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NOTE: Sorry this is so long...that's just how my brain works....rambling and wordy. But if you remotely care about the Petrino debate, I'd like to think it's worth a few minutes to read. Maybe not. You decide.
I'll start by saying that, in my opinion, in all likelihood, we probably won't be looking for coach at the end of the year. And personally, I'm still neutral on how I feel about the situation. I don't feel strongly that we should keep Chizik or let him go and move on. I feel like that is something that can't be determined until the end of the year. Personally I hope it starts trending up and he gets things going in the right direction. Stability is a good thing.
But Petrino's name has come up a lot....too many threads about it already if you ask me....so naturally, I thought I'd start another one.
There are two debates about Petrino.
One, is he a good fit at Auburn right now...as a person, as a PR move, regarding reputation, etc.
And then there is the debate on whether he's actually worthy of running the show at Auburn from a coaching stand-point.
And that's what this post is about. Does he have the coaching credentials? I just did some quick research to give some numbers on what he's done at the places he's coached on college football.
Some want to say "well, he hasn't won the SEC or beaten Saban", so he isn't worthy. Well, Muschamp hasn't won it either, and Florida hired him. Nick Saban had never won a Big Ten title when LSU hired him. Les Miles hadn't won a Big XII title when LSU hired him. Pete Carroll hadn't won a conference when he was hired......and on and on and on. Oh yeah, and nobody but Les Miles has beaten Saban in the last 18 games, and only Les Miles, Gene Chizik, and Steve Spurrier have beaten Saban in the last 45 games.
Had Petrino spent 6 or 7 seasons at Alabama, Florida, Tennessee, Auburn, LSU, or Georgia and not been to a conference title game, I would consider that a relevant complaint. But four years at Arkansas, two of which were rebuilding, and two of which came in years when Auburn and Alabama won national titles and LSU went to the title game...well, not making it to Atlanta in those two years is not a big deal to me considering the best teams in football (AU, LSU, and UA) were in the same division, and he put previously irrelevant Arkansas in the conversation with those teams for 2011 and heading into 2012.
So, I'm evaluating him in the context of where he was, when he was there, and what he did.
The four years prior to his arrival (1999-2002), Louisville wasn't bad, going 34-16, a .680 winning percentage. They had one great year at 11-2 in 2001, finishing #17 in the AP Poll.
In his four years (2003-2006), Petrino was 41-9, a .820 winning percentage. He twice finished a season with a single loss, going 11-1 in 2004 and then 12-1 in 2006. He finished the year ranked three times, twice finishing at #6 in the nation.
Louisville had been ranked FOUR times TOTAL in their history before Petrno got there. They had never had a Top 10 finish before he led them there two times in three years.
Four years before Petrino:
1999 - 7-5 - NR
2000 - 9-3 - NR
2001 - 11-2 - #17
2002 - 7-6 - NR
Total - 34-16 (.680)
Petrino's four years:
2003 - 9-4 - NR
2004 - 11-1 - #6
2005 - 9-3 - #19
2006 - 12-1 - #6
Total - 41-9 (.820)
Arkansas has a pretty darn good history....much better than we give them credit for, mostly because it happened prior to them joining the SEC. But from 1960 to 1990 they had the 9th best record in all of football at 249-96-8 (.717%), which was a little better than Auburn's 228-111-8 (.669%), as well as better than Georgia, LSU, Tennessee, Notre Dame, Florida, FSU, etc.
But from 1991 to 2007 (Houston Nutt's last year), they had the 54th best record in football, at 109-93-2 (.539%).
In the 20 years prior to Petrino taking over, Arkansas was ranked only three times (1998, 99, 06), and had no finishes in the Top 15. But under Petrino, they finished #12 in 2010 and #5 in 2011. The first time since 1988 and 1989 they finished ranked in the Top 15 in back-to-back years.
Only one time in the previous 20 years had Arkansas finished with a winning percentage of .750 or better, coming in 1998 when they went 9-3. Petrino led them to a .769 winning percentage in 2010, and .846 in 2011 (highest since going 11-1 in 1977).
Petrino's first two years were largely rebuilding years, going 5-7 and then 8-5. But his last two years of 10-3 and 11-2 marked the first time since 1988 and 1989 that they had won 10 games in back-to-back years.
In the four years before Petrino, Arkansas had a 3-17 (.150%) record against ranked teams (two coming in 2006 alone, one was when Malzhan's offense ran all over our #2 ranked Tigers). In Petrino's four years, he was 6-13 (.316%) against ranked teams. But more telling was that he was 0-8 in those first two years, and 6-5 (.545%) in the last two years (playing in the toughest division in all of football....playing SEVEN Top 10 games in those two years).
Four years before Petrino:
2004 - 5-6 NR
2005 - 4-7 NR
2006 - 10-4 #15 (Malzahn's year)
2007 - 8-5 NR
Total - 27-22 (.551)
Petrino's four years:
2008 - 5-7 NR
2009 - 8-5 NR
2010 - 10-3 - #12
2011 - 11-2 - #5
Total - 34-17 (.667)
In the context in which he has coached at Louisville and at Arkansas....I find it very, very hard to understand how anyone can look at those trends, those numbers, and that success, and question his coaching ability. He's an offensive guy, and it takes defense to win in the SEC, but he simply needs to hire the right DC. Spurrier was an offensive guy, but he had Stoops and others running his defense. Meyer was an offensive guy, but he had Strong and others run his defense successfully. Richt was in OC, but he's had Van Gorder and now Grantham lead very successful defenses. It can be done, no question.
Again, personally I'm not in favor of hiring Petrnio. I think it's the wrong guy at the wrong time for Auburn. I don't think we need to hire someone that has the Creed tattooed on his back, but we also don't need to bring in a guy with the reputation of public enemy #1 scum bag. It's possible to hire a guy that can win without hiring a guy that automatically brings a cargo van full of baggage and darkens the black eye our program has had since Cecil, HBO and the armed idiots did their damage. That is more about Auburn University than it is about Auburn football. It matters (at least to me).
However, if we DID hire him....personally, I'm pretty confident that he'd win, and probably win a lot and win big here at Auburn. He follows the trend of many that came before him. Meyer won at Bowling Green, Utah, then Florida. Saban did well at Toledo, then Michigan State, then LSU/Alabama. Petrino did well at Louisville, then Arkansas, and I contend that if he ever lands at a top tier program, he'll win big.
Nothing is a sure bet, no doubt, but I'm not sure why anyone would analyze his performances at his previous stops and come to the conclusion that he is LIKELY to fail at Auburn...or that he "probably" wouldn't be able to win it all. Short of hiring someone that HAS won it all, I'm not sure who you're holding out for that has a better head coaching resume than this guy.
This post has been edited 2 times, most recently by jadennis on 10/10/2012 at 11:52 AM
Why didnt you include his numbers with the Falcons?
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