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Looking Back Like Petrino Never Did, Then Looking Forward Again

Remember that scene in Airplane! where people with guns, bats and pipes line up to take a crack at the hysterical passenger? I was reminded of that as Blank, McKay, Dunn, White, Ma, Pa, Jesus, Santa, Nas, Flipper the dolphin and all of the world's adorable doe-eyed orphans weighed in on a guy who actually left all his players a four sentence letter instead of saying goodbye.

Let's sort through the best, shall we?

"Disloyal," said Anderson, Petrino's first pick as an NFL coach. "If he can leave players here, what makes you think he won't leave the players he's going to coach? I'm just afraid to see what happens if he does bad at Arkansas. Is he going to leave those kids?"

Jamaal Anderson attempts to sabotage Petrino's coaching career before it even starts? The fans of Arkansas certainly don't deserve that, but Petrino sure does. I'll have to mull over this one.

Everything he preached over the past eight months was a lie," Milloy said. "Everything he said he stood for was a lie. He came in and messed with a lot of people's lives -- he wasted a year of my life. It was a cowardly act. A selfish act.

"One thing I'm really [mad] at was while he was having a half-hearted approach to games, he was putting us all at risk. His mind wasn't in it. That explains why he threw a challenge flag a play after he was allowed to. Why we went for it on fourth-and-9 and punted on fourth-and-1. Maybe he was on the phone at Arkansas to the AD at that point.

"The cancer was diagnosed. Never would you want it to be your head coach, your general, to be that cancer, but in our case, it was."

Lawyer Milloy has been around long enough to deliver a verbal ass whupping. I'd rate this one highly.

"We play on Monday night and he's not at the meetings," tailback Warrick Dunn said. "Guys noticed that. We talked about it before the game. Then word gets out this guy might be going to Arkansas. I heard this before the game. To be able to look at him face to face and for him to try and lead you and motivate you is tough.

"He sold us a dream. He put this organization last in his life. He's selfish. He's definitely a liar. One of the things we have hanging in our meeting room is [a sign] 'Finish.' If he wanted to leave, you can at least finish three more games. It's 18 days. You can finish it and say, 'You know what, this wasn't for me.' You can respect that. But to let it go yesterday the way that he did and the disrespectful way that he did it, to me he has no heart."

Aw, damnit. I missed my chance to call Petrino the Tin Man while he was here. Oh well.

As you can see, the team's pretty well pissed off. I'm actually kind of at a loss in regards to all the Arkansas fans who are happy about this. Do you guys realize that Petrino bolted Louisville for the NFL and then bolted Atlanta in the span of like a year? What makes you think that he won't be on the trail again in a couple years? If you're just happy that they got a talented college coach for the short term, that's one thing. I understand being happy about that.

I do have a message for everyone who is saying, essentially, "good for Petrino." How any of you can feel sorry for a snake who just bit an entire franchise and its fans is beyond me. Yeah, he lost Vick through no fault of his own, but was he really going to stick around if they were 5-8 instead of 3-10? The millions of dollars he was getting couldn't help compensate for 13 games of a bad season? To me, it's not an excuse that he was unhappy in Atlanta. If he was so worried about the way the pro game was played, he never should've left Louisville in the first place. The man--excuse me, Lawyer Milloy, coward--couldn't even make it through one full season without hauling his sorry ass back to the college ranks. You'll excuse me if I can't find a whole lot of sympathy in my cold black heart for him, and I'm really at a loss to explain why anyone is feeling that way toward him.

I'll echo Jamaal here: Arkansas fans, enjoy the success, but be very wary of Bobby Petrino.

New Coach?

Thanks to a suggestion from esteemed reader runningback, I'm going to post something tomorrow to get you all involved in the coach-seeking business. I'm sure you're all sitting on the edge of your swivel chairs, if that's possible.

As the lead writer of a blog that's ostensibly about the Falcons, I'd like to endorse two candidates. I'd be pretty happy to land either Mike Singletary (good guy) or Bill Cowher (total hardass). They both would have a pretty good idea what they were getting into, and while on its face I prefer Cowher's experience, I recognize Cowher's likely to be expensive and probably reluctant. Singletary's NFL experience, nice guy image and playing experience makes him basically everything Bobby Petrino was not. That's bound to be attractive to Blank and McKay, who are definitely weeping and eating lots of chocolate as I write this. If I had to pick, it's Cowher, though.

The Here And Now

First, congratulations to Emmitt Thomas. If the Petrino story had gone down in a different way, perhaps there'd be a lot more energy spent talking about him. Suffice to say he's refusing to call Petrino out, focusing on the future and generally not being an asshat. I like that.

I don't know what Emmitt will do in the last three games, but he's sticking with Chris Redman for next game. Solid move. The team also booted completely useless running back Artose Pinner to the curb and signed project offensive lineman Pat McCoy, which is fine with me. We definitely need more offensive linemen. We definitely didn't need Artose Pinner with Jason Snelling around, either. So far, it's the kind of bland, inoffensive stuff that gives me the warm fuzzies.

Jesus, it has been an awful season, hasn't it?

DeAngelo Hall?

A commenter on Deadspin expressed a little alarm with the way I rooted for the team to keep DeAngelo Hall, and I'd like to finish up by briefly encapsulating my feelings here. Hall is not, as I've noted in the past, an elite corner. I don't think he's been burned, clowned or pissed on by elite receivers as much as many do. Honestly, there's not a lot of shutdown corners in the NFL right now, and if Hall was willing to sign a reasonable extension--and I know it's unlikely--keeping a speedy and young corner who regularly snares 5+ interceptions a season is a good move.

If he's too expensive, keep him around next season and work on finding a replacement. With the turmoil this season has caused, I think it's a good idea to keep D-Hall lining up across from #1 receivers for at least one more season.