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Instant impact

Kragthorpe swiftly made his presence felt at Louisville

Posted: Friday February 2, 2007 12:38PM; Updated: Friday February 2, 2007 2:59PM
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Steve Kragthorpe will bring an innovative offensive mind to Louisville, which already has a reputation for its explosive offense.
Steve Kragthorpe will bring an innovative offensive mind to Louisville, which already has a reputation for its explosive offense.
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He hadn't even accepted the job as Louisville coach, but Steve Kragthorpe was already on the recruiting trail. He was dining with Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich in Oklahoma City to discuss the Cardinals' opening in the wake of Bobby Petrino's sudden departure to the Atlanta Falcons, when Kragthorpe got up from the table and called Brian Brohm on his cell phone.

Technically, the first commitment of the Kragthorpe era was Greg Tomczyk, a three-star, 6-foot-6, 290-pound offensive lineman out of The Hun School in Princeton (N.J.). But the new Louisville coach's first recruit was a junior who was mulling over a decision to bolt for the NFL, a player who could make or break Kragthorpe's first season at the U of L.

The phone conversation was just the first in Kragthorpe's recruiting pitch to get Brohm to return. Their first face-to-face meeting, as you'd expect from a coach and player that love to air it out as much as Kragthorpe and Brohm, was held at an airport. On the Friday after Kragthorpe took over, there was a late-night film session in which Brian, his dad Oscar and brother Greg (both former Cardinals player) broke down Tulsa's high-octane offense with Kragthorpe.

To Brian it was all like a flashback to when schools were vying for his services when he was the USA Today Offensive Player of the Year coming out of Trinity High in Louisville.

"I felt kind of like I was going through the recruiting process again, trying to learn about this new guy's philosophy and how he's going to approach things," Brohm said.

After convincing Brohm to stay for his senior season, Kragthorpe would have plenty of opportunities to polish his sales pitch in a whirlwind first three weeks as Cardinals coach leading into National Signing Day on Wednesday.

Don Bosco Prep (N.J.) QB Matt Simms, the son of New York Giants great Phil Simms, decommitted after Petrino's departure. Surrounding speculation that former Arkansas quarterback Mitch Mustain was Louisville-bound, Kragthorpe released a statement that he would not be pursuing Mustain. On the heels of the announcement, Kragthorpe was able to persuade Simms to re-pledge to Louisville ... with a little help from Florida coach Urban Meyer. Meyer was on the Bosco campus to recruit Simms' teammate Justin Trattou when he told Trattou and Bosco assistants to get word to Simms that Kragthorpe was a coach worthy of playing for.

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