Like just about every other cover-up, the bits and pieces of the Bobby Petrino story keep surfacing.
What started as a one-man accident turned into a two-person accident, the other person being 25-year-old Jessica Dorrell, who works in Arkansas’ football offices. That turned into further curiosity surrounding police officer Lance King, who transported Petrino to the hospital that day and works security during football season.
Now, there are questions surrounding the individuals who transported Petrino and Dorrell from the accident scene to an intersection where Dorrell left in her own vehicle and King picked up Petrino.
The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette is said to have eight reporters — eight — working on the Petrino story. In Saturday’s online addition of the paper, the ADG uncovered a few more details of the accident. It’s behind a paywall, and Chris Bahn of ArkansasSports360 provides a couple of blurbs.
They are as follows:
*A state trooper that was dispatched to the accident scene was scheduled to do a fugitive pickup. He dropped that to go to an accident scene that we now know included a wrecked motorcycle, but not the people who wrecked.
*Initially, the couple that transported Petrino and Dorrell from the scene — to a rendezvous point with State Police Capt. Lance King — told reporters that Petrino was alone. Only after seeing the accident report did they admit Dorrell was in the car. Family members are now acting as spokespeople for the couple, who seem to have gone into hiding.
By all accounts, the details of the aftermath of the accident are still a bit muddled, but here’s what the story means so far:
- The questioning of Capt. King is important for two reasons. One, and more obviously, he was directly involved in transporting Petrino to the hospital. Was he called by Petrino? Did King know Dorrell was with him? If so, why wasn’t Dorrell included in the initial police statement on Monday? Did King know of any prior inappropriate relationship or quid pro quo? Two, and more indirectly, there is, at minimum, a prior connection between Long and Petrino because of King’s job in security for UA.
- As far as the people who drove Petrino and Dorrell from the accident are concerned, it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to think Petrino told them they never saw Dorrell. The 911 call released Friday mentioned both Petrino and Dorrell asked that 911 not be called. Or, maybe the couple kept quiet on their own. That’s possible too.
- The idea that Petrino could be having an affair with a coworker is compelling, but as many of you have mentioned, that’s his private life. True, but Petrino made his private life public when he went for a ride Sunday evening with Dorrell. And, as is usually the case, the cover-up is what gets the attention.
- If Petrino did have a previous inappropriate relationship with Dorrell, that’s not really grounds for termination by itself. What could is lying to athletic director Jeff Long because Arkansas released a statement with inaccurate information, and if a police officer is involved, it only magnifies the lie. If the police report hadn’t been released, we may not have ever known about Dorrell because I can’t think of one person who’d believe Petrino would have said a thing.
- Which leads me to this: if you’re Jeff Long, you have to swallow the fact that your employee withheld information from you* and potentially hired someone with whom he was already having an inappropriate relationship. All in a week. And was okay with it — at least okay with it enough not to say anything until he had to. That’s a lot of distrust and it’s not like Petrino came to Fayetteville with a squeaky-clean record. The fact of the matter is that while potential infidelity only affects Petrino, Dorrell and their respective families, the cover-up had a greater ripple effect that has carried over into the professional lives of others.
- That said, firing Petrino isn’t the only option. He can be suspended without pay, so Long doesn’t necessarily have to make an all-or-nothing decision. But, if I was Long, I’d fire Petrino for putting myself and UA in the situation we’re in right now.
- I also don’t have the obligation of maintaining a winning football program with boosters breathing down my neck. So there’s that.
(*there have been retorts that Petrino was drugged up/in shock after his accident, so his initial account could have been compromised. Very possible, but he came down well enough to give a Tuesday press conference… where he also withheld information.)
Stanford will be without one of their top weapons ahead of a Pac-12 showdown with Washington.
Cardinal head coach David Shaw announced on Monday that receiver Francis Owusu suffered a concussion last week against UCLA and he will miss the team’s upcoming game on Friday in Seattle.
“He’s doing much better,” Shaw told ESPN. “If it was up to him, he’d play next week, but that’s not up to him.”
Owusu took a vicious helmet-to-helmet hit from defensive back Tahaan Goodman late in Saturday’s comeback win over UCLA. The play was reviewed but not considered targeting by Pac-12 referees, something that Shaw told reporters he would ask conference officials about.
“I know that Francis Owusu was not technically a ‘defenseless player,'” said Shaw. “But knowing the era we’re in — where we’re in the mode of trying to make this game safer, trying to take helmet hits out of the game, and trying to protect the players who play this wonderful, physical sport — in the spirit of where we are in the football world right now, you should throw a flag. It should be penalty. The initial contact was helmet-to-helmet.”
Owusu has just two catches for 15 yards on the season but the senior is one of the Cardinal’s veteran options at receiver. J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, who caught the game-winner at the Rose Bowl on Saturday, and Jay Tyler are expected to fill Owusu’s shoes in the offense.
No. 7 Stanford takes on No. 10 Washington in a battle of Pac-12 unbeatens that could be for a spot in the conference title game and the College Football Playoff. If nothing else, the game should determine who wins the Pac-12 North in 2016.
Ed Orgeron’s first order of business after being handed the interim head coaching title at LSU?
Suspending a starter.
The school announced on Monday that defensive end Davon Godchaux was suspended indefinitely after being arrested over the weekend as the result of an incident with his girlfriend.
NOLA.com reported that Godchaux was booked Monday morning by the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s office on charges of false imprisonment and domestic abuse battery/child endangerment. He was released after posting a $20,000 bond.
Godchaux is accused of getting into an altercation with his girlfriend and preventing her from leaving their apartment with their 10-month old child.
The defensive end has been responsible for two sacks on the season and 20 tackles over four games. Frank Herron is expected to take Godchaux’s place on the Tigers’ first-team defense.
One athletic director is making a rare intra-conference move to take the same position at a rival school.
As first reported by USA Today, Mississippi State’s Scott Stricklin is set to be announced as the new athletic director at Florida on Tuesday.
The move ends a lengthy search by the Gators to replace longtime AD Jeremy Foley, who officially retires at the end of the week but is remaining at the school to help fundraise.
The Florida athletic director’s job is considered to be one of the most plum in all of college sports. That may be the biggest reason why Stricklin, who graduated from Mississippi State in 1992, would make the rare move to leave his alma mater for another position in the SEC. He has been in charge of the Bulldogs since 2010 and also made stops at Tulane, Baylor and Kentucky before coming back to Starkville.
Stricklin is well-regarded in most circles for his moves to upgrade MSU facilities during his time as athletic director. The Gators recently announced plans for over $100 million in capital improvements so you can bet that the school’s new athletic director will hit the ground running starting on Saturday.
Les Miles has barely been out of a job for 24 hours and already the rumors have begun connecting other head coaches to his old job at LSU.
Not surprisingly, one of the most prominent names being mentioned is former Tigers assistant and current Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher.
“I’m not talking about LSU. No I haven’t [had contact] and I’m not talking about it,” Fisher told reporters on Monday. “We’re talking about North Carolina.”
The 12th-ranked Seminoles play the Tar Heels on Saturday.
Fisher spent seven years at LSU and was the offensive coordinator for Nick Saban during the 2003 national championship season in Baton Rouge. He recently won a national championship at Florida State in 2013 and has 71-15 career record. Many have labeled Fisher one of the Tigers’ top targets in their coaching search but he is far from the only prominent name that has been mentioned recently for the job.
Houston coach Tom Herman, who has seemingly heard his name come up for every major coaching opening the past 18 months, also denied being contacted by the school. A report had surfaced shortly after Miles was fired saying that said school representatives had already made contact with the Cougars coach.
“I can say unequivocally nobody has contacted me,” Herman said after practice, according to the Houston Chronicle. “I can spend my time getting upset and going on radio shows and tweeting things out and all that stuff, but at the end of the day it’s not going to stop. I just let them do and say whatever they want to say.”
Stanford head coach David Shaw also issued a strong denial about him potentially leaving the Farm for LSU as well.
With such a big time job opening up this early in the year, you can expect plenty of these types of reports linking somebody with LSU and then a prompt denial from said coach. It seems like it’s going to be a long season for the Tigers on the field and an even longer for those following the team’s coaching search.
It’s probably safe to say the only person who won’t deny any interest in the job or being contacted about the opening is LSU’s current interim coach Ed Orgeron, who was introduced at a press conference Monday afternoon.