Rick Petri starting his coaching career at Pittsburgh (Kans.) State in 1977 as a graduate assistant.
He coached the offensive line for the 1979 season at Arkansas State. The next season he switched over to the defensive line and has never left that position.
He went on to stops at Mississippi, Louisiana Tech, Miami, South Carolina, and Kentucky, where he coached Falcons third round draft pick Corey Peters. He’s since returned to coach at Miami.
“He’s a real intelligent guy and he’s a good athlete,” said Petri, who also coached first-rounders Warren Sapp, Kenny Holmes and Kenard Lang. “He was a wrestler in high school which helped him to understand leverage and body control and things like that.”
“He came in and played right away and was very confident about doing it,” Petri said.
Peters was an all-SEC selection by the coaches.
“He did his job and performed well and sometimes other people got more publicity,” Petri said. “But if you talked to everyone involved with the University of Kentucky football program he was by far one of our main anchors on the defense. What he did was very critical on the defense.”
Peters has a good relationship with Petri.
“He’s like my mentor,” Peters said. “I still talk to him every day. He’s just a guy that I really respect. I call him and talk to him about anything from techniques to family problems. He helps me out so that’s a guy that I like up to.”
While both have left the UK program, Peters believe UK is headed in the right direction on Joker Philips.
“He’s going to take that program to new heights and keep climbing that ladder in the SEC,” Peters said.
Peters was asked to describe his playing style.
“First and foremost, I just try to do what I’m asked to do,” Peters said. “Not flashy. Not anything like that, but I do play hard. I like to be a very dependable guy and I like to stay where I’m supposed to be.”
He knows the competition will be fierce in training camp, which opens July 29.
“It’s going to be very competitive at that defensive tackle spot,” Falcons defensive line coach Ray Hamilton said. “We have three or four spots and we’ve got five or six guys for those spots. They are going to be working their asses off. If you can play, get out there and show me what you can do.
“It’s always about that. A lot of guys say I can do this and I can do that.
“I don’t want to hear it. I want to see it.”
Got to love coach Hamilton. He must be from the “Show Me” State.