Big East Generates Notes, Quotes and Anecdotes

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This year’s Big East Conference media day in Newport, R.I., attracted more writers and broadcasters than ever before. Here’s a sampling of notes and quotes that were generated by this week’s festivities:

ABOUT LOUISVILLE COACH STEVE KRAGTHORPE

“Learning the way he’s going to run things, the way he (Coach Kragthorpe) goes about his business, I didn’t think we were going to miss a beat as a team. I didn’t want to come back and have a mediocre year, and I don’t feel that’s going to happen. … Individual goals – they really go hand in hand with our team goals. I want to win the Big East. I want to go undefeated, and I want to go to the BCS bowl for the national title.”
- Brian Brohm, Louisville’s senior quarterback to the St. Petersburg Times

Steve Kragthorpe was going to be our coach. When Bobby (Petrino) was going to Auburn, Steve was going to be our coach. Three years ago it was LSU, last year it was the Oakland Raiders, and Steve would have been our coach. We got him to hold off on a lot of jobs because he’s a hot coach. I said, ‘Be patient, we’re going to get this thing for you.’”
- Tom Jurich, U of L’s vice president for athletics to the St. Petersburg Times

“There are many similarities between (Bobby) Petrino and Kragthorpe. Both were born in Montana. Both worked as offensive assistants in the NFL before returning to coach in college, and their fathers were both college football head coaches. Kragthorpe is 42, and Petrino was the same age when he coached his first game at Louisville.
- Greg Auman, St. Petersburg Times

“The job Steve did at Tulsa arguably is one of the top five jobs ever done in college football. It ranks there with Northwestern and Gary Barnett and Bill Snyder at Kansas State. Steve has been very complimentary of our success (at Louisville), but he’s also his own man and he’s set his own program in place here.”
- Tom Jurich to the St. Petersburg Times

“I’m not coaching this (U of L) team any differently than I did at Tulsa. I’m trying to prepare a team so that every time we go out in a game situation, we’re performing at an optimum level. By doing that, hopefully we will put ourselves in a position to be successful.”
– Steve Kragthorpe, Louisville head football coach to the St. Petersburg Times

ABOUT BRIAN BROHM

“Brian (Brohm) runs the game. He manages the game and is an extension of the offensive coordinator and me on the field. That is what you have to have as a quarterback. You can’t call 15 timeouts in a game to get it orchestrated. The guy has to run the show for you and Brian does a tremendous job.”
- Steve Kragthorpe to the Providence Journal

“You always want your leader back with you, and Brian (Brohm) is one of those guys who just knows the game. I kept telling him, ‘You’ve got to come back. You’re not going to leave me now, are you?’ I just kept sending him stuff like that. And then one morning I was home in Georgia and I sent him a text because I really wanted to know. I said, ‘Look man, are you stayin’ or goin?' He got back to me and said he was staying. Man, I was celebrating.”
- Harry Douglas, U of L senior wide receiver to the Hartford Courant

ABOUT PROGRESS BY THE BIG EAST

“If USC and Rutgers had won out (last year), Rutgers would have gone to the Rose Bowl. I mean, to say Rutgers could have been in the Rose Bowl, it was staggering.”
- Mike Tranghese to the Philadelphia Inquirer

“Seriously, think about this again. (Rich) Rodriguez and (Greg) Schiano turned down Alabama and Miami to stay at West Virginia and Rutgers. That’s like a million national championships to none. The signal is that it is about now and not then. And it definitely is about the future, because the past really does not guarantee anything.”
- Dick Jerardi, Philadelphia News

“Big East football does not have the mega stadiums of the Big Ten or the Southeastern Conference. It does not have any team with the tradition of USC or Texas. But it does have one thing. Today, Big East football is better than ACC football. And who saw that three years ago (when Miami, Va. Tech and Boston College defected to the ACC)?”
- Dick Jerardi, Philadelphia News

“I saw it (the Big East) as a flat tire. It clearly got to the point that it was going to have to be changed. And they did change it. They changed it with the acceleration of quality football. Clearly, that’s what this is about. This league is about teams committed to playing championship-caliber football.”
- Brian Kelly, First-year Cincinnati head coach to the Syracuse Post-Standard

“We’re in a better position (than some other conferences). If you win our league, you go to a BCS game. If you look at some of the conference championship games, two things happen: If a team loses and their team is still in a bowl, the fans are discouraged and don’t go. The second is that the ACC Championship has been less than a success. If you talk about the money that’s been lost, at least by the sponsors, it certainly has not turned out to be the windfall that they thought.”
- Robert Mulcahy, Rutgers athletic director to the New York Times

“Who knows? Maybe we’ll be lucky enough to s/files/storyimages/someone to New Orleans this year (for the national title game).”
Mike Tranghese to the New York Times

ABOUT THE BIG EAST AND TELEVISION

“What Rutgers did was really raise the awareness of college football in New York. College football has had a difficult time getting (good ratings) in New York. But if you look at the numbers there, you’re startled by how good they are.” (Rutgers 28-25 win over Louisville on Nov. 9, a Thursday night, had the highest average rating for a college sporting event in the New York market since ESPN began rating them in 2000. ESPN said the next day that the win was viewed in 4,642,000 households nationwide.)
- Mike Tranghese, Big East Commissioner to the Philadelphia Inquirer

(Regarding the Big Ten’s creation of its own TV network): “We’re in the Northeast marketplace. You go to New York and you have the Giants, Yankees, Nets, Islanders and Knicks. With all due respect, you don’t’ have that problem in Bloomington, Ind. … It’s just a different market. Our network is ESPN. It’s managed and operated by ESPN, but it’s serving our purpose.”
- Mike Tranghese to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

“Thursday night has become our version of Monday Night Football, and the Big East certainly bought into that. It offers national exclusivity with full national distribution. The exclusive window is priceless.”
- Mike Gerber, executive VP for college sports at ABC and ESPN to the Providence Journal

AROUND THE LEAGUE

“We’d love to play Boston College. It’s a natural game that would be a sure sellout. But I think there’s still some bad blood between the schools because of B.C. leaving (the Big East) for the ACC. But we have to get over that.”
- Randy Edsall, Connecticut head football coach to the Providence Journal

“Cincinnati doesn’t get it yet. They don’t understand what they have. We have to get the media to understand where we are and the great conference we have. (Note: Not a single media rep attended the Big East media day). If you want to review the movie, you have to go see it. If you want to be a credible source of information, you have to be around. Don’t tell me you don’t have the budget; don’t tell me you are on vacation. You are either in or out as a credible source.”
- Brian Kelly, first-year Cincinnati head football coach to the Providence Journal

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