Bobby Petrino: Coach Must Follow Mike Leach's Path Back to the NCAA

Ethan Grant@DowntownEGAnalyst IApril 18, 2012

Bobby Petrino has some time to plot his next move.
Bobby Petrino has some time to plot his next move.Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Bobby Petrino won't be roaming the sidelines for the Arkansas Razorbacks in 2012. Odds are, in fact, he won't be roaming any sidelines until the scandal involving him, a female University employee and the totaled motorcycle dies down.

Petrino's actions have cost him a $3.5 million annual salary and commitment between the University and himself on a contract that lasted until 2017.

So what's next for the 51-year-old?

He does have prior NFL experience that might make him an attractive candidate for a team like New Orleans on a short-term basis, or maybe even Washington. That being said, he also has a resume that includes his dash from the Atlanta Falcons back to the NCAA and Arkansas during his first year with the team.

What Petrino needs to do is clear his head, let the media come up with another scandal or popular issue to focus in on and quietly plan his return to a program that has the tools to be competitive in his pass-happy offense.

When he's ready to return to a program with the allure of Arkansas, he'll be able to use this next job as a benchmark for what he can do on the football field for a program when he's not involved in extramarital issues like he was over this past month.

Quite recently, a similar situation between Texas Tech University and former head coach Mike Leach rocked the headlines.

Leach wasn't cheating on his wife, but he was accused of locking Adam James—the son of former NFL and SMU star Craig James—in a shed while he was reportedly nursing a concussion.

Leach was fired before Texas Tech's bowl game following the 2009 season. He then went off the grid for two years before agreeing to take over the Washington State program to begin the 2012 season.

Washington State is a Pac-12 program, but Leach is committing himself to a rebuilding process. He isn't going to be able to walk in the door and beat USC and Oregon on command, but he is doing the same thing he did in Lubbock, Texas.

That is, winning his own way.

There is no reason Petrino can't follow Leach's path. If nothing else, Petrino needs some time away from the limelight.

Both coaches have a similar style. They stick to their guns. Petrino may have put his personal needs in front of his resurgent football program, but his 21-5 record speaks for itself. The same can be said of Leach, who despite throwing the ball every play and teaching no noticeable defense, went 84-43 with 10 bowl appearances.

Leach came back from the pit after being accused of wrongdoing. He even wrote a book. I'm not sure if Bobby Petrino will take that route, but you can guarantee he'll be back.