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Gold and Black Illustrated Vol28, Digital1

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GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 28, ISSUE 1 16 Louisville had Howard Schnellen- berger. And Greg Brohm. "To me, the shrewdest move How- ard Schnellenberger made was taking Greg," Bozich said. "Greg was, in ret- rospect, good enough to play at Lou- isville but very few people thought he was good enough to play at a high lev- el (initially). By getting Greg, I think that helped them get Jeff. They're very close. They've always been very close." Schnellenberger, the ultimate salesman and big talker, already had a Brohm connection. He was a Flag- et graduate who knew Oscar and al- ready had a reputation for developing quarterbacks. He already had won a national championship, as the head coach at Miami in 1983. He already had won a Super Bowl championship, as an assistant coach on the Dol- phins' undefeated 1972 team, and, thus, had a firm grasp on what it took to prepare a player for the NFL. It didn't hurt that on Jeff's recruit- ing visit, Schnellenberger had the group of other prospects eat dinner at one restaurant while he took Jeff to another, Pat's, the best steakhouse in town. Because, as Schnellenberger said, "I take all my quarterbacks out, but I don't take them out with ordinary people. The quarterbacks get preferen- tial treatment." Jeff certainly felt special. "He sold me on, 'Hey, you can go somewhere else and be a normal guy or you could come here and be a differ- ence-maker.' So I said, 'Hey, let's try to do it here in my backyard. I'll be a difference-maker,' and it paid off for me," Jeff said. "You can go to any school and accomplish what you need to, but it needs to be a fit, and I thought that Louisville fit me and it was beneficial for me." The city was ecstatic to keep a homegrown golden boy in its backyard. And that includes Jeff's childhood friend, Freibert, who often rode to high school with Jeff. Freibert said he'll never forget the particular morning commute when Jeff told him he was going to Louisville. "I was like, 'Are you serious?' Ev- erybody was after him. It was a neat deal. I'm like, 'I won't say a word, man.' But I was so happy," Freibert said. "I grew up a Louisville fan, and I didn't think there was a prayer he was going to Louisville, no matter what Schnellenberger had said. He put a lot of pressure on him. "At the time, Louisville football wasn't what it is today. I shouldn't say I didn't think they had a chance — being at home and his family, I knew all that was important to him. But when every school in the country is after you …" And that decision just may have changed the course of Louisville foot- ball, people familiar with the program said. Schnellenberger worked through lean years in his first several in the program — 2-9, 3-8, 3-7-1 seasons — but when he landed Jeff, that's when the "meteoric rise" started, he said. "We had made progress. (But they were) hard, hard struggles, hard to swallow," Schnellenberger said. "But we had to go through those first three years. Then Jeff was in the next set of players, and it gave us the fire- power, the strength of the team, the depth of the team, when he became part of it. To have his brother to throw to and his daddy to throw to them in the backyard on Sunday and then Jeff as a quarterback, Greg was his brother, Jeff knew him so well, he would just throw the ball to a spot and Greg would amble over there and catch it. "We had some great years there. That brother combi- nation quarterback-to-receiver was highly important in our success." Greg, who had 45 career catches for 722 yards and four TDs, saw the transformation of the program first-hand. He said he had an idea that it was a rebuilding project when he signed on, but he also believed every word The Louisville community so embraced the Brohm family — first Oscar, an all-state high school quarterback at powerhouse Flaget High School before moving onto quarterback U of L, then his son Greg starting the Trinity wave that moved to Jeff and youngest Brian — that the people who were full-throated yelling with every touchdown throw, every catch, every victory may as well have been related.

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