One long game, a trying experience, prolonged by a mix of inclement weather and inconsistent football.
The University of Louisville’s offense is the opposite extreme of the defense thus far. The ultimate success of this year’s season is likely be more of a reflection of Todd Grantham’s direction than Bobby Petrino’s hallmark.
Until Holliman made his first pick of an Alex McGough pass, taking it 32 yards to the end zone, the UofL offense was struggling. Thanks to the lack of much protection from his offensive line, Will Gardner was running for his life again.
Holliman would then make his second consecutive interception of the day, and Petrino was ready to pounce on the shaken FIU defense. UofL would tack on two more touchdowns in the final two minutes and seven seconds, taking a 28-0 lead to the lockerroom at half time.
Despite completing two touchdown passes, Gardner was still feeling his way out there. Lacking much mobility, he’s still getting passes deflected, going down too easily, and giving up the ball too often. Still not taking advantage of his size, more mannequin than macho. His deficiencies are made worse by the fact that he’s not getting much protection from his offensive line.
James Quick, meanwhile, is going in the opposite direction, gaining confidence, taking advantage of his five-star capabilities, finding gaping holes in the FIU defense, scoring two touchdowns on 74-yard and 37-yard pass plays.
Gardner failed to get up following his final sack with six minutes remaining in the third quarter, and no information has been forthcoming.
The University of Louisville hosted another community celebration Thursday evening, this time with a laser show using the Grawemeyer administration building as a multimedia backdrop to thank the more than 75,000 donors who contributed more than $1 billion to UofL’s Charting Our Course fundraising campaign.
The campaign, under the staff direction of President James Ramsey and Keith Inman, vice president of university advancement, puts UofL in select company among 52 public U.S. universities with a capital endowment of over one billion dollars.
Civic leaders active in the campaign included Junior Bridgeman, of Bridgeman Foods; Chuck Denny, of PNC Bank, Henry Heuser, Jr., of the Henry Vogt Foundation, the late Chester Porter, Porter Bancorp, and the late Owsley B. Frazier, Brown-Forman Distillers.
The latest recruiting fiasco in which a basketball recruit chooses the University of Louisville only to quickly change his mind may have some administrators and fans wondering if UofL made a mistake in renewing their apparel and shoe contract with Adidas.
Back in April, UofL and Adidas agreed to a five-year deal valued at almost $40 million, placing Louisville among the top five athletic departments nationally in footwear and apparel rights among all brands. Tom Jurich said Adidas was the only company he had considered. Whether Nike would have wanted to be the provider will probably never be known, but the deal did not go unnoticed by Nike.
Nike is to tennis shoes what Marlboro is to cigarettes, the dominant market leader, with the inherent ability to set the rules and control the marketplace. Only in this case, Nike apparently is able to exert its control even further, imposing its will on players, coaches, schools, amateur leagues and fans. Without any repercussions from the NCAA.
WDRB analyst Eric Crawford writes: “If you’re looking to fight the war of shoe company involvement in college sports, you missed it. It’s over. The shoe companies won.” Then he goes on to suggest that it’s a good thing for players since coaches and schools receive millions of dollars from shoe companies.
While one may respect Crawford, he’s off base on this one, considering that college players aren’t supposed to be receiving extra benefits from anyone. Why not just go ahead and let the boosters fill the players’ pockets because they also donate millions to schools and athletic programs? Open it up for everybody.
While it may require a major sea change and considerable time, Nike’s pervasive influence in collegiate athletics can’t be allowed to go unchallenged. It makes a mockery of the amateur system, rewarding only those who perpetuate the deception.
If the ultimate objective is to preserve the integrity of college athletics, Louisville made the right decision in going with Adidas. If it’s anything else, everybody loses.
Samantha Fuehring says knew before she got to the University of Louisville on her official visit that UofL was where she wanted to play her college basketball.
“Before visiting, I always had a gut feeling. And I just woke up one day and said I need to go here,” Fuehring told NJ.com. “And just visiting there made everything much better. I felt like I fit in. The coaching staff was great, the girls were funny, and everything was just amazing there.”
Fuehring, a 6-foot-3 forward, averaged 20.9 points and 7.8 rebounds per game for a Lodi, N.J. Immaculate Conception team that went 22-6 last season. She is ranked 26th by ProspectNations.com and she picked UofL over California, Dayton, Rutgers, Seton Hall, South Carolina and Tennessee.
Tri-State Media.com describes Fuehring as “an edgy, hard-nosed forward with perimeter skills and a college-ready body. Sam prefers to bang inside than score outside but does both with a high level of efficiency. She plays with intensity and is a fierce competitor.”
U of L’s 2015 class, which is ranked No. 2 nationally by All-Star Girls Report behind only UConn, also includes No. 2 Asia Durr (guard), No. 15 Taja Cole (guard), No. 27 Erin DeGrate (center) and No. 33 Brianna Jones (guard).
The next visitor could well be Arike Ogunbowale, a heralded 5-foot-9 guard from Milwaukee, who lists Louisville, along with UCLA, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Wisconsin on her list of possible schools.
Ten days ago Antonio Blakeney, one of the top guards in the 2015 recruiting class, tweeted that he was going to play college basketball at the University of Louisville.
Proclaiming to the world that all his hard work had paid off with an offer to great school, telling Coach Rick Pitino he was on his way.
“I knew I wanted to commit to Louisville two or three months ago, but I’ve just been kind of holding it off to see what other schools had to offer just comparing it, and nothing was better,” he told the Courier-Journal shortly afterward.
Pretty succinct, except for the part about comparing what other schools had to offer. He had thought about it, come to a firm decision and wanted to play at Louisvlle. That decision obviously set up a flurry of activity behind the scenes by individuals and entities with ties to other schools. By Monday of this week, Blakeney tweeted that while he still liked UofL, he was reopening his recruitment and wanted to visit other schools.
The one thing that his reported final four schools — Kentucky, LSU, Missouri and Oregon — have in common is that they are all schools with Nike contracts. Louisville is associated with Adidas.
Pitino should have seen this coming, having seen several highly-prized recruits with sudden changes of mind. The UofL coach has stated a couple of times that he doesn’t like to recruit against the Lexington school. No further explanation was necessary. Marquis Teague, who had committed to UofL a couple of years earlier, comes to mind.
More and more, the process seems to evolve into a business decision for top 20 recruits, with some factor causing them to override their original choice. What’s different about this one is that Pitino appeared to have won the recruiting battle despite the NIKE connections.. Blakeney may have surprised them, causing them to shift into high gear.
The NCAA isn’t about to put the clamps on shoe company, thus far avoiding any effective policy to discourage the interaction. Nike, as a corporation, may have a corporate responsibility mission on the boardroom wall, but it means nothing to their people connecting with high school recruits.
Bobby Petrino doesn’t have to look far for leadership on defense.
Although Lorenzo Mauldin claims he’s not a verbal leader, he’s obviously the one that gets his teammates fired up — whether it be in the pre-game huddles where he’s yelling and dancing around or during games when he’s aggressively attacking opposing quarterbacks.
Mauldin said he put the Virginia loss behind him immediately after the game. “You can’t think about your losses,” he said during Monday’s press conference. “You have to keep moving forward.”
He seemed to suggest that the first road game may have been an eye-opener for some of his teammates. “Some guys are going to be under little bit more pressure than others,” he said. “You have to keep telling those guys you have to overcome the losses and step up next time.”
Mauldin was pleased with the way the defense played, allowing Virginia a total of only 280 yards offensively. “Our defense is always going to fly around to the ball. We’re a fast, aggressive defense and I’m very pleased with the way we played.”
Leadership seems to come naturally to him. “I like to lead by example. Just keep a smile on your face. Don’t worry about the down points.”
* * *
Petrino wasn’t pleased with the offensive preparation for the game, sensing a lack of intensity last week, his comments suggesting there may have been a lack of respect for Virginia.
He said the quarterback usually gets more than his share of the blame but he felt there was a letdown at all 11 positions during the actual game. “We had a good opening drive but then we basically had two-and-a-half quarters where we weren’t operating and executing and doing the things that we need to do. When you watch the video, it’s all 11 guys … Part of it is our protections and our breakdowns. Part of it is our routes not being where they’re supposed to be or our not getting ball there. When you’re not executing the way you should, certain things show up play after play.
“Defensively, I thought we played well. We shut down a lot of things but we did give a couple of big plays that wind up haunting you at the end of the game. We put our defense in a lot of bad situations but the defense did a good job of keeping them out of the end zone, getting turnovers and making a lot of really good plays.”
* * *
The UofL coach said he has not heard anything from the conference about the pushing and shoving that occurred at the end of the half, resulting in off-setting penalties. Doubtful any further action will be forthcoming.
* * *
Contrary to what most of us thought we saw on that fumbled punt return, Petrino said James Quick actually ran into Michaelee Harris — not the other way around — knocking the ball loose on a play that could have locked up the win. “Quick did a nice job overall. He made a couple of nice returns. He continues to get better.”
* * *
Before the press conference, Petrino announced that Reggie Bonnafon’s father, Wallace, had passed away early Monday, the coach requesting prayers for the family.
By Keith Thomerson
“The galleries are full of critics. They play no ball. They fight no fights. They make no mistakes because they attempt nothing. Down in the arena are the doers. They make mistakes because they attempt many things.”
The University of Louisville football team lost 23–21 Saturday. Way too many mistakes to beat a good Virginia team — or any football team for that matter
The sun came up this morning and, as I look out my home-office window, it’s another beautiful day. The game is played by 18– to 22-year-olds. They make mistakes as we all have and continue to do. The coaching staff will help them solve those mistakes, they will learn from them and go on to the next game.
The person who takes no risks lacks boldness and makes no mistakes. He or she never tries anything, serving as a brake on the wheel of progress.
And yet it can’t be truly said, they make no mistakes because the biggest mistake they make is the very fact that they try nothing, do nothing, except criticize those who do.