Ready Or Not

Enjoying the solitude, football fans?

Thanks to recent basketball success, the unprecedented level of attacks on the University of Louisville football coaching staff finally quieted down.  Temporary relief for Steve Kragthorpe, allowing him to focus on creating synergy among the six new members of the coaching staff, the returning players and the transfers.

The lull will end Friday night when Kragthorpe oversees the annual spring scrimmage, 7:30 at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.

Format has the offense against the defense, offense scoring points for touchdowns and field goals, the defense with points for changes of possession, fumbles, interceptions and defensive scores.

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Kragthorpe has yet to decide on a starting quarterback. That could be very good or very bad.

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Fans will get their first look at redshirt freshman Darius Ashley who, as a running back at Cincinnati St. X, rushed for 1,583 yards and 17 touchdowns during his senior year.

How does that compare with Victor Anderson’s senior numbers? Anderson carried the ball more than 1,400 yards and 22 touchdowns during his last season at Louisville St. X.

In one scrimmage, Ashley gained 28 yards on 17 carries, including 70 yards for a touchdown.

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One of the major disappointments last season was the failure of Bilal Powell to live up to expectations, managing only 354 yards on 75 carries. Powell, a junior, was considered one of the top running back prospects in the country when he was recruited, rushing for 1,960 yards and 26 touchdowns as a high school senior.

Cards at Cardboard Heroes

The following stirs twinges of emotion, players growing up, getting on with the lives:

Four former University of Louisville stars will be signing their autographs this week at Cardboard Heroes in the Mall of St. Matthews.

  • Andre McGee and Earl Clark will be there today, from 6 to 8 p.m.. Tickets will be $20 for both players. 8×10 photos will be available for purchase.
  • You can catch Terrence Williams at the store between 6 and 8 p.m. on Wednesday.
  • On Saturday, Harry Douglas, now a wide receiver with the Atlanta Falcons, will be signing from 2 to 3 p.m.

The cost is 10 dollars per item signed, whatever that item may be (photos, basketballs, jerseys, etc).  So if you bring a basketball and a photo, you’ll need to buy two tickets to get both items signed.

Cardboard Heroes will have photos available for purchase ($9.95).  There aren’t any free photos at this event so if you don’t want to buy one, you’ll need to bring your own item/photo to sign.

Your Papa John’s Update

stadium_march_091Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium expansion is moving along fine, thank you. Not a construction expert by any means but the ear-piercing  clanking sounds while the observer was there probably means that steel supports were being installed and that concrete will be coming soon.

Here’s your spring football practice schedule after today:

spring-practice-schedule

Saturday Football Returns

The 2009 University of Louisville football schedule has been released, a development sure to arouse the cynics while stimulating another round of bad-mouthing. Gonna be that way until the program gets back on a winning track.2009-schedule1

The good news is that football Saturdays are mostly back for Louisville fans. Only one week night game, that one against Pittsburgh, the second home opponent, on Friday, Oct. 2. The not-so-good news is that this is the only game scheduled for national television. That’s what happens when a program goes south for a while.

The season begins Labor Day weekend, on Sept. 5th with the Cards hosting Indiana State, giving the Cards a couple of weeks to prepare for Kentucky on Sept. 19th. Two games would have been better but Tom Jurich apparently had problems getting an opponent for the intervening Saturday. One can count on the annual obstructions surrounding the telecast of the Louisville-Kentucky game.

Good to see Southern Mississippi back on the schedule, renewing a good rivalry with a respected football program.

Spring practice begins Sunday at 4 p.m. at the football practice field north of Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.

Deduct Six Points For Taunting?

The NCAA football rules committee is reportedly considering a rules change that would erase the six points after a touchdown if taunting is involved. Currently, the offending team incurs a 15-yard penalty on the ensuing kickoff. If the rule is changed, the penalty yardage would be marked off from the spot of the foul.

I know, I know, someone is going to comment that won’t be a problem at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium next season. But that’s being a bit cynical, especially with Victor Anderson returning.

Changing the rule would be a bad idea. Taunting is not a major problem in college football so why even consider such a change? It just doesn’t occur that often, and the current penalty discourages the behavior.

So why would they even consider a change? One would have to suspect the dynamics of a committee are at work here. A group of coaches getting together during the off-season, expected to make some recommendations on improving the rules. They don’t have many ideas but they want to leave their mark. Suddenly one committee member goes off on a tangent, railing about taunting. Yeh, yeh, it’s bad, let’s do something about that.

Football is a rugged game, packed with emotional highs and lows. Taunting is not a good thing but expecting young men at their prime not to show any emotion is unrealistic. Some officials could interpret the act of excited players jumping up and down after a touchdown as excessive celebration. It has happened.

The punishment just doesn’t fit the crime.

If the rules committee wanted to make a difference, they could address the problem of the time-consuming and momentum-killing television timeouts. They would get a lot of support from fans, especially those in the stadium sitting through all of the commercials.

Link:   Taunting on scoring plays might wipe out TD’s