Good Ship Kragthorpe

To the tune of Shirley Temple’s ‘Good Ship Lollipop’

By Sonja Sykes

On the good ship Steve Kragthorpe
There’s a great big wish and a lot of hope

That they’ll turn it around.. and sail into a bowl town.

There’s been chances and they’ve fallen short
And a definite loss of fan support…
But the players still say that they believe in Koach all the way.

And if the candy coated dreams of fans could all come true
We’d have a lot
of linemen, linebackers and safeties, too
Throw in som
e wide receivers, true believers and a kicker or two.
And while yo
u’re at it, how about a clone of Pat White..Ooh!

But the truth is, we won’t get all that
Maybe a couple of guys who’ll wear a Cardinal hat
On signing day.
4 or 5 star prospects we all pray.

And whatever the Rutgers game should bring
Be assured Tom Jurich won’t change a thing
Cause it’s rebuilding time
And a 5-7 record isn’t a crime.

So enjoy those trips on the road next year
To Lexington and the Mountaineers
And the warm Tampa Bay
Or the place where the Huskies play.

We may get kicked around…and lose all four…
But there is one thing we know for sure
It’s the Cards golden rule…
Don’t you know we’re a basketball school?

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Moderator Here: More great work from Sonja.  The part about being a basketball school stings a bit for fans who have invested so much time and resources into the football program, recognizing that football success is integral for maintaining national respect for a university’s overall athletic program.

*   *   *

Volleyball Conference Champs: The women’s volleyball team may have something to say about that, too, after winning the Big East Conference tournament Sunday.

Jana Matiasovska’s 21 kills and career high six blocks earned her the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player as she led the Cardinals to a 3-1 win over Notre Dame for the University of Louisville’s second tournament crown in three years..

The Cardinals (18-10) earn the Big East’s automatic bid and will make their 11th straight NCAA appearance and their 19th overall.

Football Pokes And Ponderings

We’ll get around to basketball, and what may be a milestone season. It’s not that time quite yet. Too much unfinished business with University of Louisville football.

— Where is Trent Guy these days, the most potent offensive threat behind Victor Anderson? Apparently he cracked a rib during the Pittsburgh loss. But that information has been buried beneath the discussion over the coaching situation.

— Why was Matt Simms or any other backup not given any snaps while Hunter Cantwell was struggling with his accuracy during the West Virginia game? Watching Cantwell keep being sent back into the game in the fourth quarter was agonizing, knowing nothing productive was going to occur. But still there was Matt Simms clapping, jumping up and down on the sideline, wanting something to happen.

See Sonja’s report on
Lady Cards’ win over Xavier

— Much has been made of Tom Jurich’s comments about fans during the hubbub over the coaching issue. Tom may be a genius but he is lacking in some basic public relations skills. While teams are winning, the Vice President of Athletics can say just about anything he wants and get away with it. But when the losses are piling up, it’s a different story. Yeah, there are more than a few dense ones in the fan base. But you don’t call them out and expect them to admit it. Nor do you risk offending more responsible fans who may think you’re including them with the bad apples.

— The first sign that a fan may be missing a few marbles is when he or she fails to recognize all that Tom Jurich has made possible at the University of Louisville over the past decade. But when a fan suggests that Jurich leave because of the football situation, that should mark the end of the conversation. Not about to start listing all of the achievements UofL has made with Jurich at the helm, far too many of them. Jurich is the person U of L needs to dig its way back out of the football crater.

— When huge segments of a fan base don’t show up because things are not going well or because it’s cold, raining or a game is played on a week night, the fan base has not quite arrived. Tom Jurich is the best chance of making that possible at the University of Louisville.

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White Out: West Virginia 35, Louisville 21

Twenty-two seniors leaving the ranks soon. If the University of Louisville football program was in rebuilding mode up to now, it will enter still another phase next season. One  hesitates to put a label on it, more of a forced denial than anything else.

— Sad to see players Brock Bolen, Bobby Buchanan, Eric Wood, Earl Heyman, Adrian Grady, Maurice Mitchell bowing out to polite applause. Wonder how that affected all the recruits on hand. Swaying stuff, not in a good way.

— Difficult to find the official or announced attendance for today’s game but, whatever it was, it was far higher than anyone could have anticipated. At least double the number of UofL fans at today’s game than at Ron Cooper’s last game in 1996. West Virginia did its part with 3,000-plus, all but outnumbering Card fans at the bitter end.

— The good thing for quarterback Hunter Cantwell is that it’s almost over. He’s having his moments in the spotlight but he can’t do anything with them. Cantwell’s most impressive play was tackling a West Virginia player who had picked off the last of his three interceptions. Cantwell has probably had more passes intercepted than any Louisville quarterback in the modern era (1960’s forward).

— Definite plus for the future of Louisville football is that Pat White is a senior. He would have to use UofL to set the all-time rushing mark for quarterback, accumulating 200 yards and three touchdowns on 21 carries, throwing for 122 yards and two other touchdowns.

–West Virginia players jumping up and down on the Cardinal logo: classless. Louisville punishing teams that do that: just a memory.

— Sorry Steve Kragthorpe. Everybody wants you to succeed. Really, we do.  But it’s not working out. Even the most vile, nasty-tongued critics would have crawled back on the bandwagon with a win over West Virginia. Tied 7-7 at halftime, few signs of life in the second half. Still another opportunity peters away. So many seniors, too few indications of improvement.

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One More Test Of Louisville Football Loyalty

Before anyone else gets the urge to call, the observer doesn’t want or need any more tickets to the Louisville-West Virginia football game. Season ticket holder here for 40 years. Two tickets are all we need, but thanks.

People giving up tickets is not good. Twice today, individuals have offered them. Gonna be too cold, they say, adding something to the effect that the Cards will get creamed. The encouraging part is they said they want the tickets to be used and will offer them to someone else. That would be a positive thing.

The Louisville football team could very well “get creamed” on Saturday. But even more embarrassing would be an excess of empty seats belonging to people claiming to be ardent UofL fans. The ultimate test of loyalty is a game in which the Cards are sure underdogs, with a coach under fire, with a losing season looming for the first time in over a decade, and with temperatures in the low forties.

People who will show up for game under these conditions are the diehards. Their affinity for the university extends beyond personalities, temporary setbacks, and controversy. A game actually provides relief from the arguments about who did what, for whom, why, who’s right, who’s wrong, who’s smart, who’s dumb and what will happen during the off season. They are more than diehards, they are the foundation, the people you know you can count on whatever the future holds for Louisville football.

They are well aware that this team has nothing to lose. Nothing to lose, unless you count the 22 seniors who will be playing in their final Louisville football game at home. The Cards have compiled a 32-15 record during their time here, including an Orange Bowl win and a Gator Bowl appearance. And, yes, they know the young men will be playing their hearts out for them.

Plus, it’s the last college football game in Louisville for another 10 months. Basketball can help fill the sports vacuum but it’s not football. Plenty of reasons to put those football tickets to good use.

Victor Anderson: Ready Or Not?

Injuries to key personnel on the University of Louisville football team’s defensive side of the line have been well documented. Unless we missed it, however, there has not been convincing assurance from the coaching staff that Victor Anderson will be ready to go full speed against West Virginia.

The seemingly indestructible Anderson went down with a shoulder injury late in the Cincinnati game and never returned. Normally, no news would be good news. But over the past two seasons, UofL fans have been conditioned to expect the worst. Without Anderson around, the offense will struggle more than it has up to this point.

Anderson is Louisville’s most reliable offensive threat. Lately he had even been returning kickoffs, replacing Trent Guy, whose playing time has been reduced to a handful of plays.

One would hope that no news is good news. Just once would be encouraging.

Where is Walter Peacock when we need him?

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Clueless Blackout – Still mystified as to why Saturday’s game has been designated as a “Black Out” game, as are at least two other Card fanatics Frankpos at Hell In The Hall and Mike Rutherford over at Card Chronicle.

As Frankpos puts it:

“I’d like to know the PR genius who came up with this gem. Calling for a Black-Out game against West Virginia is so wrong in so many ways. But the worst is that it vividly draws a comparison between one of the greatest moments in Louisville football history…and where we stand now.

“Asking/ordering pissed off fans to do this is one of the most asinine things I have seen during the Kragthorpe era…and lord knows, there have been some mighty PR blunders during his two-year reign.”

Rutherford is a little kinder, but not much:

“I have no idea when this decision was made, but I’m assuming it was at some point within the last seven days. That’s not nearly enough time for this to have any chance of looking respectable … The vast majority of the fan base is already all sorts of pissed off and far more likely to be annoyed by this type of request than in seasons’ past.”

The big question in this observer’s mind is who handles public relations for the football team. Does anyone? There’s a huge difference between a sports information director and a public relations person. Don’t see PR listed anywhere on the organization chart.

Don’t look now but it’s snowing. Mother Nature apparently doesn’t agree either.