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College football

Cardinals get their offensive guru

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published December 24, 2002


LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Auburn offensive coordinator Bob Petrino was hired as Louisville's head coach Monday, replacing his former boss who moved on to Michigan State.

Petrino follows John L. Smith, who left the Cardinals last week after five seasons, including a school-record 11 wins in 2001.

"We're going to play an exciting brand of football and hopefully put some lights up on that scoreboard," Petrino said.

The 41-year-old Petrino signed a five-year contract with a base salary of $450,000, plus up to $300,000 a year in incentives.

Petrino was Smith's offensive coordinator during his first season at Louisville in 1998. The Cardinals went 7-5 and led the nation in total offense (560 yards a game) and scoring offense (40 points).

This season, Auburn ranked third in the SEC in total offense (397 yards) and scoring offense (31 points).

"I think we have the finest offensive mind in the country, bar none," Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich said. "I could not be more ecstatic."

Petrino left Louisville for the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars in 1999 and was the team's quarterbacks coach for three seasons.

"Deep down in my heart, I did not want to go," he said about leaving Louisville for Jacksonville. "But I'm very glad I did that. It made me a better coach. I'm glad I got the opportunity to come back to Louisville."

FLORIDA STATE: ESPN will televise The Season at 5 p.m. today. With unprecedented access to coaches and players, the show captures the highs and lows of the Seminoles' turbulent season: from the criticism of the team motto "Let's Roll" to the 28-27 loss at Miami to the locker room outburst after the Notre Dame loss to the dismissal of quarterback Adrian McPherson to the win against Florida in the regular-season finale. Defensive end Alonzo Jackson, whose father has prostate cancer, is a central figure and the most poignant moments center on their interaction after a game and at graduation ceremonies.

ESPN will have to flesh out recent developments, such as the suspensions of quarterback Chris Rix and defensive tackle Darnell Dockett, in a postscript. An hour just isn't enough for this season.

"I usually hesitate a little bit at first because I know what it involves," coach Bobby Bowden said of the project. "But I think the pluses of something like that is better than any of the minuses. You take the chances of having a kid say something you really don't want him to say. But these folks were real good to work with. Some things I would let them in on, some things I wouldn't. But they did get a good inside peek at a lot of stuff."

An advance screening provided no shocking revelations, but there was a foreboding postgame comment from Bowden to his players in the locker room after a win against North Carolina:

"Behave yourselves. There's all kinds of trouble out there."

Two days later, according to police, McPherson stole a check from a Tallahassee business. The theft and cashing of the check led to his dismissal and arrest the next week.

ALABAMA: Former assistant coach Ronnie Cottrell said he was made to be a fall guy in the NCAA's probe. Cottrell, recruiting coordinator under former coach Mike DuBose, has sued university and NCAA officials claiming they defamed him. He said he was targeted to try to get damaging information about a powerful booster.

The NCAA's investigation concluded Cottrell committed only secondary violations involving recruiting. But investigators concluded he committed a major violation involving failure to repay loans from Tide booster Logan Young until questioned about the matter by NCAA investigators.

Cottrell complained the allegations against him came in part from a secret witness he was never allowed to cross-examine; that he was not allowed to bring his own witnesses; and that he was ordered not to comment on the investigation's proceedings for two years.

Tommy Gallion, Cottrell's attorney, said investigators pressured Cottrell to provide damaging information about Young in regard to using money to steer recruits to Alabama. But Gallion said Cottrell has never had such information.

In his lawsuit, Cottrell named the NCAA, infractions committee chairman Thomas Yeager and others as defendants.

The suit seeks $15-million in compensatory damages and $45-million in punitive damages. It also names as defendants Alabama faculty athletics representative Gene Marsh, then-compliance director Marie Robbins and radio talk-show host Paul Finebaum, who he says defamed him on his radio show.

Cottrell joined Alabama's staff in 1997 after nine seasons at Florida State.

MIAMI: Nathaniel Robinson, a high school defensive tackle from Irvington, N.J., rated the best at his position by a national recruiting service, orally committed. At 6-4, 319 pounds, Robinson was rated No. 1 by Rivals100.com despite playing in two games this season. He had a medial collateral ligament injury in September and was on crutches until two weeks ago. He had 14 sacks as a junior.

NEBRASKA: Green Bay Packers linebackers coach Bo Pelini was hired as defensive coordinator. Pelini accepted the job after Green Bay beat Buffalo 10-0 Sunday. He will finish the season with the Packers before joining the Cornhuskers. Pelini replaces Craig Bohl and is the third defensive coordinator at Nebraska since 1982.

NORTHERN ILLINOIS: Tailback Thomas Hammock won't play again after doctors found an enlarged muscle mass near the left side of his heart. Hammock rushed for 172 yards and two touchdowns in the season opener against Wake Forest before leaving with breathing problems and chest discomfort. He didn't play again. The two-year captain rushed for more than 2,400 yards during his career.

WESLEYAN: Two players were held on $75,000 bond on charges they robbed a Gap clothing store at gunpoint. Running back Young Douglas and linebacker Daniel Quinones are charged with robbery, conspiracy, unlawful restraint, second-degree reckless endangerment, third-degree larceny and firearms charges. Middletown, Conn., police said Douglas and Quinones took $2,600 during the robbery Friday.

Tangerine to Texas Tech

ORLANDO -- A monthlong layoff and an ankle injury did little to slow Kliff Kingsbury.

Kingsbury became the third Division I-A player to top 5,000 yards passing in a season, throwing for 375 and three touchdowns as Texas Tech defeated Clemson 55-15 in the Tangerine Bowl.

Five different receivers caught touchdowns for the Red Raiders (9-5), and Wes Welker had a 59-yard punt return for a score.

It was the worst loss of the season for Clemson (7-6).

Kingsbury, the game's MVP, completed 32 of 43 passes and finished his career with 5,017 yards. The only other players to reach the mark are BYU's Ty Detmer and Houston's David Klingler.

-- Times staff writer Brian Landman contributed to this report.

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