Originally written on Crystal Ball Run  |  Last updated 10/24/14
We all knew this was coming, right? At some point former Arkansas coach was going to sit down and bear his soul in an Oprah-on-the-couch type interview. He was going to talk about how apologetic he was, and how disappointed he was in himself that he hurt his family. He was going to talk about how everything that happened in the past six months- his affair, his firing, his familial troubles since- have put into perspective what’s really important in life.

Again, we just knew it was coming, even if no one was exactly sure when.

Well, that “when” was today, and the Oprah’s couch in this case was a four-minute sit down with ESPN’s Joe Schad that aired on ESPN. In it, Petrino basically reiterated everything that was said in the opening paragraph above, without sharing any real new insight. He’s sorry. He’s apologetic. He can’t believe he did this to his family. Of course the particulars that we as fans did want details- mainly why he made the decisions that he did- were mostly glossed over. As for what he did say, here are a few snippets, with the quotes provided by ArkansasSports360.com:

On why his affair with Arkansas football staff member Jessica Dorrell started in the first place:

"There is no justification. There is no excuse for having her in the interview pool, hiring her, having her on the back of the motorcycle. When I look back on it there is no good answer. All I know is that I wasn't thinking and I wasn't acting correctly.”

On why he hired Dorrell in the first place:

"There is no justification. There is no excuse for having her in the interview pool, hiring her, having her on the back of the motorcycle. When I look back on it there is no good answer. All I know is that I wasn't thinking and I wasn't acting correctly.”

On how Bobby Petrino is different now than he was five months ago:

“I have a better understanding of what life really is about. You keep your priorities straight you put your energy into the people that love you [breaking down] count on you. I'm working hard to save my marriage I'm working one day at a time. I want to stay married. That's mainly my main priorities, making things right with my family."

Again, all of this is mostly white noise. At the end of the day, if you were expecting Petrino to open his heart and bare his soul just because he’s been away from football for a few months, well, you clearly don’t know Petrino all that well.

As a matter of fact, it’s that exact point- the empathy that has come from this situation- provided the most interesting sound-bite of the entire interview. When Petrino was asked what his “biggest weakness as a person” was, he spoke for a few sentences, before adding this little nugget:

"I now know that I’m going to coach the person as much as the player and help the person when he has made mistakes and help him understand that he’s not going to be defined by the mistakes he’s made and how he reacts to it and overcomes it."

Look, at the end of the day none of know, and few of us care if Bobby Petrino is a changed man. It’s not for us to decide as moral arbiters, and even if it were, it would be impossible to justify anyway. On the opposite end, what we as fans of college football do want to know is if Petrino will coach again, and if so, how he will be different. That quote hit that exact nail on the head.

And to me, what happens on the field will be the true barometer of whether or not Bobby Petrino is a changed man or not.

The truth is if you ask most people who have ever been around Petrino in a football sense (and I’ve talked to several), most will tell you that the guy is simply not a very nice person. That he doesn’t treat people the right way. That he’s not fun to be around. That doesn’t make him different than a lot of uber-successful coaches, but that doesn’t make it right none the less.

At the same time, it’s that exact attitude which represents why Petrino has had success at virtually every stop he’s been at; in essence because nothing has ever been bigger or more important than football. You’re either good enough, or you’re not. You’re either getting the job done or he’s going to find someone who will. In his own words, Petrino has never “coached the person as much as the player.” If Petrino really is a different man, than the results will show up not in what he says in a pre-planned interview, but in how he treats people.

If Bobby Petrino really is a changed man, we will eventually find out. It just won't come until he puts a whistle on his neck, and steps back on the field.

For all his insight, opinion and analysis on college football and beyond, be sure to follow Aaron on Twitter @Aaron_Torres.
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