Friday, September 11, 2009
**My personal fav: "Batley spoke to a player at the Craft Center about an academic matter and grabbed a few rebounds"
Just a couple a young bucks talkin' grades and boundin' some balls...C'mon!
Here's a more realistic "look" at Cal's magical assistant assistants in the recruiting world. No proof. Of course not. Similar to Mel Gibson's line in the underrated movie "Conspiracy Theory": Can I prove it? Of course not. If' I could prove it, that means somebody screwed up.
Rick Bozich also gives a much deserved nod to Anthony Allen, who dumped his Kragthorpe Stock at the right time and is now a featured back for #15 ranked Georgia Tech. Allen will always have my respect for speaking out against the smear job (still) done to the Orange Bowl Cardinals. They were a football team; like any other hundred player squad comprised of 18 to 21 year olds, there were some trouble-makers, but by and large they were good, hard-working kids. I will never understand why it's practically been UofL policy to tarnish the legacy of the most successful team in school history. Their achievements meant more to Allen than they did to an Athletic Department in damage control, and he continued to defend his former friends and teammates even after he'd moved on. A class act that I sincerely wish could have finished his career a Cardinal.
Enjoy your NFL kickoff weekend, folks! I've got bachelor party duties to attend to, but will be back bleary-eyed on Sunday night to bring you all things Cards-Cats. God, I hate UK.
The SEC opponent is Arkansas who went 14-16 last year, and UNLV went 21-11 with losses to powerhouses such as San Diego State, Colorado State, and Wyoming. Oh Rick. This whole Sypher fiasco has actually drawn me closer to you in some strange way.
"'I am so, so happy to be here,' said Sharpe. 'It was a blessing to be able to come here. I thank God every day for it. Once Syracuse came into the picture, I was so happy because Louisville's graduation rate is like 57 (percent) and Syracuse was 75. That's pretty high. It's a very good fit for me.'"
Brian Bennett labels this "bulletin board material," but I have my doubts... slighting Louisville's graduation rate doesn't seem like it should cut deeply into Cardinal athletic pride. To tell you the truth, I was pretty impressed by his answer, that Sharpe would first cite graduation rates, rather than playing time or wins and losses, when asked about his happiness at Syracuse. Sounds like the kind of conscientious and upstanding (and talented) student-athlete that Kragthorpe is always chirping about. So how did we let him get away? (besides Louisville's inferior graduation rate, that is?) Who's to know, but here's the player's account of Krag's reaction to the decommitment, if it tells you anything about the coach's often harped-on communication skills:
"(Kragthorpe) didn't take it like it ... he just said ... once I took my visit, he was like, yeah, we already gave away your scholarship. Bye. He just said they had to keep on going. I had to keep going on, too."
(Hat tip: Card Chronicle)
Thursday, September 10, 2009
1) Penalties, especially personal fouls, a pure sign that the team (again) lacks discipline. Speaking with Cards fans before the game, penalties was most often listed as a barometer of change or more of the same. With 14 flags, last Saturday's game does not portend good things to come.
2) Offensive play-calling has to improve. As was written here, last week's offensive effort was uneven, unsettled and distraught. No more fingers to point on this one, Krags.
3) Defensive aggressiveness. It's hard to believe, but William Savoy's sack made midway through the game was the first for the Cards in five games -- half-a-season! Another point made to me following the game: why were our corners playing 5-10 yards off Indiana State's wideouts? Look, it was warned in this space not to underestimate the Sycamores, in particular the competitive spirit they would bring to this game. But why were we hanging back against an Indiana State aerial attack that couldn't move the ball against Quincy? The defense cannot keep sacrificing aggressive, physical play by employing passive defensive schemes.
4) Justin Burke - the jury is still out... let's just say that Burke needs to bring his best stuff to next week's game.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Hey there Cards fans. I've been away for a few days, though I see that Mr. Red has ably managed things with quality posts. I'm back now -- more or less -- and ready to help dissect last weekend's less-than-stunning victory against Indiana State, as well as prepare (and I use that word loosely) for next week's rivalry game against Kentucky.
Here are some of the takes on Indiana State that I've seen: at Cards Game, Paul Sykes writes a very odd post that everyone in the Big East except Rutgers and "a segment of University of Louisville football fans" should be happy with week one performances. His full -- if somewhat detached from reality -- game-analysis is here. Got to tell you Paul, I attended the game and sat in a section that is more moderately toned (read: less intoxicated) compared to others, and there was zero satisfaction with Louisville's game performance. We are the segment, buddy. Mike Rutherford offers a more sober take here. Another fair breakdown is this one.
Contrary to Rutherford's take, a West Virginia source portrays Justin Burke's debut performance as mostly a positive outing, though admittedly, the attention paid to Louisville is a cursory glance. Here's what I say: it's definite that Burke has to perform better for the Cards to have any chance this year. I'm not ready to count him out based on last week's performance alone. The QB was least impressive early in the game and in the pocket, more impressive on rollouts and throwing on the move. It's wait-and-see for Burke; for me, the real drama is whether solid playcalling will ever be in place.
Mark Story of the Lexington Herald Reader brought together a lot of facts to keep in mind while anticipating next week's rivalry game between the Cards and Cats. Maybe most important... the team with the most rushing yardage has won each of the past nine years. Ruuun, Victor Anderson, ruuun!
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
So...what exactly are you trying to say Darius? Let's not beat around the bush.
The status was quickly changed, however, to the slightly less shocking "Anxiously awaiting the arrival of my next head coach". First, for those panicking that the talented freshman may transfer, note that he used the word "await". To me that signifies he will sit back and wait for a new coach to be brought to him, rather than actively seek a new one. Or maybe I have too much time on hands.
The spilling over of this sort of frustration was inevitable, but that doesn't make it easier to swallow. What's especially odd is that Ashley had been singled out for praise by Kragthorpe throughout the preseason. I imagine Kragthorpe will be taken aback when confronted with this story. Then again, the fact that I'm worried about our head coach's feelings being hurt by one of his own players kind of sums up the entire situation doesn't it?
As much as I understand Ashley's frustrations, this sort of venting cannot be allowed. "Their's not to make reply / Their's not to reason why...etc. etc." Kragthorpe and Ashley need to sit down and hash this out before it gets out of hand. If the rumor does in fact prove true, Ashley has to be suspended.
Despite how much passion we fans carry into these games, the fact remains we're watching and cheering on college athletes, not professionals. I'm not naive; I know how expensive season tickets are, and that college athletics is an enormous moneymaker. But to rain jeers upon 18, 19, and 20 year-old kids who probably work harder in one week than I have in my whole life, well, just count me out.
I know your retort. "Mr. Red, we're booing Krags, not the players!" While the distinction may make sense in your head, the motivation for booing is lost when translated to the field. Think about it. Even if the players understand that the boos are directed towards their head coach, the reason the coach is being booed is for fielding such a lousy team. At the very least it's an oblique shot at the players.
The entire excersise is self-defeating. While it may release some feelings of momentary, drunken frustration, what exactly is accomplished? The discontent of the fanbase is well-known; booing will not in anyway hasten Kragthorpe's removal. That will be determined solely by wins and losses. Will the team play harder? No. It's not like the team is not executing on purpose. It seems to me the whole idea, the whole reason why Cardinal sports are so much damn fun, is the feeling of solidarity shared between anyone wearing red and black. All booing does is contribute to a poisonous atmosphere of fans versus coach, fans versus Jurich, cheering fans versus booing fans, etc. It destroys the very thing we're trying to attain.
This is no holier-than-thou plea, I've been as hard on Kragthorpe as anyone. You could even say that I'm a hypocrite; any player could read this blog and feel the same negative vibes. But who are we kidding, no one's reading this. But if we must draw an artificial line in the stand, I propose it should be to NEVER boo the Cards at home. Of course fans have a right to boo, but as so often the case, restraint from exercising that right is the wiser choice.
Monday, September 7, 2009
An exceptionally drunken crowd of 39,444 watched the Cards at Papa John's Saturday. Every drop of booze was sorely needed. Ay, ay ay...where to begin? Well, those familiar with the pregame posts know that we at Cardinal Laws were not predicting the same monumental rout most were. Indiana State was held in such ludicrously low regard that every play not somehow resulting in a Cardinal touchdown was going to cause grumbling and unease. I simply wanted a team that passed the eyeball test. Consider that test failed.
The story of the game has to be the wildly inaccurate passing of QB Justin Burke. Wide- open receivers were constantly overthrown. Burke acknowledged after the game to being too "amped up", but I think he let's himself off the hook a bit too easily. The errant passes did not look like the kind caused by too much adrenaline, but looked more like weak heaves downfield. The speed of our receievers is our one supposed advantage, and if Burke cannot deliver the ball to them with some measure of efficiency, Kragthorgpe will have to make a move down the depth chart. Soon.
Second, the poor coaching continued to reveal itself in the form of penalties and sloppiness. Of the 14 flags against the Cards, most frustrating was the excessive celebration penalty earned after scoring to go up 10-7. Excessive celebration for taking the lead from Indiana State in the second quarter?!? Talk about embarassing.
The playcalling was bad. Kragthorpe seemed hell bent on getting the passing game going, but the result was a choppy and out of sync offense. For being so intent to force production out of Burke, Kragthorpe never called for the sort of easy, short passes that allow a quarterback to develop a rhythm. A quarterback sneak on a third and nine?!? My head hurts.
Finally, as I watched the other games on TV Saturday, I was struck by the energy and emotion on display. Players hungry for their first hit, their first catch, fighting for extra yards and popping up after being tackled. At Papa John's the energy level was noticeably low. After one of Burke's two INTs, receiver Josh Chichester did not even attempt to make the tackle! I don't know if the unease felt in the stands somehow transferred to the field, but the team did not show the hunger and happiness that should be seen on week one of a new season.
The painful fact is that the Cards did not even look to be a physically superior team. Aside from Trent Guy, Indiana State appeared relatively equal in speed and strength. Let's face it, Michael Bush, Kerry Rhodes, and Amobi Okoye ain't walking through that door. In the absence of physically superior athletes, the Cards are going to have to find a way to win through sheer grit. Much more than was displayed Saturday.
Sunday, September 6, 2009
Quite simply the best biography I've ever read. Maraniss is fascinated by what he calls the "Lombardi Myth." He seeks to discover why Lombardi stands alone in American lore as the archetype of the iconic coach. The answer is complex and contradictory; much like the man himself.
This is a book for any fan of football. In many ways Lombardi's life mirrors the rise of the sport in the American consciousness. From being taught the game by one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, to his playing days at Fordham as one of the Seven Blocks of Granite, to the beginning of his coaching career under legendary figure Red Blaik at Army; in retrospect Lombardi's life seemed charmed by the football gods. This is no nostaligia piece, however; Maraniss does not neglect Lombardi's flaws. In full display are his epic temper, his frustration with continually being passed over for head coaching positions, and how his all-consuming passion to win came at the expense of being a father and husband. The story is about greatness; the actual traits that allowed Lombardi to take football to new heights, and the perceived greatness, how his authoritartian demeanor made him a revered (and controversial) figure in the 1960s. (Lombardi became so popular that he was once considered as a running mate for Richard Nixon in 1968, till Nixon learned Lombardi was a staunch Kennedy-Democrat). The setting for much of the book, the quirky and frozen football outpost of Green Bay, makes a perfect backdrop for Lombardi's unique brand of perfectionism.
Maraniss can write, and I don't mean for a biographer, but really write. An excerpt:
"The winds were still blowing strong, but as Paul Hornung said, 'We were young and happy and we'd had a few bottles of champagne and we wanted to get out of there and we did.' And that was that--the end of something. They rolled down the long runway, champagne corks popping, the plane shaking and bumping and rising uneasily and dipping and rising again into the whirling winter dusk, and they were headed home to Green Bay, Lombardi and his family and his Packers, champions once more, best ever, and none of them knew at that moment how much could be lost so soon, a president and a Golden Boy and even a way of life. Perhaps the past was not so innocent, but it seemed that way once it was gone, and it was gone the moment that plane left the ground."
A compelling story of man and myth. And I'm not too proud to admit that when Bart Starr, the dutiful son, and Paul Hornung, the prodigal son, go to visit the old coach as he lay dying on his hospital bed...well, the eyeballs were getting just a tad sweaty. Just a great book.
Here's a piece on Louisville's own larger-than life coaching figure.
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Sep 6 - Sep 13
- Nope...One more thing.
- Sell! Sell! Sell!
- I don't use pick-up lines either Jon, though it's ...
- Turn down the sound at Papa John's!
- Here's a moron.
- Good to have you back Rick...
- Our latest football achilles' heel is... the gradu...
- Pot to Kettle: Your QB still sucks...
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- Lessons from Indiana State
- Quick hits
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- UK Hypocrisy Watch
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About the Bloggers
Mr. Red is also known as Timothy Johnstone. He is a graduate of the University of Louisville.
Mr. Black is also known as Christopher Cunningham. He is a graduate of the University of Louisville.