Bobby Petrino’s Clemson/Death Valley comments are overblown

Price1I’m no Bobby Petrino fan. In fact I really can’t stand the guy (primarily as a person). If you need to ask why, well you’ve probably lived under a rock the last five years or don’t follow college football. The guy’s personal transgressions aside, he can coach football and is one of the very best offensive-minded coaches in the country.

But Bobby Petrino’s comments yesterday about the environment his Louisville Cardinals (5-1, 3-1) will face Saturday afternoon in Clemson’s Death Valley and equating it to the half-empty Carrier Dome and cavernous environment last Friday in Syracuse are being totally overblown.

Is it laughable what he said? Yes, clearly. That’s the only thing you can do is laugh at Petrino’s comparison:

“And to be real honest, it’s going to be very similar to last week. That (Carrier Dome) was a loud place. I don’t know if it can get any louder, even though the crowd wasn’t that big.”

(Watch below starting at the 3:55 mark)

Let’s be real guys…the Carrier Dome is more full during the winter for a ‘Cuse basketball game than it was last week for the Friday night kickoff. Few even care up there about football. Nor should you if you’re a Clemson fan as to what Petrino said.

But if you continue to listen to what Petrino said in talking about the challenge of Death Valley, he clearly knows what’s ahead for his team and that this one has been circled for a while. How does he know? Because he then went all “Hoosiers” in trying to downplay the challenge and environment

​”The stadium will be big. There will be a lot of people there. The field is the same length. Goal posts are the same height, so we have to go in an enjoy it. This is one of the things that’s exciting about being in the ACC is some of the venues we get to go play at. This is our first real experience in that. But we need to have a good week in practice, focus on getting better and go play football.”

After you watch and hear exactly how Petrino talked about and referred to Death Valley, you understand the context. It’s easy to read a statement and overblow it the way his comments have been by local fans and media. We’re in the social media age now where a simple statement can be misconstrued and misinterpreted because there’s no context given and provided.

I was asked by my buddy Drew Deener, who we had on “Straight Up With Sturg” yesterday and I was on his show “The Deener Show” on ESPN Louisville (680 AM), if I thought Petrino’s comments were offensive. To which I told him and his audience that there was nothing below-the-belt or offensive whatsoever. In the midst of a season, teams, coaches, fans, media look for anything they

Petrino is playing the psychological game with his team. His kids aren’t stupid. They’re football players. They know big time college football. They know Clemson is one of the kingpins of the ACC. And they know the magic of Death Valley and the electricity that runs throughought the stadium as the Tigers touch Howard’s Rock and run down the Hill.

Like I also told Deener this morning…Clemson fans are smart football fans. They know when there’s a big third down coming up. They know a big fourth down stop and the momentum such a turnover can provide in the way of momentum. They appreciate an beautiful over-the-shoulder, pitch and catch from Deshaun to Hopper. They know the game and know when to get loud.

They’ll be loud and proud without Bobby Petrino’s prodding…but I think that student section might roar a touch louder if/when pinned deep Saturday afternoon thanks to him.

Price Atkinson is a University of Kentucky graduate, lives in Greenville, SC and is a co-host on the “Straight up with Sturge” radio show on ESPN Upstate

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