Bahn: Feeling Pain At Arkansas, But Not Necessarily Petrino's Pain

by Chris Bahn  on Tuesday, Apr. 10, 2012 4:35 pm  

What a sympathetic and heroic figure Bobby Petrino appeared this time last week. Petrino, dressed in his usual coaching garb accented with a neck brace and Sugar Bowl hat, met with media to deliver an update on his motorcycle crash.

Petrino offered the details of his crash. He showed us all how Petrino tough he was.

But Petrino isn’t a sympathetic figure in this at all now that elements of his off-field life have been made public, along with the extent to which he went to keep those elements private. Ultimately, those resulted in him being relievd of his duties at Arkansas after four-plus seasons and a 34-14 record.

Petrino appeared to be hitting the home stretch of rehabbing his public image. Instead, he piloted his motorcycle and Jessica Dorrell off a straightaway on Highway 16 and into a ditch, where he came up with broken bones and a national reputation that is now back on life support.

Regardless of how much pain he was in following the wreck — State Police Captain Lance King says Petrino did nothing but groan on the way to the hospital (well, groan and provide detailed directions on how to get to the little known Physician’s Specialty Hospital)— it’s became impossible to muster much sympathy for Petrino.

But there are folks that deserve your empathy. None of them are wearing neck braces. All of them have been hurt in ways that aren’t as visible as the road rash on Petrino's face.

Consider the position in which Petrino has put his staff.

All of these guys signed up for long hours and a relentless pursuit of perfection to please their boss. Every one of them is well compensated financially, but it can't buy them peace of mind. Those six-figure salaries aren't going to stop the questions and stares from coming their way.

Defensive coordinator Paul Haynes and linebackers coach/acting head coach Taver Johnson especially come to mind. Both are native Ohioans who spent the bulk of their lives and professional careers in Ohio. Each coach is bright and has a promising future he thought would be maximized by buying into Petrino and his "grind" mentality.

Believing they had a great opportunity here, the coaches packed up their families and moved them nearly 800 miles from home. Transitioning to a new job, introducing your family to a new town is tough enough.

Know who else you should feel for today? Running backs coach/recruiting coordinator Tim Horton. He has deep ties to the UA, not just as a football staff member, but as former player and alum.

Horton’s name, like many of yours, is etched into Senior Walk. The UA means more to him than just football.



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