LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - While University of Louisville fans may be split on hiring controversial coach Bobby Petrino, one of the reasons Petrino has had such great success on the field is players like him, especially successful players.
Stefan LeFors, Chris Redman and Brian Brohm are three star Cardinal quarterbacks who were all coached by Bobby Petrino.
Their initial reaction to his return as the Cardinals Head Coach? "I'm excited Coach Petrino is going to come back," Brohm said with a big smile.
LeFors said, "I don't know if you would have asked me that a few days ago, if I thought it would really happen, but I'm excited for Bobby." We asked Redman if he was at all surprised by the move of University of Louisville Athletic Director Tom Jurich, "Not really," Redman replied.
Playing for Petrino in college and for the Atlanta Falcons, Redman knows Petrino as well as anyone. Redman said Charlie Strong's departure to Texas combined with the recently repaired relationship between Petrino and Jurich in the last few years, set up the perfect coaching storm. "I think it just kind of all fit," Redman said, "The timing all worked out perfectly because he was close (at Western Kentucky University) and this is a home for him."
We asked LeFors, who's now coaching young men in football at Christian Academy, how Petrino's off the field antics that made National headlines might affect a recruit's decision to come to UofL.
"I think the biggest thing he's going to have to battle is convincing the parents (that he's changed)," LeFors said, "I think the kids won't remember (his controversies) and the kids he's recruiting now they look at it and say hey, look at all he points he puts up and look at all the players he's gotten into the NFL."
Brohm believes going into the ACC, Jurich was intent on building the program from it's current success and isn't worried about fans put off by Petrino's past. "With how high the program is right now," Brohm said, "Being able to sustain that and to keep that going, I think Coach Petrino is the right choice and I think if Tom Jurich can forgive coach Petrino, then the fans out there who are a little weary should be able to forgive him too."
All three said Petrino's discipline - military as it was at times - was great for their game and believe his ability to put points on the board will calm the controversy.
"He's a competitor and he prepares like no other," Lefors said, "and he'll put you in a position to win and do well."
Brohm said, "Guys I played with we looked back at what we accomplished and why did we accomplish those goals and it's because coach pushed us to be the best we could be."
Redman added of the Petrino hire, "I think it's the perfect fit and I think in the long run, everyone's going to be really happy."
As for Petrino attracting troubled players to the University of Louisville in the past? All three quarterbacks said they believe those stories are blown way out of proportion. They also said while some players may have had issues with Petrino, that happens in every program.