GAMEDAY: The rain stopped, but will clouds remain over Cardinal Stadium

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There are a lot of good vibes circulating thru the Cardinal faithful after an unbelievable night down at 4th Street Live. I would like to see some of that mojo passed along to the Louisville Football team on Saturday afternoon. It seems like it has rained for weeks but the skies have finally cleared. There is still a cloud of doubt looming over Cardinal Stadium.

Coach Petrino said in his weekly press conference: ”we went back and watched the Alabama game and we played harder and faster versus Alabama than we did at Virginia.”
I think they played harder and faster in that Alabama game than in any game they ’ve played this season. This Louisville Football team landed in Orlando world Beaters and I think it was too much too fast for the Psych of this young and rather inexperienced group.

I think this Coaching staff believed and I think this team believed in themselves. I’d never seen a more confident group in my six years doing Media Day. Taking the loss the way they did to Alabama not only derailed this team it also derailed this coaching staff. This is one of those times when playing a Goliath right out of the gate backfired.

This team would have benefited from opening up against an FCS program like Indiana State. This team needed to ease their way into the season but they were thrust head-on into a steamroller. I’m not making excuses for them. I really believe this. Bama broke us… The question now is what is the coaching staff going to do to fix us. Can they fix it?

The Cardinals have also had their fair share of bad luck with key guys going down with injuries on both sides of the ball. Three of the best defensive players have missed time. And the running backs have been banged up. Just when Dae Wiliams started to show glimpses of being that dominant player everyone was clamoring over at Spring practice a few years ago he suffered a deep thigh bruise. Another set back for a guy who has had a few of them.

There are reports of a coming to Jesus moment this week in preparation for Florida State. Coach Summers believes his O-Line has figured things out again, and there was word of a team meeting. I think it’s important for this team to get their mind right but they’ll also have to figure out how to score with just 17 points in the two losses. The Louisville defense hasn’t been great but they haven’t been horrible all things considered. If the offense could give them a little run support who knows.

Florida State’s season has gone pretty much the same way. They have had key injuries on both sides of the ball. Their offensive line has really suffered. And it shows in the win/loss column. The Seminoles’ two losses have come against good team defense in Syracuse and Virginia Tech, which might explain why they only put up 10 points between the pair of outings.

There are so many resources in Tallahassee and they have a young guy in Willie Taggart who is going to figure it out pretty quick. I just hope it’s another few weeks before he does. I look for him to use those tight end sets and try to pound the ball against a banged up Louisville Defensive front. Cam Akers led the rush attack last week for them with 22 carries for 64 yards and a TD. We might get Robert Hicks and Dorian Ethridge back. But will they be 100%?

Who knows what the Louisville offense will look like on Saturday. The weather in Louisville has been more consistent than Coach Petrino’s playbook. If things start to go south we could see all 3 Louisville QB’s. I wouldn’t mind seeing Jordan Travis get a shot if Puma doesn’t find his groove. Who knows when we will ever see the Louisville receivers show up again. I think those Bama DB’s pulled some mortal combat shit and stole their souls.

I’m ready to rally around the Louisville Football team. I’ve been ready to rally around them. They have to throw us a bone on Saturday. A fan base usually has a pretty weak Psyche as well. I don’t know how much more Louisville Football fans can take. Lose this game and things could officially go off the rails. But come out and beat a quality program in FSU and it could be just what the Dr. Ordered to get this team back on track.

Louisville tradition thrives at 4th Street Live



I just got home from the Louisville Basketball event at 4th Street Live. I can tell you after being in the middle of an estimated 7000 screaming Cardinal fans that Louisville Basketball is still very much alive.

I had my 6-year-old son with me tonight. In his six years on this earth, we have celebrated some great milestones at 4th Street Live. Together we’ve not only had our own tradition thrive there but have also watched the University of Louisville athletic program thrive.

The ACC Celebration, the 2013 National Championship celebration and six years ago the Final Four celebration. My son had just been born and I had him in a frenzy of Cardinal fans that day. I had never seen Louisville Basketball more alive. Seven months ago I thought it would be a long time before I’d ever see it that alive again.

Enter a young, hungry and passionate coach from Cincinnati Ohio. A guy with a blue-collar work ethic and a heart to match. So much of what I do is for my son. I want to leave that legacy and pass on my passion for Louisville Sports and the tradition of it all. I believe much of what Chris Mack does is for his family. And all that adds up to one special Coach.

Louisville Celebrations down at 4th Street Live are kind of a tradition for me and my son now. Again tonight I had him in a frenzy of Louisville fans down there. I felt that excitement in the air. I haven’t seen this much or felt this much excitement in a long time.

Coach Mack immediately embraced the tradition of Louisville Basketball and he has revived the spirit of Louisville Basketball. I hope he understands what that means to folks around here. I hope he knows what that means to me. Tonight I felt that passion for Louisville Basketball again. It felt very much like that day back in April of 2012. The Sports tradition I share with my son thrives and the Tradition of Louisville Basketball will continue to thrive.

It was a great night at the Louisville Live event. I think we ushered in what will be an exciting time for the Basketball program. Kudos to the Sports Marketing folks for putting this thing together. I can only imagine how much bigger it will be next time.

Go Cards!


Me and my family at the Final Four Celebration in 2012


Me and My main man tonight at Louisville Live

GameDay… Next man Up.


Next man up has kinda been the theme of this young football season for our Louisville Cardinals. Guys stepping up on the offense and defensive side of the ball when called on. You might feel like this Louisville team is struggling and in some aspects they are. But the young guys on this football team are flourishing.

With 129 yards rushing in the last game Malik Cunningham had one of the highest single-game rushing totals ever by a Louisville QB. In his first career start at linebacker, Robert Hicks led the Cardinals in tackles with 11 against WKU. He is the first Cardinal to do that since Dorian Ethridge last season. While freshman defensive end Jarrett Jackson had three tackles and the game-winning sack. He showed a lot of promise for a second straight week.

When these young Cardinals ran off the field last Saturday night they carried a lot of enthusiasm into the locker room. Even tho it was only a win over Western Kentucky they appeared to have some of that swagger back I had seen glimpses of on the field in Orlando. It’s going to take another big effort from these young guys on Saturday afternoon in Charlottesville.

The Cardinals open up their 5th season against a Virginia team that is currently 2-1 as well, with a loss to Indiana 20-16 sandwiched in between wins over Richmond 42-13 and Ohio 45-31. In that Ohio game, Virginia QB Bryce Perkins had a solid outing with 379 yards and three scores, while Jordan Ellis posted three more scores and 171 yards on the ground. Olamide Zaccheaus went off for 247 yards and two TDs to lead the Cavs in receiving.

The Virginia offense has another dimension to it this season with the ability of Perkins to make plays with his legs. But make no mistake about it this guy can also do some damage with his arm. Louisville 85th in total defense, 94th in rushing defense and 56th in passing defense will have a special challenge ahead of them in week four. They need to be aggressive enough to keep this offense in front of them but not be too aggressive overrunning their coverage. If Louisville can keep Perkins in check on the ground, and CBs Rodjay Burns and P.J. Mbanasor both very fast and talented can keep this defense from getting beat on the outside I really like our chances. Virginia is 13th nationally in converting third downs. The Louisville defense has to get off the field on Saturday.

The mobile QB has been the Virginia Defense Kryptonite. And with a steady dose of Cunningham and Dae Williams I think this Louisville team will find the end zone a few times. And I’d like to see our WR’s come to life this week as I think they could pose a real challenge for the Virginia secondary. Virginia Coach Bronco Mendenhall said after their game against Ohio last week: “Our secondary is not playing consistently, but Bryce [Hall] and Darrius Bratton are,” “Our safety play is inconsistent. Our corner play is actually consistent.” If Cunningham and Williams can establish the run and force the Virginia secondary up into tight coverage I really like our chances of beating them with the deep ball. Dez Fitzpatrick, Seth Dawkins, sand Jaylen Smith can sure talk a mean game. Now its time to play one.

I’m really hoping to see an inspired team performance on Saturday afternoon. With conference play getting started its gut check time for both the veterans and rookies on this Louisville football team. If they answer the call in the conference opener it could give them some great momentum moving forward. If not it could be a long season. Can’t wait for another exciting day of College football. L’s Up and go cards…

Out with the old, In with the new, and a little Déjà vu


Coach Petrino said after the game last night: “We didn’t play well at all. But the one thing that helped us at halftime is that we had some guys with good attitudes and they worked hard and found a way to win.”

You can be negative about the coaching and it’s ok to be upset that things appear to be in some disarray with Louisville Football. Just remember that there are young men busting their ass every day and who busted their ass last night to make sure the Cardinals didn’t lose this game against WKU.

I’m not happy things aren’t working out like we had all expected them to all offseason. I had very high hopes for this team and for this season. There are no more excuses and some of the things this team did last night are not what we have been used to. As fans, it’s time to put our big boy/girl pants on and support the players on this team who are trying their best under some obvious disarray.

If not for the guys in the locker room who gave it their all last night we’d be sitting here today with a loss to WKU. We’d be no better than Kentucky who got their tails whipped by the Hilltoppers a few seasons ago. And have a two-game losing streak to them. We’ll just leave that right there. I digress.

My point being. We got guys in that locker room busting their asses for this program, this team, and the fans. Guys like Jarrett Jackson who came in making big plays including the game-winning sack and Robert Hicks who led the team with 11 tackles last night. These young men were in high school last year folks. Our defense is banged up. These guys stepped up. That’s big for this team moving forward.

On the offensive end of the ball, things are really in disarray. Strange territory for Coach Petrino. But now he will pull out his book of tricks from the past two seasons and start game planning around a young and dynamic new starting QB. If you aren’t excited after watching Malik Cunningham the last two weekends there is no hope for you. There were moments on that field last night when I experienced Déjà vu. This young man is the real deal folks. Our season is not lost.

It was great seeing Dae Williams come back into his own last night. He’s a great athlete but an even better person. With 63 yards and 2 TDs he just took over in the 4th quarter and started running over guys. Back a few summers ago during practice and before he got hurt Dae Williams was such a presence and so dominating (just busting thru guys) that he had everyone’s attention. Haven’t seen media guys so giddy at a practice as that day. Dae Williams is for real folks. Our season is not lost.

We have a solid offensive line (they still have their moments), and two very athletic and physically superior athletes in our backfield. And I think our receivers finally come around with the leadership of Malik Cunningham. This gives Bobby something to work with. I’m optimistic he figures it out. We still get 8 wins and beat the Cayuts ass…

As a side note, I do feel really bad for Jawon Pass. I don’t know what’s going on with the young man and hope he figures things out. Card Nation has been super supportive to him and we need to continue that. I hope he keeps battling.

It was miserable at times but I managed to find some enjoyment in last night. I like watching young guys take advantage of an opportunity and the new stadium expansion is incredible. It adds a lot to the game day experience. Can’t wait for the Florida State game. Go Cards!

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First the Tide, Then a Tropical Storm first two weeks of Louisville Football have been a wash



First the Tide, Then a Tropical Storm the first two weeks of Louisville Football have been a wash.

We had such a build-up to the start of the Louisville Football season. So much build-up that the head coach was predicting a victory against college footballs best team. The players seemed confident and even started the game in Orlando with a little swagger in their step.

They were playing some good football. Puma looked poised, the Oline blocked, the running backs were running downhill, TE’s looked good, WR’s running crisp routes and even the defense made some good plays. Things seemed to be going as expected for about a quarter then the wheels started to fall off. So much so that the coaches were having gaffs.

After that game, I was able to put things into some perspective taking into account that they did play the first game of the season against the Tide. We did some things well, and it was a game to build on. Our young guys got hit in the jaw and didn’t respond well.

Heading into the Indiana State game I expected the monsoon rains and knew it would be a student body left, student body right kind of night. Not very entertaining but expected a solid win. I did not expect the breakdowns on offense, and I sure didn’t expect to see the Indiana State O-Line housing our D-Line at times. Knocking them off the ball.

I expected inconsistency with yet another new coaching change but come on… how are you controlling the line of scrimmage on downs against the likes of Alabama one week and losing that battle to an FCS school the next week. Doesn’t add up. Or does it all add up?

Did opening up the season against such a dominating opponent backfire? Did some of these young guys have that confidence tested too early? Did they completely put the last one behind them when heading into the game week with Indiana State? Did the torrential downpours affect the offense that much? To look that bad? Was the Louisville defensive front that beat up and did the weather affect their gameplay?

I’m willing to call it a wash.

That’s right… these last two weeks have been a blur. Louisville fans drove 13 hours to watch the season opener and then had to set thru a monsoon for the home opener. The expansion did not get the appreciation it deserved and we didn’t even get a Card March.

I don’t imagine that these first two weeks have been great for the players either. They did get knocked down to size pretty good in that first game. Confidence was shaken. Then they don’t get a Card March and have to sludge thru a monsoon all night against an FCS school in the home opener. Not much fun at all. They did enough to get the job done and did have some pep in their step to end a miserable night.

I’m excited about this weekend. I liked what I saw out of Malik Cunningham Saturday night. If you paid attention at the Spring Game you know his game is very Lamar’esque. Bobby will now have a few more options. And this could give Puma a little nudge. He has to be the leader of this team Tide or monsoon be damned… It’s good to know that there is someone ready to step up if he doesn’t. Don’t think we have a QB controversy yet. I like what Jeremy Smith brings to this team. He hasn’t missed a step.

Our defense is beaten up. The best player Jonathan Greenard is out indefinitely after injuring his wrist against Bama, and Dorian Etheridge suffered an ankle sprain against Indiana State. A lot of tackles here.

I’m beginning to worry that issues go much deeper than a few injuries on this side of the ball. Charlie Strong built a defensive culture so strong that it lasted up to Grantham’s last season. He was able to use Strong’s mojo for a few seasons. I’m worried about the current culture. Too much turnover and not enough consistency has left a big hole. Coach VanGorder is getting paid handsomely and he has some athletes so I’m not giving up hope yet.

This could be a week for guys to gain some confidence and more experience. Like Jarrett Jackson. This dude wears #8 and his last name is Jackson. He was No. 56 on ESPN’s Top 300 defensive linemen list and one of the top high school defensive lineman in Florida a season ago. Jackson has 7 assisted tackles this season. Guys like Amonte Caban and Tabarius Peterson. They both were trending upward at the end of last season.

Michael Boykin and Derek Dorsey could use another game before heading into the conference grind. Boykin is still adjusting to the speed of things. He was dominating in Juco last year. Dorsey has a mean streak about him but needs to be in right spot. GG Robinson has to step up and lead with Greenard out. GG can be a beast and has 7 solo tackles in the first two weeks. This defense is wet behind the ears and not from the rain last week.

I know that a hurricane is barreling up the east coast. But weather should not be an issue this Saturday night when the Cardinals play WKU. It should be an awesome night for a football game. I expect the tailgating lots to be packed early, I expect a great Card March, I expect the place to be packed, and I expect the expansion to get the crowd it deserves. I hope Louisville plays better and shows some promise. We will know a lot more about this team after Saturday night. Even though these last two weeks have been a wash I still have hope the season won’t be.

Go Cards!

GAMEDAY


GAMEDAY!

Another game today where I don’t think we learn much about the Louisville Football team especially if we get the monsoon the weather folks suggest. It will be a great game for all of the Coaches to work on getting their calls in and Gametime reps. It’s a great opportunity for the Louisville defense to gel more and to get more game ready with Coach VanGorder.

I think we see a steady flow of Running Backs tonight for the Cardinals but hopefully will stay dry long enough to see Jawon get a chance to work on some game rhythm with his wide receivers. Special teams should get some in-game action tonight. Should be a lot of Kickoff coverage practice (much needed), and field goal/extra point work. Hope we don’t see any punt work. (sorry Mason)

This game will be good for the players and should juice them back up some after being demoralized by Alabama. Football is very physical but can also be mentally exhausting. The young guys were very overwhelmed last weekend. Today is another chance for them to learn and gain some much needed confidence.

It’s going to be awesome to see these guys run out of that tunnel for the very first time of that beautiful new expansion. Should be a feel-good night all around and Cardinal Football needs it. L’s Up!

Go Cards!

The Cardinals pay a Toll in opener with Bama



It wasn’t the ending that Louisville and Cardinal fans had hoped for but a lot of young guys got action last night and there were some things that this team can build on moving forward. They played possibly the best team in the country and maybe one of the best programs in the history of college football. In Florida, they are big on their toll roads. Not all but a lot of things that happened last night was the toll a team pays when playing the Tide. You find things you can build on from this one and move on. Coach Petrino said in the post-game: “it’s only failure if you don’t learn from it.”


I like Pass and think that he is going to be a good one. He looked poised in the first quarter especially considering it was his first start in College Football and especially since he was playing the best College Football team on a pretty big stage. His throws were efficient in those first few sequences and he made the right choice with the football. He made some crafty moves in the pocket and was able to advance the football getting some first downs. This guy is still a ball of clay and there is still some molding to do. Jawon said after the game “ I just tried not to give up.” This kid won’t give up. We can’t give up on him.


When I get back to my old Kentucky home I will have to gather all of those aggravating toll slips and pay the tolls from Florida. When our Cardinals get home they’ll have to pay a different toll. I don’t imagine practice will be much fun after the film work. I won’t mention any names or call anyone out specifically but not helping our QB off the ground after a sack, missing blocking assignments, missing route assignments and some general apathy happened last night. You gonna talk a big game you better be ready to play one. But. Get your guts ran out and do better in the next one.


I think the general message I’d have for Cardinals fans would be to look forward to the next one and the season ahead. Our Cardinals hung with the best in the country for almost a quarter of football. The O-line blocked, the defense played aggressive and smart, our Redshirt Sophomore QB looked good in the pocket and the offense was moving the ball down the field. A lot to build on here folks. And just think about how exciting the new stadium will be. If you are giving up on this young and talented Louisville group after an ass whipping by Bama you are cheering for the wrong sport. They are the standard. Get over it. See you all at the beautiful Cardinal Stadium next weekend.


On a side note, it was great seeing #8 in the building last night. That guy really bought in here. He was a Louisville football player but will always be a Cardinal at heart. Luv you #8!

We lost but I’m still going to Disney World. L’s Up!

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