The Governor’s Cup Luncheon was held in Frankfort on Wednesday, almost 6 months before the actual football game between the Cards and Cats, but that’s another story. Steve Jones of the Courier-Journal posted a transcript of everything that Bobby Petrino had to say, and you can see most of that here.
It’s a pleasure to be here today. I want to thank Kroger for the sponsorship of the great event today (golf outing for charity) and the event we had last night (cocktail party in Frankfort). Also I’d like to congratulate all of the honorees (Jeff Brohm, Tom Andrews, Gary Barnes among former U of L players and Mark Higgs, Jerry Blanton and Mike Cassity among UK guys). It’s kind of special for me to be here today and see Jeff (be honored). I had the pleasure of getting to know Jeff when he was injured in the training room when I was an assistant coach at the University of Louisville. Then when I got the job, he was one of the first phone calls I made when we were looking at putting a staff together. He’s also an excellent coach and always done a great job. He did a great job at Western Kentucky last year, and we wish him all the best. It’s good to see Coach Cassity (be honored). Since I’ve known Coach Cassity, he’s gotten better and better each year that he’s been done playing. If you don’t believe me, just ask him. (laughter.) We also got to spend time working together at two different programs (U of L and WKU). It’s kind of a special day for me today to see the two of them (honored).
As far as our team goes, we just got back from our summer break. We took a quick break in the month of May. Most of our players, almost the entire team, is on campus and started classes yesterday and workouts yesterday, which is great to see our vets back and what they did in the month that they were off. Also, we have a group of newcomers that just arrived on campus that are nervous and trying to figure what it’s all about right now. We do have a few guys that we are expecting to still join us, a couple maybe this weekend who graduate on Saturday, and then our next summer school starts in July and we’ll probably have two or three more guys join us in July on July 8 when that starts.
What we do right now is work real hard in the weight room on them getting in the best possible condition they’ve ever been in. Working on getting stronger, bigger, faster. We’ve got a great strength and conditioning staff who do a major job in the development of our student-athletes. It’s a great time of the year for them to concentrate individually. Then they also have class. Most of our athletes are taking one or two classes each summer school term. I think we have one athlete taking five courses over the summer. What that really does for us is give us the opportunity to graduate when our eligibility ends. Last year in December, we had 17 guys graduate in December, another four or five who graduated in May this year. We’ll have one player playing for us this fall who could have his master’s degree finished by the end of next year. Summer school has really become a major part of getting better as an athlete but also getting that degree in your pocket, so we’re really glad to see them back for that.
Our coaching staff just got off the road from spring recruiting. It’s always a fun time for our coaches to go out in their recruiting areas and evaluate freshmen, sophomores, juniors. It just gets younger and younger every year. It’s just the culture of recruiting right now. I’ve been in coaching where it used to be that after the season you went out and that’s when you found out the guys you were going to recruit. But that’s all changed. Now they’re off the road and will be in summer camps starting this Saturday. We’ll have about a week and a half of summer camps, and then our assistant coaches will have a little break for a couple weeks before we come back and join and get back at it.
ON THE MAKEUP OF THE TEAM AFTER LOSING 10 NFL DRAFT PICKS:
Well, obviously it’s a different team. We’re very proud of the guys who got drafted. It does make me very nervous because that’s a lot of draft picks. We also had four or five guys who went in (the NFL) as free agents. We knew last year when we got here it was a very heavy senior team. We had 23 seniors, then three juniors came out earlier, which is something that’s a surprise and always hurts you in how you manage your roster. I feel really good about what we have coming back on defense. We should be a very strong defensive football team, particularly in our front seven because most of our guys return and are big and physical and have experience. Offensively we’re a work in progress right now. We’ve got to figure out exactly what combination we’re going to have on the offensive line. We’ve got some great competition going on at the quarterback spot, and I think we’ll be real strong at all the skill positions. We might not have a DeVante Parker there, but overall the group of skill positions gives us an opportunity to find guys who will be the playmakers for us.
ON THE RIVALRY WITH KENTUCKY
I think it’s great. First of all, the Governor’s Cup for high school football and football in the entire state has made a huge difference. In my time here, seeing it grow and seeing the high school coaching and seeing the players who have developed in the state, it’s been amazing how much it’s changed and how much it’s grown. Being at the end of the season now, this event is great for what we can do to raise money for Dare to Care and the events that we sponsor in Louisville. When we get closer to the game, being it’s the last part of the year, what you look forward to is hoping both teams will be healthy and there will be a lot on the line for both schools when we play at the end of the season.