Report: Cardinal Stadium cabooses safe for now

Halfway through another one of those long hot summers and, thus far, UofL has managed to avoid any of those mid-summer controversies that seemed to plague UofL over the last decade. One of those boring long hot summers, thank goodness.

Six weeks to go, however, keeping the fingers crossed.

College athletics being what they, disruption of the status quo is a constant threat, often lingering beneath the surface, capable of surfacing at any time. No word from the NCAA about the after effects of the FBI probe and how Louisville basketball will be impacted.

The University of Louisville baseball team kept the excitement going until late June, reaching the College World Series for the fifth time in 13 seasons. This time making to college baseball’s final four before losing to Vanderbilt, the eventual national champion.

Not much else for UofL fans to get excited about unless one closely follows  the recruitment on unpredictable teenage athletes. The most significant news has been the announcement from Athletic Director Vince Tyra that approximately 42,000 seats are being painted at Cardinal Stadium this summer.

Apparently the threat of Cardinal Stadium losing the cabooses that emerged in mid-March has gone away. The UofL Athletic Association was threatening not to renew the leases of the 14 cabooses, making only about $15,000 annually in that prime space.

The word from a source close to the situation told Card Game this week that “Maury (Buchart, who owns the cabooses) is keeping them, the U has kinda let it go. too many big donors complained, status quo for a while.”

So that’s good news, at least on the game day atmosphere front. Maybe not so great from the revenue raising side.

Stay tuned. Dog days of summer straight ahead.

Fearless predictions for 2019 Louisville football season

By Ed Peak

Yes. I got way too excited last year thinking about the 2018 college football season. I predicted 10-2 for Louisville, which heralded “Speed City” on the cover of the media guide.

The only speed I saw was how fast Athletic Director Vince Tyra got Bobby Petrino and run his mess out out of town. You know the stories too well. Whether the team quit on Bobby or Bobby quit on the team. Debatable.

I got 10 but in the wrong column. Barely got victories over Division I-A Indiana State and Western Kentucky. It was a long frustrating season for Card Nation. The Cardinals were hard pressed to stop anyone. Heck, the defense, which returns eight starters, gave up 50 points, seven times.

Offensively, Louisville never settled on its starting quarterback. Junior Jawon Pass and sophomore Malik Cunngham exchanged good and bad games as they flipped in and out of the starting lineup.

Enough about the worst season in Cardinal football. Let’s take a brief look at the upcoming season. First year coach Scott Satterfield started changing the culture around the program the day he arrived. Had to, it was so bad.

A proven winner at Appalachian State of the Sun Belt Conference, the Mountaineers, won three straight conference titles and three bowl games.
The over under for wins this season is four. I think optimistically five is the number. Why? Louisville has talent and some grad players and transfers. Except for Notre Dame and Clemson, I don’t see any dominent teams on the schedule.

As bad as the Cardinals were, I think with a few breaks and some confidence building by the coaches in a new atmosphere, the Louisville can be competitive.

We will find out in the opener, Sunday, September 2nd, against the Irish. Eastern Kentucky, Western Kentucky in Nashville should be wins. Florida State in Tallahassee doesn’t scare teams like it used to do. Coach Willie Taggert is still finding his way in Seminole Country.

Boston College and at Wake Forest are winnable games. Clemson is not. The defending national champions come to The Ville looking for another title down the road. Virginia won’t be easy and Miami will have a first year head coach in Manny Diez.

North Carolina State is always tough in Raleigh. Syracuse had a breakout season last year. As usual rival Kentucky at Krogrer Field finishes the season. The Wildcats are better now, but who knows by the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

A 6-6 finish and a bowl game is asking a little much. But keep your fingers crossed. My prediction 5-7, with wins over Eastern Kentucky, Western Kentucky, Boston College, Syracuse, and Wake Forest. Losses to Notre Dame, Clemson, Miami, North Carolina State, and (gag) Kentucky. Florida State is a toss-up.

The long grind back to respectability for UofL football begins this season.

Satterfield quietly maintaining focus on Louisville football

Scott Satterfield on the mound for the University of Louisville (Photo by Jared Anderson).

Some polite applause as Scott Satterfield took to the mound on Tuesday for the ceremonial first pitch prior to the University of Louisville-Vanderbilt baseball game. After a quick acknowledgment, throwing a perfect strike into Zeke Pinkham’s mitt.

Strictly business, watching a few innings before heading back to the Howard Schnellenberger football complex.

Scott Satterfield (Courier-Journal photo).

Pretty obvious from his first few months in town that Satterfield doesn’t bring a ton of charisma to his job as the new University of Louisville football coach. One could be standing behind him in line at the cash register and not make the connection.

Quiet and unassuming, not an individual who’s going to excite the masses with his presence. Never going to resort to hype to sell football tickets, never going to ride an elephant, or compare UofL fans to UK fans. He has more important things to do, faced with the enormous challenge of undoing the damage of his predecessor to the Louisville football program.

The program took an unprecedented nose dive just months after a new board of trustees was installed. Reports surfaced that Bobby Petrino would not be around very long. The former coach owed a lot to former President Jim Ramsey and former Athletic Director Tom Jurich after Petrino’s downfall after the Arkansas scandal.  In the end, a $14 million buyout seemed to be his only motivation.

Rarely has a college football program fallen so quickly and so far than UofL football did under Petrino.

One of Satterfield’s first discoveries was that there seemed to be little rhyme or reason to Petrino’s recruiting practices. More than a dozen wide receivers on hand but only just a handful of offensive linemen, for example. Outside of practice sessions, the players saw very little of Petrino, many of them not even knowing the location of the coach’s office in the football facility.

Petrino was so unlikeable in his profession that he had serious problems hiring and keeping good assistants. So much damage, shaking the very foundations of the program.

So please forgive Scott Satterfield if he seems a bit pre-occupied with all the issues that Petrino left in his wake. Don’t expect any optimistic predictions or quick turnarounds. Not going to be easy, more than likely a long drawn-out grind that’s going to require a lot of patience from fans. 

Scraping bottom at present but, with a coaching staff that actually cares, the program can only get better. Satterfield knows that and has little time for distractions.

Notre Dame is going to pack Cardinal Stadium Sept. 2, hype or no hype.

Cabooses more valuable to UofL than additional parking

UofLCardGame photo

By Ed Peak

Say it’s not so.

An alarming story in the local newspaper on Wednesday about the cabooses parked at the north end of Cardinal Stadium. They may be gone soon. All 14 of them, those romantic reminders of America’s past. 

It may not seem a big loss to some but in reality the cabooses are a huge deal, greatly enhancing the atmosphere surrounding University of Louisville football games. I absolutely love them.

These cabooses host hundreds of boosters and fans before and after games. A local radio station does a pregame show from one of the cabooses. There is always a buzz there on game days. People thoroughly enjoying themselves.

According to the Courier-Journal, Caboose Express pays about $19,000 a year to lease the cars, which are on state land, and in turn rents them out each for about $15,000 per year — or about $210,000 annually. It also provides one caboose to U of L for free, according to contracts attached to the suit.

The UofL Athletic Association has  notified the caboose owner that the lease will be terminated. The space is more valuable now than 20 years ago when the cabooses arrived. Apparently U of L wants the cabooses, or the space, for itself.

But Cardinal Stadium and the surrounding areas have many places to park. It is currently used as a party area as many cabooses having full kitchens. Some fans watch Cardinal baseball on top of the cabooses during the NCAA baseball tournament, especially when Jim Patterson Stadium is sold out.

The University of Louisville Athletics Department needs more revenue. Athletic Director Vince Tyra has been forced to squeeze every nickel, dime and penny out of every revenue source. Let the finger-pointing begin.

This goes back to former Athletic Director Tom Jurich and two coaches. Football coach Bobby Petrino who left he Cardinal football program in shambles when he was asked to leave in November and owed $16 million. Rick Pitino and his deny, deny, deny tactics. It wasn’t me. I don’t know anything. Costing Cardinals athletics lost lots of revenue.

That the ULAA would even consider doing away with cabooses may be an indication of deeply that athletic program has been affected by all of the damaging events over the past three years. It’s a mistake, however, to assume that more parking revenue would make up for the loss of the cabooses.

Time for the Athletic Association to go back to Caboose Express and renegotiate the terms of the lease. Those cabooses represent far more potential for profit than any new parking schemes. Their loss would be a major blow to the optics of University of Louisville football.

 

Satterfield eager to begin Louisville spring football

Scott Satterfield eager to get his player on the football field as spring practice begins Monday.

Two months after he was hired at the University of Louisville, Coach Scott Satterfield was introducing the newest members of his first recruiting class on Wednesday at the Howard Schnellenberger football complex. Now he can finally focus on cleaning up the mess left by his predecessor.

The coach he replaced having lost the confidence and respect of his assistant coaches, the players, the administration and the fans, finishing the 2018 season with a humiliating 2-10 record. Still another unhappy ending from Bobby Petrino. Par for the course for him, but a double whammy for UofL following two tenures.

Satterfield hasn’t had much time to work with the players he inherited from Petrino. When he was hired on December 4th, he was faced with the challenges of hiring an entirely new staff,  evaluating the existing commitments before the early signing date of December 19th, and then hitting the recruiting trail in earnest. 

The UofL coach acknowledged that getting his staff and first recruiting class together was a time-consuming process. He was, however, pleased with reports from the strength coaches that players were making significant progress in the weight room. 

Satterfield will have plenty of time to know his players starting on Monday with the beginning of the spring training camp. He’s not making any assumptions about what went wrong under Petrino, saying everyone is starting off with a clean slate.

He will have 15 days to begin to reverse some of the failures of the second Petrino era, to instill a new culture with a winning attitude, and new offensive and defensive schemes at Louisville. Major challenges for any coach but Satterfield can’t wait to get started.

“The Louisville brand is a good one, the program has had a lot of success, with some major accomplishments,” he said. “The response from high school coaches has been awesome. They know what went on here before and what we want to do. What Louisville has been able to do in the past has been awesome.”

“Our staff did an outstanding job of going out, working their tails off to get the kind of players we need at Louisville,” he said. “We’re glad to get much of the administrative stuff behind us. We’re eager to get out on the field and begin the process of getting better as a football team.