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Thanks, Bobby Petrino
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Forsyth County News
Thank you, Bobby Petrino.

You managed to give Bulldog and Falcon fans plenty to cheer about over the weekend.

Thanks to your aversion to defense and discipline, you managed to make Georgia’s offense resemble the “point a minute” Michigan teams of Fielding Y. Yost a century ago.

Not many teams are capable of ringing up 41 points and losing by 11, but your Razorbacks were up to the task Saturday night in Fayetteville.

Incredibly, Georgia met its match in the penalty department when facing your disciplined crew. As usual, the Dogs amassed double-digit penalties —14 — for 93 yards. Included was the usual stuff: false starts, holding, kickoff out of bounds. But they also added a few new twists, like holding on a two-point conversion attempt. Undaunted, they followed that up with a false start on their next two point try.

But your Arkansas crew rose to the challenge: 11 penalties for 100 yards, including the rarely seen double personal foul and ejection on a single play. At least linebacker Jerry Franklin was allowed to stay on the bench to view the rest of the proceedings.

At least you lead by example. During the ensuing time out, you garnered your own personal foul penalty. Just taking one for the team, right coach?

Of course, you did step up and displace the blame after the contest drew to its merciful conclusion. It’s important for your players to know that the loss wasn’t their coach’s fault.

“We were better in this game, but not good enough to win,” you were quoted as saying at

“However, we can’t beat ourselves. We had some blown assignments and a lot of penalties, so we can’t have that happen.”

That’s a clear, concise placing of blame on your players, right where it belongs. After all, they’re the ones who weren’t good enough, who blew the assignments, and who garnered those penalties. Well, all but one.

Fortunately, coach Petrino continued his analysis: “I’m proud of the way the team prepared for this game. We just didn’t score enough points. When you are in a shootout like that, you can’t afford to take a play off.”

So, now we know that the coaches did their jobs during the week, getting the team ready to play. How can it be the coaches fault if the players dog it on a play or two here and there?

What about the defense, coach? “I’m very disappointed in the defense. We wanted to take (A. J.) Green out of the game, but we weren’t able to do that. Especially when Jerry Franklin was ejected.”

Well, now, who isn’t disappointed in the Arkansas defense? Georgia fans are disappointed in the Dogs defense, and they surrendered fewer points and yards than the Hogs did.

But the rest of the analysis eludes me. At the half, you told Erin Andrews of ESPN that your safeties needed to play up closer to help take Green out of the game. You never mentioned linebacker responsibility. Yet, after the game, Green’s big night is the officials’ fault for ejecting a linebacker from the game. Strange.

How about your young quarterback, Ryan Mallett? “Ryan gave us a chance to win the game today. He prepared all week and the week before really well. He obviously showed that he can throw the ball well, and he showed that he could make some plays.”

Now, there’s a backhanded compliment. Made some plays, did he? Yes, five touchdown passes and 408 yards passing amount to a few plays. Yes indeed, he gave Arkansas a chance to win, thanks to excellent preparation provided by the coaching staff.

Think I’m picking on poor coach Petrino? Okay, compare Georgia coach Mark Richt’s postgame comments, also reported at

“We certainly know how to keep things exciting. I was happy with the way our guys went out and competed. I’m so thankful for the heart and spirit of this football team, and it was a spirited victory tonight. I still don’t feel like we’ve reached our full potential, but we’re getting there.”

How about your quarterback, coach? “Joe (Cox) was great tonight. I thought he did a great job with his decision making. There was only one play that I can remember where we thought he should’ve checked down or done something differently, but other than that, he was great.”

Note any difference in tone between those two coaches?

Petrino was conspicuous by his absence at the Georgia Dome on Sunday. Had he been there, it’s highly unlikely the Falcons would have beaten Carolina, 28-20.

It’s also highly unlikely that the Falcons would be 2-0, with both their wins coming over playoff teams from a year ago. And it’s also highly unlikely that the Falcons themselves would be coming off a playoff appearance.

In fact, it’s downright incredible how far the Falcons have risen since Petrino ran the team into the ground two years ago. But Petrino slinking out of town in the dead of night to take the Arkansas job had the profound effect of setting the team on the right course and making all the locals happy.

Thanks again, coach.