Season slip sliding away for UofL football

Probably the most disheartening thing about Louisville’s 23-20 loss to UConn is the distinct impression that this team hasn’t gotten much better since the opening game.

The high point of the season was that 36-7 lead over North Carolina in the first half, a game fizzling into a three-point squeaker with UNC moving the ball at will in the second half. The 45-35 win over Pitt was decent, but not a real feel good memory.

Yes, it’s a young team, and the reminders become more frequent with each loss.

There was never a game after which one could say that UofL had decisively put another team away. One should feel great after getting off to a 9-0 start, but one was still uncomfortable. There was always the reality of so many glaring defiencies.

Great quarterbacking with Terry Bridgewater, for sure, but just so many flaws and weaknesses on defense. Now we know why Charlie Strong kept recruiting so many linebackers during the off season over running backs.

“The goal is to finish out the season the right way,” said Charlie Strong. “You are here and you have a group of seniors and you want to go out and finish the season right for them. We have to play better. We didn’t play very well today. When you look at us on offense, we were not able to protect the quarterback. We were unable to run the ball early in the game…”

The coach is pretty good at telling us what happened, not so good about why things do or don’t happen.

If there was a contradiction in Saturday’s game, it was that the defense held UConn to only 10 points during regulation. Believe it or not, UConn managed only 149 yards rushing and 92 through the air.

Bridgewater wasn’t the quarterback fans are used to seeing, and neither were his receivers. So many passes hitting the groud in front of receivers, so many overthrown to potential receivers, and so many dropping off the finger tips of receivers.

Was it the 35-degree temperatures for the Florida receivers? One wondered early on whether Bridgewater was even at full strength.

Not the kind of offensive confidence that has been so prevalent during the season. He was constantly under pressure in the first half, taking a pounding, injuring his left wrist, getting crushed time after time in the second. But he kept returning to the field, getting his team back into a position to win, only to throw the interception at the end.

Will Stein had the opportunity for a storybook finish on senior day but his shortcomings were too much for him to overcome.  Stein’s lack of progress over four seasons a reminder of how little this team has improved after 11 games.

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.

16 thoughts on “Season slip sliding away for UofL football”

  1. I have to admit… Uconn’s defense man handled us. They gave up some big plays but their defense played with such aggression over the entire game. They wanted it and we looked lost out there for almost the entire game. If it wasn’t for a blown off side call by the refs and a great catch that could have been called out of bounds we may not have made it to the first overtime. Worst of all what does this say about the ACC and a possible move? We will be somewhere, someday. But we have to look everyone in the eye and say we lost to Uconn, again. What are we 5-4 against them in the last 9 years? Not good enough to declare us being superior to them.

      1. The sad thing is that there are Louisville blogs out there that actually proposed (tongue and cheek albeit) that. They thought this was going to be an easy win when in actuality I think more and more our 9-2 record is a mirage of not playing anyone of substance.

  2. Just a note… he was inbounds but with things being so close they could have called it the other way and not had enough to overturn it.

  3. It was the pathetic offensive line that lost the game not so much the UConn d. A 4-5 team. Many times bridgewater was hit in touched. Left tackle and others missed so many tackles it was ridiculous. O line owes Teddy big time. They sucked

  4. A huge concern has to light up in your head, if you really follow football.

    1) Coach Strong is just like Kragthorpe, having a history of losing games at home that he should have easily won. He lost a bowl to NC State, also.
    2) his coaching staff was not prepared enough to win the game against a team that had lost its prior 5 games.
    3) The defense has never been very good at all over the three year tenure.
    4) Speacial teams are inferior.
    5) Coach Strong has been an average coach at best.
    6) Hurt’s recruiting is the only high point so far.
    7) Bottom line, we had a weak schedule this year that a good coach could have run with our talent level.

    I am not slamming Coach Strong, I hope ever thing works out. However, he has much to improve on as a head coach. I would not extend his contract until at least year 5.

    1. 8) puzzling offensive play calling. 1st and goal from the two- roll out for stein results in -6 yards and ultimately a field goal. Should’ve been a TD.

      9) Bad o-line making Bridgewater run for his life and get the snot beat out of him. Didn’t see any adjustments during the game. Same things occurred even in the OTs

      1. We held UCONN to 10 points for the entire game until OT, I’m not sure we could have hoped for anything more out of the Defense. Recievers were dropping easy passes, and Teddy for some reason kept going for these long plays even though we had been dropping them all night. We should have stuck to the mid-range plays after the 2nd qt.

  5. You look at a young team at the beginning of the season, and then again at the end of the year. What do you expect to see? Progress, of course. Isn’t happening.
    Can’t blame major injuries, really, though we’ve had a couple. Can we blame the freshmen and sophomores? Nah, our kids are as good as they come. Can we blame the schedule? No, it was pretty weak, nationally-speaking.
    So–how about effective game plans, being organized on the field, making adjustments during the game? Are we getting warmer now? It’s time for changes, and I’m not betting on getting any changes where it matters. How about you, readers?

  6. Uconn has the best defense in the Big East. 10th in the country against the rush. Their offense is horrible though. Can’t figure out what happened to Louisville’s defense this year. Top 15 against the run last year.

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