Saturday, November 21, 2009
* When Rudy goes to speak to Coach Ara to beg him to play, the only blemish on his face was a cut above his right eye. But that night when Rudy calls home, the cut is above his left eye.
* In the scene where #75 Matteus (the one that says "Just ain't right" when he discovers Rudy isn't playing) starts chanting "Ru-dy" on the sidelines, the next scene shows him out on the field blocking. Then, the very next scene he is chanting "Ru-dy" on the sidelines again.
* Right before the game with Georgia Tech (the game Rudy plays in), the stadium shows the Penn State Blue Band on the field playing the Penn State fight song. The game then starts and Notre Dame is playing Georgia Tech.
* In that final game, Coach Dan Devine uses all his timeouts in the third quarter, and is unable to stop the clock in the final minute to get Rudy on the field.
OK. That last one's a lie. Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh C! A! R! D! S! CARDS!!!
Friday, November 20, 2009
The Cards also have to get help from the headsets. The Bulls defense is going to come after Froman in waves; the Cards have to be resourceful to keep them on their heels. Screen passes, slant passes, quarterback draws, or that one trick-play reverse to Trent Guy that Kragthorpe is so proud of. Whatever it is, the offense must be crisp and clever to put points on the board.
If Trent Guy keeps his hot hand on special teams, if the Bulls come out flat and the Cards score first, if Adam Froman plays his best game of the season, if the defense can keep B.J. Daniels from scrambling, and if Kragthorpe steals a playbook from a different coach, then the Cards come out on top. 20-17 Cards. Book it.
It was expected to be a quiet signing period for UofL, but nevertheless, I'm slightly concerned looking forward. We missed on Harris and J.J. Moore, while adding only 3-star guard Russ Smith and plucky walk-on Elisha Justice. Nice additions, but certainly nothing that will blow you away. Next season I think Siva will become a more traditional, close to 40 minutes a game, point guard. But still, the Cards need to add another guard if they want to continue the relentless backcourt pressure for which they're known. I'd also like to see Pitino scour the JUCO ranks for a reliable wingman to fill in senior Reginald Delk's spot. Unless Samuels has a monster year, I think he will return for his junior season, giving the Cards plenty of depth in the post looking forward. For now, it's back to savoring the present.
Coach Pitino spoke on many of these issues at today's press conference, and eased my concerns. He said the Cards stumbled upon Russ Smith while scouting JJ Moore, and were impressed with his versatility. He can play both guard positions, and will therefore be valuable next year backing up either Siva or Knowles. He acknowleged that the Cards are laying low this year, putting all their eggs in the 2011 basket. He has not ruled out adding another player to the 2010 class, but stressed that the Cards will be careful before doing so; the signee must be an impact freshman player or a more mature, proven JUCO player. I feel better.
The Bucs went on to capture the interest of the entire nation, taking No. 1 seed and Big East Champion Pittsburgh to the wire...Big East Champion Pitt? Big East Champion Pitt?!? Aww hell no. In the words of legendary a-hole Jim Calhoun, "get some facts, and then come back and see me."
But just in case that bulletin board material isn't enough to ensure victory tomorrow against East Tennessee State, here's a breakdown of their roster, and analysis of the Bucs' strengths:
Much of the offensive load will fall to senior guard Mike Smith, while returning players such as sophomore forward Isiah Brown (Miami), junior guard Micah Williams (Manchester), senior guard Jocolby Davis (Meridian, Miss.), sophomore point guard Adam Sollazzo (Tampa, Fla.), sophomore guard Jarvis Jones (Memphis) and junior forward Tommy Hubbard (Boston) will be asked to pick up their offensive production ... The Bucs will add several talented players to the mix in 2009-10, including University of Alabama transfer Justin Tubbs (Trussville,Ala.), who brings an athletic body and SEC experience to Johnson City.
ETSU’s swarming “Pack” defense and fullcourt pressure were keys to the Bucs’ success a year ago, and the squad returns many of its best defenders ... Smith and Hubbard lead that core group, with the return of Davis giving the team another solid defender on the perimeter... Brown is also a shot blocker, while Tubbs can be a lock down defender ... On the boards and on the defensive end of the fl oor, look for the Bucs to once again be among the league leaders in defensive shooting percentage, steals and forced turnovers.
Before he arrived on the USF campus, Jason Pierre-Paul had become somewhat of a folk hero. Paul Bunyan-like stories about his feats and freakish physique were floating around the football team's practice field. There were tales of how his long arms could stretch across the football field and blanket an entire team. They said he was a running back hiding in a defensive lineman's body; that he could run a 4.4 second 40-yard dash and either leap over defenders or knock them off their feet. USF head football coach Jim Leavitt first saw Pierre-Paul doing sprints at Deerfield Beach High and still hasn't forgotten how he was running past everyone. "The first thing coach Patrick said to me is that I had the longest arms he had ever seen," Pierre-Paul says.And he has not disappointed. He has racked up 33 total tackles, 4 sacks, and is the only USF defensive lineman with an interception, which he returned for a touchdown. Combined with NFL-level end George Selvie, they form perhaps the most feared pair of pass rushers in college football. Big deal. We have a freakish physical specimen too. His name is Will Stein.
But Jurich has also erred. He leaned on Kragthorpe to keep several Petrino assistants. He pushed the recruitment of junior-college linebacker Willie Williams, a proven troublemaker. Williams quickly became the public face of the string of players Kragthorpe asked to leave.The Williams' saga always seemed overblown to me. Certainly a blip on the radar of UofL's decline. And while I agree that coaching turnover has been a problem, I hardly blame Jurich for wanting to retain proven assistant coaches. Furthermore, if we could point to a slew of excellent coaches from Kragthorpe's krew that were forced to wait, I think the argument would be more persuasive. Sometimes it's Occam's razor; Steve Kragthorpe has been an extremely poor coach at Louisville.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
* Once, Brown's younger brother had been shot in the arm in St. Louis. Then came a game. "I dropped a pass and [Mangino] was mad," Brown said. The yelling didn't bother me. But then he said, 'Shut up!' He said, 'If you don't shut up, I'm going to send you back to St. Louis so you can get shot with your homies.'
* Brown said another teammate had confided in him that his father was an alcoholic and the player dreamed of becoming a lawyer. "One day, [Mangino] said in front of the entire team, 'Are you going to be a lawyer or do you want to become an alcoholic like your Dad?'"
* Another former receiver Marcus Herford said "I remember that. Very vividly. [Mangino] would take your personal business and he would attack you with it." "He'd say things like, 'I'll send you back to the street corner where you came from.'"
There are also allegations of physical abuse, shoving and poking players in the chest. I don't know what Mangino's problem is, but you sure can't blame it on Little Man Syndrome.
* Turn down the Packers to play with the Bills??? Good luck with that Brohm.
* Brohm is one of the worst rookie QB's I ever saw.
* Good luck with your arm and that wind in Buffalo, Brian.
* Yeah, Brohm's main problem is his confidence. Everyone knew he had the talent, but nobody knew he was going to have such shaky confidence in the NFL.
* What a waste of a #2 pick.
* Goodbye Brian and don't let the door hit you in the behind on your way out.
* I hope he does well.
* Brohm has no chance.
And there was one behind-the-scenes element of note, and that was Willard's gentle nudge to Pitino to play Delk early, and Pitino's decision to heed the advice, which he said made the difference in a key player continuing to struggle and being the MVP of the opening game.
Willard said, “Rick putting him in early was a stroke of genius, because that said to Reggie, ‘Hey, he trusts me.'”
Did you catch that? The cagey veteran calling Pitino's acceptance of his advice “a stroke of genius?” Willard has game.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
--Coach Steve, defending Bill Belichick's infamous decision to go for it on 4th and 2 on Sunday. Having received Krag's blessing, Belichick can now be at peace with that one.
* Rick Pitino's teams, at UofL anyways, have always toed the line between solid aggressive defense and, well, mugging. Last night the Cards tended towards the latter. The dumb fouls seemed to go hand in hand with a lack of offensive rhythm too.
* Reginald Delk. Well, hello there. He certainly had the hot hand from behind the arc, but he also showed some silky drives and forced at least two turnovers. You'd think he would have answered the starting swingman question with that 20-point performance, but...
* Jared Swopshire. Well, hello there. Flashing some impressive range, confidence, and most
importantly...rebounding. Almost a double-double in the first half, 13 boards total. With the number of shots the Cards are going to put up, Swopshire has to continue to be a glass-eater.
* Bobby Knight is a great commentator.
* At this rate Peyton Siva's going to match T-Will's highlight reel by month's end. OK, that's not true. But how awesome was that reverse?!?
* I've heard nothing but good things about Samardo Samuels and his work ethic, but his on-court body language could use some work. That incredulous grimace of his isn't pretty.
* Umm, when will it not be considered premature to worry about Mike Marra's shooting? Let me know, I'll be waiting.
1-0. Go Cards.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
And it's always a good idea to honor the past before stepping into the future. I'm ashamed to admit I'd never seen the clip below. Fast forward to the :59 mark to witness sheer awesomeness. Go Cards.
* With a short bench, I don’t see the Hogs hanging with the Cards until the end. Washington is going to have to stay on the floor, as Clarke will have someone in his face all night long. PEL is rebuilding the program and the new kids coming on board next year will be solid. This game would be more competitive later in the year, but should nonetheless be a good experience for a very young team. Louisville 92, Arkansas 80.
* I hope we’re their Dayton. Haven’t the Flyers beat them 2 years in a row?
* Louisville will take an early lead but Pitino will leave the bench during the second half to hit on some good looking women in the stands and Clarke will hit a three pointer at the buzzer for a 80-79 victory.
* The ‘Ville has a deep bench. They run the floor as well as anyone in the country. They can shoot 3s fairly well. Their D is good and their coach knows the game. Louisville 88, RAZORBACKS 71. GO HOGS GO! make me wrong & beat louis touie!
* I have to go against the norm and pick Arkansas. Maybe wishful thinking, but this depleted teams seems to have chemistry. Arakansas – 90, Louisville – 88.
* The Cardinals have more talent and a deeper bench. It’s a road game, which has been bad news for the last seven years. We’re relying on, at least, four newcomers and three true freshmen. My money says Pitino will call off the dogs if the game is well in hand. So, unfortunately, I think Louisville gets up 20-25 and ends up winning by about 15. Louisville 80, Arkansas 65.
"Dinner with the coaches and recruit. Young Russ. New York City product, trying to get him to come to the ville. Great player."Players choose schools for a variety of reasons, whether it's Rick Pitino's up-tempo style, Roy Williams track record for producing lottery picks, or John Calipari's amazing SAT prep. An underated aspect of recruiting, in my opinion, is a player's sincere desire to play for that school, in that uniform. From all indications Smith really wanted to be a Cardinal. It's something that should be celebrated. Hell, one could even make a movie about it. Following his decision, Smith's father said: “He’s very happy and comfortable with the whole situation. He loved the atmosphere...He loved the city. He toured the town, toured the new arena. He got a a feel for the players.”
One thing's for sure. If you're going to have success with Pitino, you've got to be a gym rat. And Smith fits the bill. Tom Konchalski, an NYC recruiting expert familiar with his game, said of Smith: “He loves the game. He’d rather play than breathe. He has a very high skill level. He’s just got to get stronger physically." I'm excited, I think Russell Smith will be sneaky-good. Basketball junkies and ballhandling skills like his are always welcome in my book. Welcome aboard, Mr. Smith. He chose us over Wake Forest, Arizona, Houston and Baylor.
Monday, November 16, 2009
Basketball that counts is so close I can smell whatever that smell is when you walk into Freedom Hall. Not the manure, the smell once you get inside. There's no shortage of storylines heading into this season, and we'll touch on them all at some point. But first I'd like to note that this season hinges on the performance of our senior guards, Edgar Sosa and Jerry Smith. Obvious point? Perhaps. But sometimes I feel like the cagey vets get lost amidst the Siva buzz and Samardo love. But think about it. For the first time in almost a decade the Cards are entering the season without a dominant wing. There's going to be a sea change in offensive functioning, and it's going to fall upon the senior captains to see that it's a smooth one. Both are going to have to walk a fine line between being unselfish, and picking spots to step up and get theirs. I won't delve into the bipolar nature of Sosa's play, it's tired and it is what it is, but I will say that Jerry can suffer from the same syndrome. Unlike Sosa who tries to do too much, Smith becomes passive and tries to do too little. We all know you're more than a shooter, Jerry, but remind us of your range every once in awhile. Having said that, I fully expect both players to have memorable senior seasons. Pitino was shrewd in choosing them as co-captains. I think both will take their roles seriously and step up to fill the leadership void. Lots of things are going to have to happen for these Cards to become great, but if you need a barometer for how the season is going, the number of Jerry fist pumps and Sosa camera poses we witness will be a good indication.
Look's like Steve Kragthorpe's going to have to come up with a new joke.
(Hat tip: Card Chronicle)
Amber Rondo worked the third shift, 11 at night until 8 in the morning, making cigarettes for Philip Morris at the company’s plant in Louisville. Each day, she left her three sons with one unbreakable rule. Once the street lights came on in the neighborhood of College Court, the outer boundary of their world became the front porch of the house. So the front porch of the house at Seventh and Kentucky became the de facto recreation center for Rajon, his two brothers, their cousin Jermaine Bentley, and all their friends.
The 6'0 guard from Verdigris, Oklahoma was a high school legend, packing gyms wherever he played, and once scored 65 points in a game. High school legends terrify me, as did high school in general, so I'll be eyeing Clarke tomorrow with the same nervous wariness.
Most importantly, the win provided a brief respite -- in fact, the briefest -- from the interminable sorrows of a lost season. The players deserved a victory. I hope the way they came from behind to pull it out in the final minutes only sweetened its taste. Though he may have proven on Saturday that he is the worst play-caller in college football, Steve Kragthorpe needed a victory too. I'm glad he got one, at home no less. In the months following his (near) certain departure from Derbytown, it is my wish that he will look back on Louisville-Syracuse and find something worth savoring.
As for us, Cards fans? We won the game. We won the game. We won the game...
Darius Ashley off-tackle run left. One yard gain. Darius Ashley off-tackle run right. One yard gain. Froman drops back, pocket collapses, he steps up and over/underthrows receiver. Wakeup with cold sweat.At least the nightmare won't become recurring. Had the Cards lost, I don't think Krags would have survived the weekend. Even with the win, I was wondering if there was precedent for firing a coach immediately following a victory, when the team was still bowl eligible, mathematically at least. I also had a heated discussion with my Dad, who believes that Kragthorpe has known that he's a goner and has therefore been mailing-in his gameplan for weeks (especially irksome for him once he was reminded how much Krags makes per season). I disagree. I think he is honestly still giving it his all, and his all is, well, what we saw on Saturday. The Cards proved that they may not be the worst team in the Big East, but I can't imagine that there's a team in all of college football that gets less production from the talent on its roster. Other random thoughts...
* Hey, remember when our coach rambled about his "quarterback luxury" of 3 capable starters, then plays coy about who's going to start each game, then stubbornly sticks with one guy for the entire game despite that guy's inability to produce a tiny amount of offensive rhythm? Oh Steve, you're incorrigible.
* Congrats to Greg Scruggs, who was able to live out the fantasy of millions when he absolutely crushed Greg Paulus, forcing a fumble in the first quarter.
* Josh Chichester, welcome to the offense. Who knew a 6'9'' receiver with basketball agility could be such a red-zone weapon?
* Low moment of the season? Knowing that Josh Chichester's amazing first touchdown snag was coming back for offensive pass interference (the refs' mics were on), then hearing the inept referree (who seemed nervous all day) make the wrong call, setting off the immediate fireworks at Papa Johns, then having the crowd groan after the call was corrected, mostly because everyone knew there was no way Krags could produce two scoring plays on the same drive. Not good times.
* There's not much I wouldn't give to have been a fly on the wall in Tom Jurich's suite during the game.
* Play most symbolic of the Kragthorpe Era? Trent Guy's nullified return where he simultaneously displayed his blazing speed and big-play instinct, but also how poorly coached he is. A returner should NEVER try to field a punt over his shoulder, within the five-yard line. Fittingly, the play was called back and all was for naught.
What a game. Battle for the Keg of Strychnine, captivating as ever.
- ► 2012 (383)
- ► 2011 (758)
- ► 2010 (751)
Nov 15 - Nov 22
- How awesome is the Boogie-cam guy?
- Some goosebumps to go with your coffee...
- Syracuse beats North Carolina
- ...and predictions
- Predictions, predictions...
- Picking up the pieces of my broken heart
- Oh no you did ent...
- Bring me the head of one Kragthorpe
- Rocky Tob, officially
- Looks handsome in it, right?
- Mangino the Terrible
- Brohm to Bills
- Tobias Harris knows, next the World
- Impact Player Alert
- Stroke of Genius
- While we're getting these monkeys off our back...
- Marra me, please
- Ummm... Denny?
- Kragthorpe Kwote of the Day
- Rocky Tob?
- Win #1...brought to you by Reese's! Bud Lite! Regi...
- The Labyrinth
- Arkansas ESPN commercial
- Peyton Siva's new tat!
- Meet the newest Cahd-nul
- 24 24 hours to go oh oh...I need to be sedated
- It won't be Gruden
- Regretting Rondo
- I dig the trenches
- Rowdy Rotnei Piper
- A couple morning videos...
- Recitation of the sweet taste of glorious victory
- The horror...the horror
- ▼ Nov 15 - Nov 22 (38)
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.