What Does Hurtt’s Departure Mean For Louisville?
Just when we thought Bobby Petrino had finished putting his staff together, Clint Hurtt departs for the Chicago Bears leaving another spot to fill. Some Cardinal fans don’t fully understand the value of Clint Hurtt and what he meant to Charlie Strong’s staff at Louisville. Look at it this way; despite being slapped with a show-cause penalty he was allowed to remain at UofL, even amidst a coaching regime change. Most would agree that Hurtt’s greatest value was as a recruiter. Hurtt hauled in a #1 rated class while at Miami and earned ESPN’s recruiter of the year in 2011 while helping Louisville to arguably its best class in school history. Hurtt’s strong ties to Miami-Dade County helped Louisville land several recruits from the 305, most notably future 1st round NFL pick Teddy Bridgewater. Due to the show-cause sanction, Hurtt wasn’t able to recruit much for the 2014 class, but figured to be a factor in 2015 when allowed back on the recruiting trail.
What may be vastly overshadowed by his recruiting is Hurtt’s on field coaching ability and his connection with the players who made it to Louisville. Stud defensive end Lorenzo Mauldin took to twitter after Hurtt’s departure with the following to say, “Thank you for teaching me everything I know, I’m not saying bye because you’re not going anywhere, you’re just a phone call away. #Hero.” One would also believe Hurtt played a major role in developing All-American defensive end Marcus Smith.
With Hurtt gone, where does Louisville turn to fill its last coaching vacancy? Will Louisville add another defensive line coach or allow L.D. Scott who is already on staff as outside linebackers coach to move to the role he had at WKU? This move would allow Tony Grantham to have full control of linebackers. If Louisville were to go this route, it could free Tony Grantham of his special team duties and Louisville could then hire a coach for that position. The Cardinals could also use the opening to free defensive coordinator Todd Grantham of his additional duties as safeties coach by hiring someone for that position. Louisville could use the opening to hire another offensive coach, maybe one for the tight-end position.
One option that would be popular among most Louisville fans would be to bring John L. Smith back as the special teams coach. Another route Louisville could take if they wanted to keep someone from Strong’s staff would be to bring back Tommy Restivo as a safeties coach. Restivo did a good job recruiting in Hurtt’s absence and the safety position has been strong during Restivo’s tenure. Where Louisville goes with this hire is anyone’s guess, but one would think whoever it is should be an able recruiter so recruiting isn’t ‘Hurtt’ by Clint’s departure.