Steve Kragthorpe was plowing ahead. It was the first week of April and LSU's new offensive coordinator was jacked over what he had inherited.
Athletes, talent, speed.
"I can't wait," he said.
Kragthorpe had motioned me into his office while he was working on the 2011 playbook. He was energized. He was back in the game after resigning in 2010 at Texas A&M due to complications regarding his wife Cynthia's multiple sclerosis.
The MS was being treated, he explained, but Cynthia also needed heart surgery. In essence, they couldn't go on treating the MS with the proper medicine until the heart condition was rectified. I inquired about doing a more in-depth story on his year out of the game, his family and Cynthia but the coach politely declined.
I understood. Some things are too private. Krags was looking ahead. This was by far the best offensive present he had ever opened. The former Tulsa and Louisville coach had his ups and down but the man could always call plays.
His job was to fix Jordan Jefferson, LSU's quarterback who had become a lightning rod figure in the program. Krags was confident he could do it. That confidence is a big reason why the Tigers debuted at No. 4 in the preseason coach's poll.
It was devastating, then, that about an hour after that poll was released Thursday it was announced that Kragthorpe would relinquish those OC duties because he had developed Parkinson's disease. He will stay as quarterbacks coach but assistant Greg Studrawa will take over as coordinator.
I hope would that most folks first thoughts are about Kragthorpe, Cynthia and their children. They have been dealt the rawest of deals. Life isn't fair especially when it always seems that bad things happen to good people.
Kragthorpe had seemingly gotten through to Jefferson. The quarterback had begun to speak up, become a leader. He was taking instruction and, judging from his spring play, getting better.
"He's almost a little bit shy," Kragthorpe told me in April. "When you first meet him, you're wondering, 'Does this guy have his paws up, kind of feeling you back? He's just shy. He's not that way around his teammates. I think he's got a chance to be a good player."
The best tribute to Kragthorpe's abilities would be for Jefferson to have a monster year. The move means that the coach will be having even more one-on-one time with the quarterback.
The best thing we can do for Kragthorpe and his family is pray. They deserve our sympathies and our love. No one deserves their current situation.