Waiting not an option for Vince Tyra to stop Louisville football bleeding

Cindy Rice Shelton photo

Time to act. Quickly. Like right now.

Anyone watching the University of Louisville football team this season knew that something had gone terribly wrong. The Cardinals were giving up 56, 77, and 54 points in lopsided losses over the past three games. Ugly and getting uglier every week, with no prospect that anything was ever going to change.

The question of whether a coaching  change was needed was not if but when. Athletic Director Vince Tyra pulled the pin Sunday morning, feeling the need to immediately relieve Petrino of his duties. Petrino had suffered from the incompetence of his staff and the confidence of his players. He had worn out the welcome mat and exhausted the patience of the UofL administration and Cardinal fans. 

Bobby Petrino was rumored on his way to LSU when Koby Springer held this sign up at the 2004 Liberty Bowl in Memphis (ESPN photo).

He had to go, along with three of his family members on the staff, specifically two sons-in-law — linebackers coach Ryan Beard, defensive line coach L.D Scott — and his son quarterback coach Nick Petrino. Also gone is Andy Wagner, director of football operations, who was blocking UofL media left and right on Petrino’s Twitter feed..

The Cardinals (2-8, 0-7) rank last or near the bottom of the Atlantic Coast
Conference in about every statistical category. Associate Head Coach and safeties coach Lorenzo Ward, was named interim coach.

Petrino was in his second stint as Louisville’s head coach. He was (77-35)
overall and 36-26 during his second stint. He was 21-18 against the Atlantic
Coast Conference. But just 10-16 since a blowout loss to Houston in 2016.
Tyra met with the players Sunday morning, making one thing clear.

Lorenzo Ward overseeing the next two games, attempting to salvage anything positive from the 2018 season.

He wants to  change the atmosphere around Louisville football. Now. Not next season, not when a new coach comes in. Now.

Tyra wants coaches who deserve to be here. And players who want to be here. While things look bleak, he says these players can change that perception and go out winners, especially the seniors. He called on the senior class to take charge and help the young players gain momentum entering next season.

Tyra is also focusing on the 12 players that have petitioned to transfer after the season. He said he would work hard in trying to keep those players.and the deportees who are still in school, arguing it’s not out of question that they could return.

A lot of questions are to be answered before Louisville football can get back on track. Few believed that that was ever going to happen under Bobby Petrino. That was even more obvious to Vince Tyra, and it couldn’t happen soon enough for the fan base.

Ed Peak: Louisville football is on life support, needing a transplant

As the losses mount, so too does the embarrassment for University of Louisville football. How much more can L1C4 take? It’s like trying to plug an oil gusher with a band aid. No hope.

Did Bobby Petrino forget how to coach? No. Did he miss the lectures on effective human resources management? Yes. Much debate about whether Athletic Director Vince Tyra should relieve Petrino of his duties. Pay the $14 million buyout and run up I-65 to secure home boy Jeff Brohm from Purdue.

Brohm, you’ll recall, was an assistant at Louisville under Petrino. When Petrino left Western Kentucky University, Jeff took over as head coach and led the Hilltoppers to a Conference USA title and two bowl wins before going to West Lafayette.

In in his first season at Purdue he led the Boilermakers to a Foster Farms Bowl win over Arizona. Louisville escaped a loss in Indianapolis in the season opener to that same Purdue team, 35-28. This season after struggling to an 0-3 start, Purdue won four of its next five which included wins over nationally ranked Ohio State and Iowa, as well as Boston College. Yes, The Ohio State University of Coach Urban Meyer. It wasn’t close, 49-20.

Louisville would have to pay Brohm’s buyout at Purdue. He seems happy where he is. He admitted to meeting with Tennessee during their coaching mess last year, but said no. If you would turn down a chance to coach in the almighty Southeastern Conference, a blue blood program like Tennessee, would he come back to Louisville?

I’m told he still has a home in the Ville. He would be a fan favorite and could possibly make a quick fix of the mess on Floyd Street like what was at Purdue. Coaches love coming home but I’m just not sure Brohm is a jumper like so many coaches.

Brohm is a regular guy with humble beginnings. I knew him as a player at Trinity and Louisville and assistant coach for the Cardinals. He and his coaching staff have the respect of many of the state’s high school coaches just like Greg Nord did when he was an assistant at Kentucky and Louisville. Brohm got a steal when he plucked Rondale Moore of Trinity away from Kentucky and Louisville. The receiver is trending to set Purdue and Big Ten freshman receiving records.

Continue reading “Ed Peak: Louisville football is on life support, needing a transplant”

Ed Peak: Succeeding the Godfather comes easy for Chris Mack

Cindy Rice Shelton photo

No light show. No banter. No saluting “The Godfather” of Louisville men’s basketball. Chris Mack walked onto Denny Crum court at the KFC Yum with his assistant coaches before their exhibition game with Bellarmine with little fanfare.

No pomp or circumstance. Just Coach Mack. You might have an idea that I didn’t care for coach Rick Pitino’s grand entrances. “Oh, your kicking a guy while he’s down.” Or, “It’s a part of college basketball’s pageantry.”

I’m saying Mack is a regular guy. Less ego. Easier to deal with. He’s already proven that with his Twitter feeds day and night. Fans love it. It’s the wave of the future. Pitino has one now, too.

There was never a man or woman in the University of Louisville press room that wasn’t on guard, particularity after a Cardinals’ loss, anxious that Pitino would explode after a question he didn’t feel had merit.

Yes, the sports media has reporters that have their own their own agenda. I’m sure in my years of reporting I’ve asked some doozies. I understand there is a lot of pressure on coaches and players, especially after a tough loss.

But don’t make things worse. I know some journalists will persist. Some should, others should not. Coaches are going to tell you what they want you to know. Most everything has a smoke screen anyway. I’ve always thought the facts support themselves.

Louisville struggled to beat a good Bellarmine team, especially in the first half, but did win. After the game it took Mack about 20 minutes or so before he arrived in the press room.

“I apologize for being late, the Bengals were kicking a field goal to win the game,” said Mack who drew laughter from the assembled media. “I have no problem with that. Or do I have a problem with Pitino who would watch the end of Minnesota’s games that his son coaches.

I’m sure coaches and players don’t appreciate the media second guessing every move they make. I could only imagine after a two plus hour basketball game of running jumping and having someone yell at you asking “Why didn’t you block out, or you ran the wrong way off the screen,” gets old.
Then comes the questioning from these so-called experts who never played the game, much less sprinted up and down a basketball court 45 to 50 times during the game.

So when Mack walked on the floor for his first time as UofL head coach what did he feel? “For the first four minutes when we didn’t have a basket, I wanted to go sit up I the stands with my wife and kids,” said Mack.

“No. It’s special I’ve said that any time I’ve interviewed. It’s one of the reason I’m sitting here before you guys how much this means to all of college basketball and certainly to the Louisville community and the University.”

I think it does mean a lot to Mack. He left his alma mater, Xavier, and Louisville basketball is somewhere in the top 10 or even top five of college basketball’s pecking order. “I coach with a lot of pride,” said Mack.

Mack remembered an exhibition game coaching against Bellarmine and coach Scott Davenport in 2010. His Xavier team led by 10 points at halftime only to lose to the Knights at the Cintas Center, 63-61.

“We lost to Bellarmine in nearly the same circumstances (as last Sunday),”said Mack. “They evaporated that lead and our guys didn’t play well that day. Most important thing is learning from it and moving forward.”

Davenport’s son, Doug, coached at Xavier in 2012 where he earned his Masters degree. He knows what Louisville fans should expect.
“I think what people will get from coach is they will become a very, very sound basketball team,” said Davenport. “A team you have to beat that won’t beat themselves. More games are lost than are outright won when you beat someone. More often or not one team loses.

“He’ll get his team so solid where you will have to beat them and that’s difficult to do. That’s difficult to do. Now I look at the polls and I just shake my head. Whoo, it is difficult.”

Now I know Mack is probably going to have his moments where he is unhappy with his team and the media, fans, etc. But one thing for sure. No more pomp and circumstance from The Godfather.

Scribe who predicted 10-2 for Louisville has had enough

By Ed Peak

I’ve had enough. My family has had enough. My neighbor has had enough. My neighbor’s cousin has had enough. Card nation has had enough. You get the picture.

Card Nation is ready to jump off the closest cliff. Louisville’s 66-31 loss to Georgia Tech Friday was……embarrassing. Depressing. Frustrating. Mind boggling.

I knew Louisville (2-4) would have a hard time defending Georgia Tech’s option attack. But not to the tune of 542 yards. Yellowjackets quarterback TaQuon Marshall made the Cardinals defense look like……..well. Nothing I’ve ever seen. Bad. Bad. Really bad.

Granted few teams run huge option as well and is difficult to stop. But this was not a stellar Tech team at 3-3. The win broke a seven game road losing streak.

You can dig deep into the Cardinals’ problems. On its opening possession Friday, quarterback Puma Pass had a wide open Mickey Crum only to over throw him on a fourth and one play from midfield.

I don’t have a problem with throwing the ball on fourth and one. But that is a telling sign. You can’t run one yard for a first down. I know, catch them off guard, which the Cards did.

Remember this Louisville team had first and goal at the Virginia three yard line and could score only a field goal.

Georgia Tech took over and drove right down the field for the first of 10 scores, nine touchdowns. The Yellowjackets had 547 yards of offense. They threw two passes. Tech never punted. Worst loss at Cardinal Stadium ever.

Continue reading “Scribe who predicted 10-2 for Louisville has had enough”

Nowhere to go but up for Louisville football

Okay, let’s get this out of the way now. Louisville got beat by a superior team Saturday night in the Camping World Kickoff.

“They’re very good,”said Louisville coach Bobby Petrino following the game. “There’s no question about that. Offense. Defense. Special teams. They out-coached us. So basically they beat us in all phases. It was a tough game. No doubt they were the better football team.”

Alabama’s offense scored, almost at will, the defense scored, as did the special teams. That about covers it all. There are reasons the Crimson Tide have won five of the last nine national championships. They have the best players, the best coach and the top program in the country. I don’t see the Crimson Tide losing many, if any, games this season.

As Petrino said after the game the Cardinals have to take this loss as a learning experience. The Cardinals have very winnable games the next two weeks in Indiana State and Western Kentucky.

“The biggest thing we have to do is learn from this,” said Petrino. “Learn from it come back next week and do better in practice. Understand where we didn’t execute. Our defense was on the field too long. It was a real difficult game for us.”

Continue reading “Nowhere to go but up for Louisville football”