It’s not just locally that fans and pundits alike are taking note of the sordid state of U of L football.
Here’s the designation Stewart Mandel at theathletic.com bestowed on the Cardinal head coach:
This week’s coach on the hot seat
Louisville’s Bobby Petrino. Things are quickly deteriorating for Louisville. After a 27-3 drubbing at Virginia, the 2-2 Cardinals are tied for 123rd nationally in scoring offense (17.0 ppg). Petrino was already facing questions before the season about a staff that includes his son, two sons-in-law and retread Brian VanGorder as his latest defensive coordinator. The inept start isn’t helping.
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Wasn’t Petrino once considered “the next offensive savant”?
Correct answer: Yes. But that seems long ago, far away these dark days.
Well his Cards have scored, count ’em, three offensive points — 3 — in the first half this season. Those came in the waning moments against WKU. They went ofer the opening half against Bama and UVa. And scored on Rodjay Burns pick — on blown coverage it turns out — against Indiana State.
Ouch x 2. Continue reading Red & Black Rants & Raves: 9/24
In the run up to the season opener against Alabama, one of the nation’s football pundits — I forget both his name and the website — signaled an SOS to the L1C4 Nation.
Such is the nature of Nick Saban’s season opening smackdown success at neutral sites, and how it tends to decimate the vanquished beyond the final horn, the Cards needed to be careful that the Crimson Tide not only battered the Cardinals in the game — a given really — but that the loss wouldn’t continue to conquer U of L the rest of the way.
In the wake of two seriously underwhelming performances against Indiana State and Western Kentucky, exclamation pointed by Saturday’s disturbing and deplorable laydown against UVa, one has to wonder whether that pre-Tide warning wasn’t spot on.
So, that’s one conceivable explanation, if certainly no excuse, for U of L’s desultorily poor touchdown-free performance in Charlottesville.
Then there’s this more reasonable interpretation of the Cards’ horrible display Saturday. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Virginia
For those nagging nabobs of negativitude who have been inspecting the results of my predictions and have been kind enough to inquire, the answer is “No, I’m not inclined to change the title of this weekly endeavor.”
Sweet of you to ask.
Yet, I must admit, last weekend, I suffered my second under .500 slate of the season.
Auburn couldn’t hold on at home against emerging LSU. TCU learned that Ohio State is pretty good on the gridiron, even if the Buckeye head man, now off suspension, is less than sympathetic when it comes to spouse abuse if it might impact his team’s fortunes.
And Oklahoma State, victor over Boise State, now that it no longer pays for the services of a defensive strategist with the initials BVG, actually shows some mettle stopping it’s foes when they have the ball, making the Cowboys both an outlier and title contender in the Big 12.
Kentucky and Louisville both won payday games, the latter barely.
2-3 for the weekend makes it 8-7 for the season.
I forge ahead. This week’s winners: Continue reading Seedy K’s Peerless Pigskin Prognostications: Week IV
Among those who considered what the Louisville Cardinal offense might be like in the post-Lamar era, there was a significant contingent — myself included — who were sure there would be more balance, less reliance on one player more Petrino 1.0.
Attendant with that line of thinking was a belief that Bobby Petrino would be more comfortable with a traditional QB — heir apparent Puma Pass — whose inclination is to stay in the pocket and leave the rushing for the most part to the running backs.
While U of L was pummeled by Alabama in the opener, Pass, who but for fortune might have been the Roll Tide QB replaced by phenom Tua Tagovailoa, looked like the future for the Cards. He was eerily calm in the pocket despite unrelenting pressure from the Tide, completing 50% of his throws, and generally comporting himself admirably in his first start on national TV against what’s proving might be the scariest pigskin juggernaut in memory.
Fast forward. Here are the signal caller’s numbers of note from the Cardinals’ escape against the Hilltoppers. Ten completions in 18 attempts for 88 yards. A team leading 21 rushing attempts for 129 net yards.
Not Puma Pass. And not exactly LJ, but certainly reminiscent. Contrary to what we pundits might have believed, contrary to what Bobby Petrino was planning, things look just the same as they ever was on O.
Malik Cunningham, come on down and play. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Western Kentucky
At some point during the five hour forty three minute slushy slog that was Louisville’s drenched 31-7 victory over Indiana State at renovated Cardinal Stadium, it came to me.
It being how to distill all of the evening’s bizarro twists and turns into a single word.
It is from the Mad Magazine of my youth. When the editors of that ‘zine, who used it often, were once asked by a reader to give a meaning, they replied, “It means the same as potrzebie.”
Just how furshlugginer was it? Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Indiana State
That header got your attention, right?
Truth is I have no copy of a check made out to Brian Bowen’s dad with Pitino’s verified fingerprints on it, nor a tape of the former U of L coach cutting a deal with an Adidas shoe rep over the phone.
Stick with me anyway. Because it really doesn’t matter what Rick Pitino knew or not, it’s what he chose not to do.
As has become the nature of our national dialog these days, there are two oppositional positions about the coach for whom the starmaker machinery is cranked to 11 this week to promote his latest book.
There is a faction who believe that Pitino knew nothing about the strippers in the dorm, knew nothing about the promise of money to Bowen’s father, was the innocent victim of an extortion attempt after an extramarital affair, and was shafted by the university when he was dismissed as coach.
Then there are those who believe it doesn’t really matter what Pitino actually knew, that the Bowen scandal was merely a called third strike, that the coach should have been terminated when he admitted having sex with a woman not his wife, on a banquette in a restaurant no less.
Count me firmly in the second grouping.
As a Louisville Cardinal basketball fan for six and a half decades, I simply need to vent one last time and move on. Actually, I would have kept my mouth shut but for two reasons. Continue reading What Rick Pitino Knew, And When He Knew It
One last look back at the remnants of the devastation that was U of L’s loss to Alabama in the opener.
As I’ve written in blog comments somewhere since the game, I am disappointed but not disconsolate.
Alabama did what Alabama does. The Tide rolled. They are an incredible football team, and getting steamrolled by them seemed about right frankly.
Which is to say most of the flaws present in U of L’s performance — one guy’s opinion — can be blamed on the Tide’s prowess, and the Cards understandable nervousness and lack of comparable ability playing such a perennial power.
So, I’m willing to wait and see if some of the many gaffes on display Saturday don’t dissipate in coming weeks against less formidable opponents.
But there are three things — perhaps more — I truly don’t understand, which have nothing to do with the reality that Bama was faster, more talented and a far better team. Continue reading Red & Black Rants & Raves: 9/03
If there’s any doubt — and there really shouldn’t be — in addition to all his technical coaching prowess, his ability to recruit, his intensity, that Nick Saban also desires to dominate, impose his will, that doubt was dispelled last night in Orlando.
Before the kickoff.
The Alabama coach, a master of details, is obviously aware of Bobby Petrino’s habit of always wanting the ball first, going against convention by choosing to receive when he wins the toss.
So Saban, as mean a competitor as Bill Belichick if not quite as reviled, went et tu brute when the Tide won the toss, not deferring, receiving the kickoff and sending his O on the field.
As if to admonish the Louisville sideline: Anything you can do, we can do better.
Which they did. Starting with a no muss, no fuss, no problem seven play, 65 yard drive in 3:05 for Roll Tide’s first of many TDs on the evening. During that opening offensive clinic, future Heisman winner Tua Tagovailoa connected on all four of his passes for 60 yards.
At the end of the opening half, Saban again proved his willingness to stomp his heel on an opponents throat as an exclamation point. Continue reading Louisville CardFile: Alabama
Chris Mack, bless his heart, is a man of his word.
At his introductory press conference, he immediately endeared himself to the crowd. Though not as much as his toddler who won over everyone while scampering about hither and yon.
Mack reached out to the former Cardinals that fans have loved through the decades, welcoming them back from exile to again become integral parts of the program.
Which sounded great, but was it just lip service?
Thankfully, the answer to that is a resounding NO. He means it.
I had dinner the other night with some pals from our days matriculating at Belknap Campus. Including Mike Grosso.
I asked the former Cardinal big man if Mack had followed up on his promise.
Indeed he has, I’m pleased to report. Continue reading U of L CardFile: Mack keeps Promise, Schedule Conflict +++
Let’s start with The Truth.
The University of Louisville Cardinals football schedule in this transition season is not exactly a recipe for grannie’s beloved chocolate banana meringue pie.
The opener is on the road against consensus preseason #1 Roll Tide, defending CFP champs and in the argument for crafting the most dominant run of campaigns in the sport . . . ever. Not to mention that ‘Bama’s coach is among the handful in the argument as best . . . ever.
The Cards also face conference rival, preseason #2 Clemson on the road. The Tigers feature a front defensive four, heralded as the best DL . . . ever. Did I mention the game is in Death Valley?
U of L’s league slate includes a crossover battle with the nation’s hardest team to prepare for, Georgia Tech. Plus meet and greets with consensus preseason Top 25 Florida State, BC, NC State, Wake Forest and Syracuse. All are members of the ACC Atlantic, dubbed by The World Wide Leader as the 3d toughest division in college pigskin this year, behind SEC W, and B10 E.
Plus this reality: Bobby Petrino 2.2 commences, at least one guy’s opinion, with the most critical campaign of either of the mentor’s reigns as Cardinal coach. I sense he’s feeling a bit of pressure, if not exactly on a hot seat. Continue reading Critical Year for U of L Cards, Part II: Questions, Answers, Reality