Filled in for Chad Bishop again today at WKU football practice, where we gained a couple bits of newsworthy info.
First, the Daily News has learned that former Arkansas defensive line coach Kevin Peoples has joined new WKU coach Bobby Petrino’s staff.
Deborah Wilkins, WKU’s chief of staff and general counsel, confirmed Tuesday that People is on board.
How can Petrino make hires when his contract doesn’t start until Jan. 1, you ask? Wilkins explained that although new coaches won’t be “officially” hired until the start of the new year, the school pays them retroactively from the day they start.
Because of that, Peoples’ position and salary likely won’t be available until Jan. 1, Wilkins said.
Peoples – dressed in WKU gear – was in the stands Tuesday with Petrino, who watched the Tops’ 10th bowl practice from just outside the Jack and Jackie Harbaugh Club at Houchens-Smith Stadium.
The WKU athletic department said Tuesday that it’s not aware of any official movement with the coaching staff at this time.
Here is Peoples’ bio from Arkansas.
We also learned Tuesday that senior safety Kareem Peterson is likely academically ineligible for the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl on Dec. 26.
“He’s not going to make the game,” interim coach Lance Guidry said. “It comes down to academics. We’ll see, but right now, it doesn’t look like it. The grades aren’t finalized yet, but from what he’s indicating to us, I don’t think he’ll make it.”
Here are full comments Tuesday from Guidry and sophomore receiver Willie McNeal:
Players getting anxious? “Yeah, they’re getting a little anxious. We’ve probably got about three practices left. Today, tomorrow we’ll have a little bit of something special for him. They’ll practice again on Thursday and Friday, and then we’ll have a good walkthrough on Saturday and hit every situation before we get to Detroit.”
Do you want to simmer down their excitement any? “No, we don’t really want to. Just let them do what they’re doing. We’re trying to keep them focused the whole time. Today, we’ll go against each other a lot. They always like competing against each other. They’ve been going at Central Michigan’s offense and defense now, so they’re familiar with what they’ll be up against.”
“There’s so many changes so quick. I think they’re ready to get to Detroit and see what it has to offer.”
How did you try to keep them honed in at Miami (Ohio)? “It was a little different last time. They didn’t name a coach until right before we left. They didn’t know who was going to be their coach, so everything I said, they was going to make sure they did it. This time, they know who their coach is going to be next year. That doesn’t do anything for the seniors, of course, but I think it’s better that it happened early this time. That way we can get it over with and go on to our normal routine.”
How much Central Michigan prep have you done? “We hit it pretty good, but we’ve been giving it in spots. Thursday will be a real big day on them, and so will Friday. We’ll go over really what we’re doing on Saturday with the walkthrough. I’m sure they’ll have some wrinkles, and we’ll have to adjust as we always do.”
You told USA Today you don’t expect to be retained. What’s the reasoning behind that? “Anytime a guy takes over a program, he wants his own guys. He wants guys that he can trust. It’s just part of the business. Same thing happened to us in Miami. We had the largest turnaround in the history of college football, and he didn’t keep one guy. I’m just going with the odds right now.”
Are things calming down now? “We’re settled in, locked in. It’s basically game week.”
Are players getting anxious? “It’s been a long time, so we’re tired of going against each other. It’s kind of like spring football now. We’re very anxious.”
How much have you looked at Central Michigan? “We’ve been looking at them since day one, since we found out that we were playing them.”
Thoughts on the fates of the current coaches? “I wish they were all still here, but as far as that, I can’t really tell you. We’re just focused on Central Michigan right now.”
How much confidence do you have in Guidry running the show? “I’ve got a lot of confidence in coach G because he has a lot of confidence in us. I respect coach G and everything he says.”
Has Guidry been different since he got interim title? “We get to see him more as an offense. It’s fun having coach G around, getting everybody crunk with his little hype moments.”