I'll confess to not having paid Jeff Long a whole lot of attention until Bobby "Leader of the Pack" Petrino's motorcycle ride. To the extent that I thought about him, he registered as kind of a bland, corporate type, seemingly not too remarkable one way or another. Turns out, he's pretty damn remarkable.
I could never entirely decide how I felt about the Petrino situation, but when tonight's press conference was over, I backed Long's decision 100 percent (actually, since this is a sports blog, make it 110 percent). The athletic director responded to this situation with admirable swiftness, forthrightness and sobriety of mind, conducting two evening press conferences in six days and not putting possibly the greatest coach in Razorback football history above university policy and notions of acceptable workplace conduct.
This has been an utterly depressing week to be a Razorback fan. Most of all, I feel really bad for Petrino's family and Jessica Dorrell's fiance. I feel bad for the assistant coaches and players as well. I hope Dorrell is able to rebuild her life. As for Bobby ... well, it's hard to feel too much sympathy for a guy who treats those around him so abrasively. I don't wish him ill - and I think a lot of the criticisms from his past are overheated - but, all in all, I'm glad he's gone.
And, more than ever, I'm glad that Jeff Long is our athletic director.
Let the coaching search begin.
P.S. - I just saw Bill Parcells at the Fayetteville airport.