Coach Mack’s Media Day Presser: The NKOTB

Johnny come lately/ The new kid in town/ Everybody loves you/ So don’t let them down

You’ve read the transcript of Chris Mack’s Media Day Q&A — maybe — viewed the videocast — possibly — and/or are ready for a subjective, conceivably incorrect take from somebody who’s been obsessed with Cardinal hoops for oh so long.

Even if I’m ever inclined to toss out a rock & roll lyric absolutely appropriate.

Or, you’re bored at work, and said, “OK, self, I’ve got a few minutes to kill before my next Zoom call.”

So, yeah, I started with the Eagles lyric because . . .

. . . fostered by a query early in the packed live-and-in-person proceeding, U of L’s head coach was asked about balancing with his own, the hurry up schemes of new hire, “offensive savant” Ross McMains.

References to the first year assistant popped up throughout the session. Whether the questions were specifically about how the Cards will play O during the upcoming campaign or not.

Mack used the term “great” several times, when discussing McMains presence and input. “He’s done a terrific job.”

Head coaches have egos, a necessity to sit in the first chair. So, Mack understandingly was reluctant to call what’s happening — Evolution? Revolution? — a total makeover. More like a merger between old and new.

But, in a not so veiled indication that the offense will indeed look significantly different, Mack offered “I hope I have the humility to deal with it.” Which may be a paraphrase, but pretty close.

When asked, Mack wasn’t inclined to designate McMains as “Offensive Coordinator,” saying that wouldn’t be totally accurate. The coach pointed out that it was a collaborative effort, and that McMains, who has been coaching pros, most of whom are older with more maturity than a college squad, has a learning curve himself. Adjusting to the college game, that is.

Among the acclimatizations the players need to make are some basic fundamental techniques. Mack mentioned “strong foot pivoting.” (Do not ask me, explaining that is above my pay grade. I’m just a pundit/ fan.) He also talked of different concepts of “ball screen coverage.”

Here’s the bottom line, which I discern from Mack’s Monday comments, as well as watching Saturday’s scrimmage.

Ross McMains presence and influence are significant. Sea change is the descriptor that comes to mind. The U of L Cardinals are going to attempt to execute their offense at a noticeably faster pace than during previous campaigns during the Chris Mack era.

Mack indicated it will mean more substitutions, players on the court for shorter stints. “Four, five, six minutes.” Which the Cards can do because they are deeper this season, with less drop off in quality.

Then Coach mentioned McMains again, “Ross is convinced the cumulative effect.” (Again, a paraphrase.)

It should be exciting. As well as exasperating early on.

Especially with Mack on leave by presidential edict for the month of November. Including two tilts in the Bahamas against Mississippi State, and Maryland or Richmond.

Which elephant in the room was briefly discussed, along the with hippopotamus in the corner — NCAA sanctions — about which Mack had “No Comment.”

Mack, who said he can have no contact with the team at all during that period, was asked what he intended to do during that time?

Welcome to the world of Stay Home Dad.

“I don’t know what it’ll be like, I’ve never experienced it. I have no idea what it’s going to be like. I don’t think I can do a whole lot. You can’t do anything. I’ll take my kids to school, and sit and wait till I pick them up.”

He used the term “on pins and needles” to describe what he’s feeling about not being courtside on November 9.

These days, in the world of Louisville Cardinal hoops, it’s always something.

The upcoming season is going to be fascinating.

— c d kaplan



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