Details emerge from Petrino's motorcycle crash

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Details emerge from Petrino's motorcycle crash

From Comcast SportsNet
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) -- Saying he was disappointed Bobby Petrino failed to tell school officials that he was riding with a 25-year-old woman when he crashed his motorcycle, Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long placed the football coach on paid leave pending a review. "I don't know what I'm going to find," Long said at a news conference Thursday night, hours after a state police report revealed that the married, 51-year-old was riding Sunday with Jessica Dorrell, a former Arkansas volleyball player who now works for the football program. "I am disappointed that coach Petrino did not share with me, when he had the opportunity to, the full extent of the accident and who was involved," Long said. Petrino broke four ribs and cracked a neck vertebra in the crash, which he blamed on the wind and having the sun in his eyes. He was forthcoming with police, but failed to tell school administrators -- or reporters at a news conference on Tuesday -- about his passenger. "My concern was to protect my family and a previous inappropriate relationship from becoming public," Petrino said in a statement released by the school. "In hindsight, I showed a serious mistake in judgment when I chose not to be more specific about those details." Through his agent, Petrino declined further comment Friday. Long set no timetable for his investigation, which could conclude with penalties including suspension or firing for the highly successful coach. "I hope to have a resolution soon," Long said. "I certainly don't have all the answers here tonight, as we meet. But again, I have an obligation and responsibility to obtain the information and then act appropriately on that information." The emerging scandal also could deal a severe blow to the Razorbacks on the field, who Petrino has coached to appearances in the Sugar Bowl (a loss to Ohio State) and the Cotton Bowl (a win over Kansas State) in the last two seasons. Arkansas, which had spring practice scheduled Friday afternoon, is led by a pair of Heisman Trophy hopefuls in quarterback Tyler Wilson and running back Knile Davis. "I will fully cooperate with the university throughout this process and my hope is to repair my relationships with my family, my athletic director, the Razorback Nation and remain the head coach of the Razorbacks," Petrino said. Petrino just completed his fourth season with the Razorbacks, who have developed into a national contender since he was hired away from the Atalanta Falcons during the 2007 season. He's 34-17 at the school, 21-5 over the last two years, and the Hogs finished last season ranked No. 5 after losing only to national champion Alabama and runner-up LSU. He's in the midst of a seven-year contract under which his salary averages 3.53 million. The coach has been criticized in the past for job hopping -- first from Louisville to the Falcons, then for the in-season jump to Arkansas. He infamously met with Auburn officials in 2003 to talk about taking the Tigers' head coaching job while Tommy Tuberville still had it. But Petrino was greeted as a savior by Arkansas fans, and had given them no reason not to trust him. Long said he didn't hear about Dorrell being on the motorcycle until Petrino called him Thursday afternoon, minutes before a police report was released disclosing it. Dorrell, who did not return calls and messages from The Associated Press, does not appear to have been injured in the crash. Dorrell was hired March 28 by Petrino as the student-athlete development coordinator after serving as a fundraiser with the Razorback Foundation. She is in charge of organizing the recruiting process for the football team, including initial eligibility for each incoming player. Long said he had not decided whether to suspend Dorrell. Petrino, who is married with four children, didn't mention he had a passenger during a news conference two days after Sunday's accident, and a school statement that day quoted Petrino's family as saying "no other individuals" were involved. Petrino said then that he had spent Sunday with his wife, Becky, at a lake and was going for an evening ride. His only mention of Dorrell was vague, and without identification. "When I came out of the ditch, there was a lady there that had flagged down a car," Petrino said Tuesday. "The guy that was in the passenger's seat said, Get in, we'll just take you right to the hospital instead of waiting,' and so I got in the car and they headed toward Fayetteville." In Thursday's statement, Petrino apologized and acknowledged that he had kept quiet about Dorrell. "I have been in constant pain, medicated and the circumstances involving the wreck have come out in bits and pieces. That said, I certainly had a concern about Jessica Dorrell's name being revealed," he said. "Today, I've acknowledged this previous inappropriate relationship with my family and those within the athletic department administration." The police report said Petrino was riding with Dorrell when he lost control of his motorcycle. Dorrell said in the report that she wasn't sure what caused the accident, during which Petrino was unable to maneuver a turn and laid the motorcycle down on its left side while sliding off a rural, two-lane road about 20 miles southeast of Fayetteville. Petrino said in the report that wind and sun caused the accident. The police report said Petrino and Dorrell were taken by a passer-by to an intersection in southeast Fayetteville, where a state police officer took Petrino to the hospital. The police report said Dorrell wasn't taken to a hospital, and that she was dropped off at her vehicle, which was parked at the intersection. State police spokesman Bill Sadler said Petrino didn't try to hide Dorrell's part in the accident when questioned. "Coach Petrino was as cooperative as anybody that we could ever hope to encounter following the traffic crash," Sadler said. Petrino, who wasn't wearing a helmet, was hospitalized but had since returned to practice. Assistant head coach and linebackers coach Taver Johnson has been put in charge of the program in Petrino's absence. The former Ohio State assistant coach was hired in January.

Fast Break Morning Update: White Sox, Cubs both drop series openers

Fast Break Morning Update: White Sox, Cubs both drop series openers

Here are some of Monday's top stories in Chicago sports:

Preview: Cubs look to bounce back vs. Giants tonight on CSN

White Sox fall to Diamondbacks in series opener

Cubs can't complete another miracle comeback against Giants bullpen

Should Blackhawks' next assistant coach be Joel Quenneville's choice?

How Bears are using veteran videos to school rookies on NFL way

Luis Robert the latest high-end acquisition for White Sox

For Joe Maddon, Cubs winning World Series came down to Giant comeback in SF and avoiding Johnny Cueto in elimination game

Carlos Rodon 'getting closer' but still without time frame for return

Have the Cubs found their new leadoff hitter in Ben Zobrist?

MMQB's Peter King's thoughts on Trubisky, Howard, White and the Bears offense

Theories on why Cubs haven’t played up to their defensive potential yet

Theories on why Cubs haven’t played up to their defensive potential yet

“That’s what we’re supposed to look like,” Joe Maddon said Monday night after a 6-4 loss where the San Francisco Giants scored the first six runs and Wrigley Field got loudest for the David Ross “Dancing with the Stars” look-in on the big video board, at least until a late flurry from the Cubs.

But for a manager always looking for the silver linings, Maddon could replay Addison Russell’s diving stop to his right and strong throw from deep in the hole at shortstop to take a hit away from Christian Arroyo. Or Albert Almora’s spectacular flying catch near the warning track in center field. Or Anthony Rizzo stealing another hit from Brandon Belt with a diving backhanded play near the first-base line.

The highlight reel became a reminder of how the Cubs won 103 games and the World Series last year – and made you wonder why the 2017 team hasn’t played the same consistently excellent defense with largely the same group of personnel.

“Concentration?” Jason Heyward said, quickly dismissing the theory a defensive decline could boil down to focus or effort. “No shot. No shot. It is what it is when it comes to people asking questions about last year having effects, this and that. But this is a new season.

“The standard is still high. What’s our excuse? We played later than anybody? That may buy you some time, but then what?

“The goals stay the same. We just got to find new ways to do it when you have a different team.”

FiveThirtyEight.com, Nate Silver’s statistical website, framed the question this way after the Cubs allowed the lowest batting average on balls in play ever last season, an analysis that goes all the way back to 1871: “Have the Cubs Forgotten How to Field?”

Even if the Cubs don’t set records and make history, they should still be better than 23rd in the majors in defensive efficiency, with 37 errors through 43 games. The Cubs have already allowed 28 unearned runs after giving up 45 all last season.

“We just got to stay on it and keep focusing and not let the miscues go to our head,” Ben Zobrist said. “We just have to keep working hard and staying focused in the field. A lot of that’s the rhythm of the game. I blame a lot of that on the early parts of the season and the weather and a lot of difficult things that we’ve been going through.

“If we’re not hitting the ball well, too, we’re a young team still, and you can carry that into the field. You don’t want to let that happen, but it’s part of the game. You got to learn to move beyond miscues and just focus on the next play.”

Heyward, a four-time Gold Glove winner, missed two weeks with a sprained right finger and has already started nine times in center field (after doing that 21 times all last season). Zobrist has morphed back into a super-utility guy, starting 16 games at second base and 15 in two different outfield spots.

[MORE CUBS: Have the Cubs found their new leadoff hitter in Ben Zobrist?]

Maddon has tried to drill the idea of making the routine play into Javier Baez’s head, so that the uber-talented second baseman can allow his natural athleticism and instincts to take over during those dazzling moments.

The Cubs are basically hoping Kyle Schwarber keeps the ball in front of him in left and setting the bar at: Don’t crash into your center fielder. Like Schwarber and Almora, catcher Willson Contreras hasn’t played a full season in The Show yet, and the Cubs are now hoping rookie Ian Happ can become a Zobrist-type defender all over the field.

“I’m seeing our guys playing in a lot of different places,” Heyward said. “It’s not just been penciling in every day who’s going to center field or right field or left field. We did shake things up some last year, but we did it kind of later in the season. We had guys settle in, playing every day. This year, I feel like we’re having guys in different spots.

“It’s May whatever, (but) it seems like we haven’t really had a chance to settle in yet. Not that we’re procrastinating by any means, but it’s just been a lot of moving pieces.”

The Giants won World Series titles in 2010, 2012 and 2014 with a formula that incorporated lights-out pitching, airtight defense and just enough clutch hitting. The Cubs are now a 22-21 team trying to figure it out again.

“Defense comes and goes, just like pitching,” said Kris Bryant, the reigning National League MVP, in part, because of his defensive versatility. “I feel like if you look at last year, it’s kind of hard to compare, just because it was so good. We spoiled everybody last year. Now we’re a complete letdown this year.”

Bryant paused and said: “Just kidding. Different years, things regress, things progress, and that’s just how it goes sometimes.”