The season-long suspension of Sean Payton followed by the firing of Arkansas head football coach Bobby Petrino - for not disclosing that 25-year-old staffer Jessica Dorrel, with whom he was having a self admitted inappropriate relationship with, was also a passenger in his recent motorcycle accident - makes it appears that the boot covering Arkansas and Louisiana has just stepped into a big ol' pile of horse manure.
I'm just hanging on now for a big bomb to drop concerning Les Miles. The Hat is scheduled to serve as an expert analyst on the NFL Network's draft day coverage, so there is no telling what could come out of his mouth, especially since there is often grass in it. Wait, LSU is the culprit who started this pattern of off-season shenanigans, getting an early start with the Shady's bar brawl last August. So, maybe we have finally reached the last of the Bull coming out of the Boot.
Since the iron fist of discipline has now been handed down by both Goodell and Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long, I have become intrigued by what might happen if "Bountygate" and "Bikergate" converged? How well would it work out if Bobby Petrino was added to the Saints coaching staff? The Saints after all will be operating with just a few coaches more than a pee wee team, and Petrino, a highly successful college coach with NFL experience, is out of a job.
Loyalty, both personally and professionally, does not appear to be one of Petrino's strong suits, but the man can flat out develop a sure-fire passing attack. Throughout Petrino's coaching career, as both a long time college offensive assistant and head coach at Louisville and Arkansas, his teams have constantly lit up the scoreboard with an impressive aerial attack.
Petrino has also had success in the NFL. While he didn't even make it through one disasterous season leading the Atlanta Falcons before leaving with three games remaining to take the Arkansas job, he did have a nice run serving under Tom Coughlin with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Between 1999 and 2001, Petrino served as Coughlin's offensive coordinator and quarterback coach where he mentored former Saints backup QB Mark Brunell. Brunell experienced some very productive years under Petrino's tutelage, as the Jaguars finished in the top 10 offensively each season Petrino was on staff.
Since I've started writing this article, the Saints have already decided on Plan B and named linebackers coach Joe Vitt as the interim head coach. Bad idea in my view, as the franchise must still find another temporary head coach to serve during Vitt's six game suspension and it inserts another level of instability that the team must overcome. Not the ideal situation by any stretch, and there is no previous example which can be learned from.
However, the coach that seems to resemble Payton the most, and who also has a strong connection with quarterback Drew Brees is offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael, Jr. Payton and Carmichael are both young, bright, creative-minded play callers. Putting Carmichael in as interim coach would create a situation most similar to Payton still being at the helm and require less shuffling between coaches.
Adding Petrino as offensive coordinator would enable for the promotion of Carmichael to interim head coach, and when Payton returns Petrino's ass could be fired guilt-free. On the other hand, if Carmichael succeeds in the interim position as we would all hope, it is likely to create other head coaching opportunities for him, and the option to keep Petrino would be there.
At the very least, bringing in Petrino would really piss off the Atlanta Falcons, and who doesn't want to do that? After all, we've been through a lot lately and need to find a Black and Gold silver lining in all of this Bountygate crap.