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.

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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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Say Goodbye To Matt Simms

Back when Steve Kragthorpe suspended quarterback Matt Simms for the first four games of the 2008 football season, one wondered whether he would be around much longer.

Simms may have been seen the writing on the wall, probably sealed by Louisville’s successful recruitment of quarterback Adam Froman from Santa Rosa Junior College. Kragthorpe never seemed eager to play Simms, using him briefly in the Pittsburgh loss.

The word comes from Rick Bozich’s blog:

No official word on where Simms is headed, although it will probably be a junior college, where he would play for one season before returning to a Division I-A school without a year of inactivity.

His mother arrived from New Jersey to help him pack his belongings and head home today. Simms had returned to Louisville after the holidays for nearly a week. He worked out with teammates at the Trager Center for several days before making his decision to leave.

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We thought dad Phil Simms’ reaction was strangely guarded Sunday during a CBS broadcast of an NFL wildcard game when he was asked about the UofL-UK rivalry. “I grew up in Louisville,” he said. End of conversation.

Assist To Kragthorpe

By Charlie Springer

Football coaches lead a rough life, especially when the won-lost record doesn’t meet expectations. The three new assistants being added to Steve Kragthorpe’s University of Louisville staff are fully aware of the challenges facing the program. They’ve been around football and fans their entire lives.

The new coaches are Larry Slade, former defensive assistant at Tennessee, Brent Guy, former head coach at Utah State, and Jay Johnson, a former offensive coordinator at Southern Mississippi. larry_slade

Slade, an assistant to Phil Fulmer for 10 years, was in charge of the defensive  backs. This past season the Tennessee defense ranked fourth in the country in pass defense and tied for third nationally in total defense, allowing an average of 18 points per game. Before Tennessee, Slade spent five seasons at Texas A&M from 1994-98. His 1997 unit allowed a nation’s best three passing touchdowns.

“Larry is one of the most-respected defensive back coaches in the nation,” said Kragthorpe. “I worked with Larry at Texas A&M and he is one of the best I’ve ever been around.”

GBrent_Guyuy joins the Cardinals after spending four seasons as head coach at Utah State.  Guy went to Utah State from Arizona State where he was the defensive coordinator for four years. “Brent has a proven track record playing great defense wherever he has coached,” said Kragthorpe. “He had great success at Arizona State as a defensive coordinator and can add a lot of expertise to that side of the football.”

Johnson spent last season as an administrative assistant with UofL after spending five years at Southern Mississippi where, under his guidance, the Jay_Johnson Golden Eagles established a school record for total offense in 2007 with 5,066. “I’ve known Jay for a long time and he has an excellent offensive mind,” said Kragthorpe. “His teams at Southern Miss where very successful and explosive.”

Joining a program coming off two consecutive disappointing seasons requires confidence in the head coach and in your own abilities

Welcome to the University of Louisville, guys. We’re all in this together.

The Play That Will Be Remembered

While Trying To Drown The Sorrows

Courtesy of University of Louisville senior cornerback Travis Norton: His dreadlock tackle of Rutgers running back Jourdan Brooks will go down as one of the highlights of the 2008  football season. There were a few other highlights and low lights, of course, but this is the play that will be remembered: