Bowling Green, Ky. (WDRB) - Bobby Petrino guided the 2006 Louisville Cardinals to an Orange Bowl championship. A controversial, circuitous route from Atlanta to Arkansas led him back to Kentucky.
Petrino held his first Media Day as head coach of the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers Saturday. Petrino is trying to recapture the magic of that Orange Bowl team by using some of the pieces of the puzzle that led to that historic win.
Jeff Brohm, then the quarterbacks coach for U of L, is now the Hilltoppers' offensive coordinator.
"Coaching is something you've gotta put in a lot of time in, a lot of effort to learn your craft every day and getting the opportunity to get back with Coach Petrino , who is one of the best in the business without question, a tremendous head coach, one of the best offensive coaches in the country, I think is a great opportunity," Brohm said.
Kolby Smith was a running back on the 2006 Cardinals. He is now coaching running backs for Petrino.
"An opportunity to now learn from the master as a coach is a privilege," Smith said.
Ace Wales remembers that Orange Bowl victory in Miami. In Bowling Green, the former Central High School running back is hoping to learn from Smith and become a part of Petrino's plan to continue WKU's ascent.
"Kolby is a great guy and a great coach. He kind of interacts with us a lot. We're trying to get to where he went. He went to the NFL and we're trying to get to the place he's been. He used to play for Louisville, so I tell stories about when I used to watch him," Wales said.
Petrino's inaugural Hilltoppers team takes the field August 31st against UK in Nashville
"I don't know if you could have a better opener for us because it motivates you all winter long, motivates you through spring ball and all summer long our players are excited about it, " Petrino said of the opening game against his former arch rival.
The players have some added motivation. After beating UK at Commonwealth Stadium last year, they are currently underdogs in the upcoming meeting. The players said they are surprised, but they are ready. Again.