At The All-American — the marvelous college football section of theathletic.com, a great new sports site worth subscribing to — Stewart Mandel recently listed 15 coaches at Power 5 schools he believes have job security.
Bobby Petrino was among three from the ACC. (Dabo Swinney and David Cutcliffe are the other two. Though after last night’s performance, NC State’s Dave Doeren might be added were Mandel to update this morning.)
The pundit is maybe, probably correct. Given all the turmoil at U of L, given that the school’s troubles have taken permanent residence on ESPN’s screen scrawl, it is most doubtful the BP is going anywhere. Some stability, or at least a sense thereof, is required.
But, after another underwhelming performance in an important game, the question must be asked: When, if ever, will Bobby Petrino Era II live up to expectations? Is that still dumbfounding smackdown of Florida State on Game Day last season it?
That remains the only Cardinal W against a ranked foe during Petrino’s second go round.
The loss to #24 Wolfpack seemed so very familiar.
Lamar Jackson spent the night most always under pressure, looking for receivers who too often couldn’t seem to find their way open.
No running game of consequence. Other than, of course, when LJ improvised. Reggie Bonnafon and Malik Williams, the only Cards to carry the ball, had 10 rushes for 43 yards. The winners gained 153 on the turf.
Jackson was sacked 4 times and hurried officially 5 times. NC State’s D was credited with six TFLs.
Meanwhile, State’s QB made the Cards defense look hapless, posting glossier passing numbers than the reigning Heisman winner. Ryan Finley was 20/31 to a lot of open receivers for 367 yards and a TD. LJ passed for 354 yards and a score, but needed 47 attempts for his 26 connects.
Finley was never sacked — Not Once — and hurried only once.
The Cardinal OL committed 5 False Starts, and seemed to have trouble all evening figuring out the Wolfpack defensive schemes.
Only out of discretion and loyalty to the Cardinals do I refrain from listing all the U of L defenders who missed tackles or who left Wolfpack receivers wide open. I have 13 such miscues in my notes.
Or the times when State grabbed three or four extra yards at the end of a play because U of L didn’t get the guy to the ground. The winners scored two relatively short yardage Red Zone rushing TDs untouched.
So, riddle me this, why are there so very many malfunctions on both sides of the ball in Year 4 of Petrino Era II?
Where is the savant who went 41-9 the first time around before jumping ship?
Where was a crisp two minute drill at the end when Louisville still had a slim shot?
* * * * *
Two positives. (There might be others, but they don’t immediately come to mind the morning after, and so disheartened am I by U of L’s performance, I’m disinclined to cull my notes to find them.)
Jackson’s TD throw to Seth Dawkins for Louisville’s first score was beauteous.
Dez Fitpatrick had 10 catches — 9 before halftime — for 134 yards.
* * * * *
This game confirmed, one guy’s opinion, what I suspected.
Unless the team does the tighten up, three or four more regular season Ls loom.
U of L has a nice, somewhat better than average, Belk Bowl-quality team.
Not a bad thing. But far from what was anticipated with a talented, but now frustrated, transcendent QB, and a new D Coordinator who was heralded as being the Deal.
In the long run, is Bobby Petrino capable of turning the Cardinal football program into a legit, consistent national contender?
What seemed like a school on a collision course to become the next Clemson is now in need of a trip to the shop not for a tuneup but for major repairs.
— Seedy K