Tomorrow, tomorrow is always a day away, even for UofL football

By Keith Thomerson

The Louisville Cardinals lost. Way too many mistakes to beat a good Alabama football team, or any other football team.

The sun came up on Sunday and as I look out my home-office window, the sun is shining again. We must remember the game is played by 18 to 22-year-old young men. They make mistakes just like we all did and continue to do. They, as we have, will learn from those mistakes. The coaching staff will help them solve those mistakes and go on to the next game.

As a teenager, I tore an important three-paragraph piece out of a church bulletin. It has meant so much to me over the years and every time someone wants to criticize anything, I read it. The author is unknown.

“The galleries are full of critics. They play no ball. They fight no fights. They make no mistakes because they attempt nothing. Down in the arena are the doers. They make mistakes because they attempt many things.

“The person who makes no mistakes lacks boldness and the spirit of adventure. They are the ones who never tries anything. They are the brake on the wheel of progress.

“And yet it cannot be truly said, they make no mistakes because the biggest mistake they make is the very fact that they try nothing, do nothing, except criticize those who do things.”

The Louisville football team will get to play another game on Saturday. Hopefully, the mistakes will have been fixed.

Ho hum, familiar cast of characters for college football playoffs

Its the time of year when I unveil my college football final four and teams to watch. I’ll blindly predict who will be in the college football playoff. When I say blindly. I mean blindly.

I haven’t seen any of these teams play a game. I couldn’t if I wanted to because practices are closed to most everyone. Even if I could I couldn’t gather much from practice because after all it is just. Practice.

Let’s get this out of the way right away. Alabama is No. 1 in just about every preseason poll. They should be. It doesn’t take a genius to figure that out. The Crimson Tide have one of the best coaches of all time in Nick Saban and have had 10 top 10 finishes and won five of the last nine national championships.

According to the Alabama media guide, the Crimson Tide return 12 starters, seven on defense, three on offense and two specialist. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but believe me Bama has players, as will quickly become obvious against the University of Louisville on Saturday.

Continue reading “Ho hum, familiar cast of characters for college football playoffs”

Petrino not backing off prediction about beating Alabama

Cindy Rice Shelton photo

The question was predictable so Coach Bobby Petrino was not insulted when a sportswriter asked on cue if Petrino still believed the University of Louisville football team could compete with Alabama.

“How do you know if you’ve succeeded (in convincing players they can beat Alabama)? Do you not know until game day?”

Most memorable was that 63-20 romp over 10th-ranked Florida State during the 2016 season. No one, not even Petrino, saw that one coming.

Questions for a man who has made motivating college football players his livelihood, entering his 31st year of collegiate coach, his 14th year as a head coach and his 10th year in Louisville (including a year as offensive coordinator). He owns a career record of 117-48 (.709) in 13 seasons.

No correct answer really but Petrino is courteous and respectful, knowing his team will be paying attention to the response, noting that the key is going into the game with confidence.

“One of the things that helps your confidence is that you really understand what you’re doing,” he said. “You study and know the game plan, and then you’re ready to go execute it.

“It’s not like it’s a new thing. It’s the same thing you try to do for every game. Part of your job as a coach is to get your players to believe you can go out there and win the game, to get your players to believe during the game that you’re going to win the game. That’s a big part of coaching.”

But how do you know you’re ready, comes the followup question from the same reporter.

A big grin from Petrino, the kind of confirmation that comes from a coach who recognizes the opportunity that comes from playing the No. 1 team in the country.

“Well, you go and play the game,” he said. “Here we go, time to do it!”

Easy to say, harder to do. Petrino is 5-14 against ranked teams at Louisville, the most recent losses coming to third-ranked Clemson and 24th-ranked North Carolina State last season.

The most impressive performance was that 63-20 romp over 10th-ranked Florida State during the 2016 season. No one, not even Petrino, saw that one coming.

Football coaches come and go, but Charlie Strong stays

The college football coaching carousel is getting set to start up again, probably in a big way if the University of Texas is able to lure Nick Saban away from Alabama. If the Crimson Tide feels threatened, no program is immune from the poaching.

One sure bet is that Bobby Petrino, currently at Western Kentucky University, is surveying the landscape, anticipating a quick exit from Bowling Green. One year may not be penitence enough for Bobby, but some big name program won’t be able to restrain its ambitions. If winning is the ultimate objective, that offer could come from anywhere.

The University of Cincinnati, which seems to lose its head coach every other year, may be safe this time around. Or maybe not, with Tommy Tuberville possibly interested in returning to the Southeastern Conference. Too bad for Kentucky which hired someone else a year too early. He might have been a good fit in Lexington.

Charlie Strong’s name will appear on a couple of short lists but those are wish lists, not to be taken seriously. Strong is already one of the top 10 highest paid coaches in the country. His boss Tom Jurich has taken some other precautionary steps to encourage his coach’s continued loyalty, including keeping Clint Hurtt on staff and commissioning a feasibility study on stadium expansion.

Jurich himself rejected overtures from Texas for the athletic director’s post, which many would consider one of the top jobs in the country. Texas fans certainly think so. But there are too many bosses and second-guessers in Texas for anyone to ever satisfy many of them when it comes to football. We suspect Charlie Strong would make a similar decision if Texas were to start looking this way.

Dedicated see UofL beat Alabama in 14th inning

Adam Engel slides back into first base safely. He would steal a base in the 14th inning and score the winning run against Alabama when Cole Sturgeon got a bases-loaded walk.
Adam Engel slides back into first base safely. He stole second in the 14th inning and scored the winning run against Alabama when Cole Sturgeon got a bases-loaded walk, giving UofL a 4-3 win in the first game of a three-game series.

Fourteen innings of baseball in 40-degree temperatures (wind chill of 30) on Friday were a severe test for hardened University of Louisville baseball fans who endured a 14-inning marathon against Alabama.

Seats in the sun were prized possessions for individuals among the 1,659 spectators. The new right and left field seating sections, which featured sunshine, were packed, with entire sections of empty seats under the roof. When the sun moved, the fans followed, moving higher up to catch a semblance, any semblance, of warmth.

As the game went into extra inning, the sun disappeared, and the lights came on, many of the fans headed for their vehicles, swearing that the game would never end. The faithful few, a couple of hundred, were rewarded with a 4-3 win over the Crimson Tide when Alabama pitcher forced in the winning run on a bases-loaded walk to Cole Sturgeon.

Louisville starting right hander Chad Green pitched seven full innings, giving up three runs (none of them earned) on a couple of errors in the second inning. Kyle McGrath was on the mound when the game finally ended. Relievers Anthony Kidston and Nick Burdi each provided three innings of solid relief.

Sixty degree temps expected for Saturday’s 1 p.m start.