Football notebook: ‘Mercenary’ Guidry bridging gap between Taggart, Petrino

WKU players and defensive coordinator Lance Guidry celebrate after Kiante Young’s interception in the fourth quarter of WKU’s 41-18 win over Troy.

Lucas Aulbach

Bobby Petrino is the talk of Bowling Green, but right now Lance Guidry is WKU’s coach.

Guidry has served as defensive coordinator for the Toppers for the past two seasons and was named WKU’s interim coach after former coach Willie Taggart left to take the same position at South Florida last Friday.

Petrino, who was at Wednesday’s practice, agreed to become WKU’s next coach Monday but will not take over until after the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl. The Toppers are under Guidry’s direction until then.

They are in good hands if Guidry’s bowl record says anything. The coach won the 2011 Bowl as interim coach of Miami (Ohio) before he was hired by WKU in the following offseason.

Guidry said he’s getting used to the interim role.

“I feel just like a closer, a mercenary guy, just coming at the end,” he said at practice Wednesday. “I might start my own business, just be an interim head coach, wait until coaches leave and people just hire me in and I come in and close the deal.”

Senior defensive end Jamarcus Allen has been coached by Guidry for the past two seasons.

He said players expect a high-energy, fast practice under the coach.

“Coach ‘G’, he always brings the juice, excitement — it’s just a different type of practice than what we had before, which is good,” Allen said.

His time coaching WKU this postseason may help him out down the line. While Guidry said his biggest goal as interim coach is to lead his players to a win, it might help him get a head-coaching job in the future.

His time as an interim coach at Miami is what got him noticed by WKU, he said.

“It did get me this job,” Guidry said. “Coach Taggart saw the bowl game when I was at Miami of Ohio, he heard the pregame speech and he said, ‘I want that guy right now. He’s got a lot of juice.’”

Guidry said one of his biggest concerns right now is keeping his team, which lost its coach and hired a new one over the course of a weekend, focused on the upcoming bowl game.

“It happened so quick,” he said. “They’ve been on a little bit of a rollercoaster, but I’m glad that it did happen early and a not a little bit later on because their attention would be off for the bowl game.”

Now at the helm, Guidry has two weeks to prepare the Toppers for their upcoming Dec. 26 date with Central Michigan.

Toppers thinking about postseason despite coaching developments

Taggart may be gone, but some of his policies have stuck around at WKU.

The Toppers followed coach Taggart’s ’24-hour rule’ this season, where they were supposed to stop thinking about the outcome of a game and start preparing for the next one after 24 hours.

They’ve taken that rule and applied it to WKU’s coaching situation. Junior safety Kiante Young said while the Toppers are excited about WKU hiring Petrino, they were back to thinking about the upcoming Little Caesars Bowl 24 hours later.

“I’m happy for the future. Look at his resume, (Petrino)’s a good guy,” Young said Wednesday. “But right now we’re focused on the bowl, coach Guidry’s my coach right now. We’re just working to get the bowl win.”

Senior tight end Jack Doyle said Guidry convinced him that it’s good the coaching search ended almost as quickly as it began.

“It’s kind of good this all got out of the way,” Doyle said. “Now we can just go off and reel off a bunch of practices in a row and we’ll be all right.”

Allen, another senior, said the coaching search hasn’t distracted the Toppers as they prepare for their first FBS bowl.

“It hasn’t affected us,” Allen said. “We’re just coming out here and trying to practice and get focused back on Central Michigan and get this win.”

Andrews, Smith named All-Americans

Two big-name Toppers represented WKU in the All-American roster presented by Wednesday.

Junior running back Antonio Andrews was named to the second team as an all-purpose performer and honorable mention running back while senior defensive end Quanterus Smith was given an honorable mention at his position.

Andrews and Smith were the offensive and defensive catalysts for WKU this season.

Andrews collected an NCAA-best 2,977 all-purpose yards this year and rushed for a total of 1,609 yards, good for No. 6 in the nation.

Smith also had a breakout season. In 10 games, he recorded 12.5 sacks, including five against Florida International in Oct., and ranked No. 1 in the country in sacks per game with 1.25. His season ended in Nov. against Louisiana-Lafayette, however, when he suffered an ACL tear.

Smith and Andrews were joined by ULL kicker Brett Baer as the only Sun Belt Conference players named to the list.