Tony Alford, Traveling Man

Moving from school to school is not uncommon for assistant football coaches. Shouldn’t be too much of  a shock that Tony Alford would leave the University of Louisville to accept a similar position at Notre Dame.tonyalford

Maybe he figured that Steve Kragthorpe probably has only one year at UofL unless Kragthorpe does the unexpected next season. More than likely, Alford just couldn’t resist an offer from Notre Dame, a school he described as “the epitome of college football.”

Whatever. His stint may be brief. It’s no secret that the Notre Dame faithful have their doubts about the future of Charlie Weis, the head coach. A 29-21 won-lost record after four seasons doesn’t please Irish fans, clinging now to their aging tradition for at least a decade.

For some reason, the many failed third-and-one and fourth-and-one-yard frustrations from last season come to mind.

John L Smith To Arkansas

A farm team providing football coaches to the Arkansas Razorbacks? Could be worse, not much, but worse.

Let’s not go there.

First, it was Bobby Petrino taking a circuitous route from Louisville through Atlanta and down to Fayetteville. The funny thing about it is that Petrino is still there a year after doing the whoo-pig-sooey cheer at a news conference.

Now, if WHAS-TV is right, John L. Smith, another former UofL coach, is headed to swine country to serve as an assistant to his old assistant. Going to be part of the defensive coaching staff.

Coach Bobby Petrino is scheduled to meet with media at 1:30 p.m. Friday. The press conference was scheduled 24 hours before reports of a coaching hire began circulating.

Petrino and Smith do have a history. In fact, Petrino was an assistant at Louisville for Smith, who had a 132-86 record in 18 seasons as a head coach. Smith was also head coach at Utah State and had Petrino as part of his staff there.

John L. has been co-hosting a daily radio show with Drew Deiner on WKRD in Louisville for several months, bouncing back after being shown the door at Michigan State.

One can only hope John L minds his manners and stifles any negative thoughts on his way out of town this time around.

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Tapping Into Florida Football

Evidently the Florida recruiting pipeline hasn’t completely dried up, as some seem to have concluded. The University of Louisville has landed a commitment from defensive back Richard Lee, a player at powerful Lakeland Lake Gibson High School. That’s Richard “Champ” Lee, mind you, and he’s the fifth UofL recruit from Florida.

Lee is a cousin of Cardinal running back Bilal Powell, who probably encouraged him to choose Louisville over such schools as Purdue, West Virginia, South Florida, Ball State and Central Florida. He has a 4.5 speed for the 40.

Here’s what Florida Football says about Lee:

“This hard-hitting safety prospect is truly unique in the fact that he can play cornerback – if needed – and with his size and strength, it seems almost unfair to see him matched against receivers who are nowhere as physical and impressive as he is.

“Lee is one of those football players who use his knowledge, strength and athletic ability. He knows plenty about the game, has been taught and coached extremely well, and will certainly be one of those talents that in a few years from now, many will wonder how he ever got away from the bigger schools in Florida, who thirst of a big time playmaker with size and speed!”

Keep that Florida spigot turned on, and the outlook will improve, quickly.

Time To Reign In The Grousing

By Charlie Springer

Lots of people wanting to prolong the drama about the University of Louisville football coaching staff these days. Some seem to think that if they make enough noise Tom Jurich is going to change his mind about giving Steve Kragthorpe another year.

Yeah, like that’s really going happen. Reign it in a bit, folks, get behind the program. If it doesn’t work out, a new coach will arrive just in time for an expanded stadium.

People have always grumbled about losing. They just didn’t have Internet message boards to commiserate and commiserate, rehash and rehash the same old arguments, over and over and over again. The negativism is bound to wear thin sooner or later, leaving only the most  obnoxious to communicate, each attempting to be more nastier than the next.

Everybody else willl move on.

Unfortunately that’s down the road a bit. The sad thing about it is that all the bitching is bound to have a negative impact on recruiting.

This observer wants Kragthorpe to be successful. Not expecting any major turn around next season, but anticipating some signs of progress. If it’s not to be, one will look forward to supporting the next coaching regime.

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Found this bit on sanity on Brian Bennett’s Big East blog:

Kevin Fritz from Louisville writes: With Latarrius Thomas and Matt Simms leaving Louisville, plus the growing turnover of coaches exiting and possibly being demoted, isn’t it obvious that Steve Kragthorpe has lost control of this program and needs to gracefully exit now? That way a new coach can be brought in and salvage what could be one of the school’s worst recruiting classes in recent memory.

Brian Bennett: That would be a wild overreaction. Nobody likes to lose players, but Matt Simms probably wasn’t going to start anyway, and Thomas has been plagued by injuries. The program will survive their defections.

And a little more on Tom Heiser’s Courier-Journal fan blog:

Simms’ big shot to make a name for himself next year, or even insinuate himself into a quarterback controversy this past season, went about as smoothly as his Tin Man delivery … With the addition of N.C. State transfer Justin Burke (the presumed heir apparant), JUCO standout Adam Froman, plus holdovers Tyler Wolfe and Zach Stoudt, the Cards are already employing the “kitchen sink” strategy at reviving the offense. One marginal, discipline-deficient signal caller off the roster is no great tragedy.

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Closing Chapter For Brohms?

By Charlie Springer

Jeff Brohm is a huge question mark as Coach Steve Kragthorpe continues the shuffling of the University of Louisville football coaching staff, hoping to find the combination to get things headed in the right direction.

Since no one in authority will say Brohm is returning as offensive coordinator, fans must assume Jeff is gone. That would leave only one member of the Brohm family still with the program, former wide receiver Greg Brohm serving as director of football operations.

That can’t be a very pleasant situation for Greg or any of the Brohm family members who have invested so much time and emotion in the program. The university owes much to the Brohms. If anyone is looking out for Jeff, they also need to be taking care of Greg. Not much of a stretch to suggest he may be leaving as well.

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Safety Latarrius Thomas is the latest to announce that he will be leaving the team, telling Courier-Journal reporter C. L. Brown he wanted either to follow former U of L defensive coordinator Ron English to Eastern Michigan or to reunite with Bobby Petrino at Arkansas. But he said U of L head coach Steve Kragthorpe would not grant him a release to either school.

“He gave me his reasons why I should stay,” said Thomas of his meeting with the coach. “It wasn’t a bad meeting, we’re not on bad terms. I’m pretty sure he’d like for me to stay here, I just don’t feel like it’s the right place for me anymore.”

His explanation, or lack of one, provides plenty of fodder for the detractors. LT could have helped clarify some of the issues but he leaves everyone to decide for themselves.

*   *   *

Some people perform best when their backs are against the wall.

One would hope that applies to Kragthorpe and the three new assistants – Larry Slade, Brent Guy and Jay Johnson – who were announced on Wednesday. They have nothing to lose, coming as they are from programs that were losing while they were at Tennessee, Utah State and Southern Miss, respectively.

Instead of being met by the Welcome Wagon, they arrive in Possibility City to the spectacle of a growing clan of newly-and-self-appointed football experts from a school that only recently joined the BCS club who consider the cause lost before they begin.

Nothing new for these guys: They know fans aren’t friends, and you’re not going to win any popularity contests until you win football games.   Again, welcome to Louisville. Take the naysayers in stride, defy some incredible odds.

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