First Down

U of L football is at a new beginning as we enter the fourth game of the season against Syracuse. The Cards have a 2-1 record, but have failed to live up to expectations. Most of us failed to appreciate what the loss of Coach Bobby Petrino and some exceptional players on defense (including three now in the NFL) would affect the defensive side of things. That, added to a new coaching staff, has created some confusion during the early going.

We should have known but were afraid to admit to ourselves that a coaching transition is not always smooth. Instead, we listened to our fellow fans on the Internet message boards and believed the pre-season polls that had U of L listed among the top 10 teams this year.

The first inkling that we weren’t possibly going to roll over people came in the opener against Murray State when a team that was 1-10 last year marched the ball 80 yard down the field for an early touchdown. The next week was much worst against Middle Tennessee State when they moved the ball almost at will against the Cards before we finally prevailed 58-42.

Then came the disaster against Kentucky with a player wide open on the final play to nail us with a 40-34 loss. We melted time and time again against a Kentucky offense, often lining up wrong and drawing penalties at the worst possible times.

But that’s history. Hopefully we begin the climb again tomorrow against a Syracuse team that is 0-3. I fear, however, that our struggles on defense may continue.

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Author: Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, as well as a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.

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