Three things can usually be heard when walking up to an Idaho Vandal football practice — pads popping, whistles blowing and Paul Petrino yelling.
Whether it’s yelling at his quarterback for making the wrong read or yelling at a receiver for making an outstanding catch, good or bad, the head football coach always comes across in the same intense tone.
That’s just who he is.
And while it might not seem like it at a distance, Paul Petrino is a players’ coach.
This may seem like a farfetched idea, especially after the reports of last week’s incident surfaced, in which a reporter from the Moscow-Pullman Daily News claimed Petrino threatened him after practice.
First, let me be clear — I’m not defending what Petrino reportedly did after that practice. Whether he had to be restrained or not, yelling at a member of the media is unacceptable, which he did apologize for at his press conference on the matter.
What started the whole outburst, though, was what Petrino claimed to be “unfair criticism directed at our players and our program,” he stated at his press conference.
And if there is anything I’ve learned from covering this Petrino-coached team for almost two years, is he will always whole-heartedly defend his players.
For example: After losses last season, Petrino was always quick to take the blame. If he was asked what went wrong in the game, he’d simply say that he and the coaching staff need to do a better job at preparing the team.
He never threw a player under the bus.
That’s what I mean by a players’ coach. Albeit, it’s a different style of what people usually think of when the term players’ coach is used.
Coaches like the Seattle Seahawk’s Pete Carroll is what comes to mind with the term. After all, in 2014 it was Carroll who was the popular choice in a confidential polling of NFL players when they answered the question of whom they would most like to play for.
Carroll and Petrino differ in their coaching styles. Carroll has what seems like a laid-back approach and Petrino is intense.
There’s no question that Carroll’s philosophy is working in Seattle, and with Petrino it remains to be seen.
But now entering his third season with the program, Petrino and this current coaching staff will have recruited the majority of the Idaho players. They chose to come to Idaho knowing what kind of coach Petrino is.
It doesn’t matter whether you, the fan, agree with his style or not.
It’s up to the players and athletic department to decide if they agree with Petrino’s philosophy.
All in all, winning will cure everything. When Bobby Knight was at Indiana lashing out at his players, media, fans and everyone else that got in his way, the athletic department, fans, players and media put up with it because he was winning ball games.
Petrino showed his loyalty to his players and this program. Now it’s up to them to start winning ball games to prove that his intense style can work here at Idaho.
Korbin McDonald can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @KorbinMcD_VN