrino's Firing Shakes Up 2013 Conference Race
The SEC is a gauntlet for even the most solid program firing on all cylinders. So you can imagine how a scandal that has rocked Arkansas football and left them without a head coach could muddle things further.
Former head coach Bobby Petrino made the mistake of holding a secret relationship with Arkansas employee Jessica Dorrell, and he then exacerbated it by lying and covering things up.
ESPN's Mark Schlabach reports on the affair and the fallout that has since taken place here.
In the end, Petrino lost his job, Dorrell lost her privacy and both have had their reputations destroyed. Petrino is a married father of four, and Dorrell was engaged. So it's important to know the collateral damage is far more severe than just football games.
However, some driven young men have just lost the head coach they thought would be leading them into another winning season, a coach that had taken this program from middling to contention in the span of four years.
Petrino took over and slowly built a winning club in the hardest conference in the nation. Believe that his ousting will matter from a pure wins and losses standpoint.
Chris Dufresne of the L.A. Times writes:
My advice: Don't panic and try to hire Lou Holtz back. And Bill Parcells just turned down a better babysitting job. Get through spring (and maybe the fall) with assistant Tavor Johnson.
Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune wrote:
Arkansas needs to do what Bobby Petrino did not do — slow down.
Razorbacks athletic director Jeff Long should toss the keys to interim coach Taver Johnson, even though the former Ohio State defensive backs coach only began calling Arkansas home in January.
The thing is, I agree with all of that.
How many wins for Arkansas in 2012?
Arkansas proved they can build something special within the SEC. A lame-duck interim coach is not going to get the job done in 2012, but he is necessary. There isn't a head coach out there at this time who can right the ship and start building right now, and that makes Johnson all the more important for this lone year.
It will be hard to replicate 11 wins, six in conference, following this much tumult. Factor in programs like Auburn, Alabama and LSU in the SEC West, and the Razorbacks are in for a tough year.
But there is hope with patience. Get through this year, and you can finally get the head coach you need—and the one you deserve.
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