Louisville football docked for academic progress rate

Now we know why Charlie Strong, the best recruiter in University of Louisville football history, signed only 21 recruits in February.

U of L’s academic progress rate (APR) for its football team had dropped below the minimum requirement. The four-year APR for football for the period from 2006-10 was 908, below the required level of 925.

Louisville lost three of its possible 25 initial scholarships, but will be allowed to maintain the full 85 overall scholarship limit.

The initial scholarship reduction will be announced publicly by the NCAA next week when the complete APR list is available.  Football is the only one of the Cardinals’ 23 sports teams (10 men’s and 13 women’s sports) which fell below the 925 level.

Bobby Petrino and Steve Kragthorpe were at the helm during the affected period. Thanks guys.

Weather forecast melts Louisville football fans

Quarterback Will Stein was scrambling much of the night during the annual University of Louisville spring game, trading snaps with Teddy Bridgewater and Dominique Brown. The starting job appears to be his, based on Friday’s performance.

The first shock upon returning to Louisville late Friday after a week in Las Vegas was the leaking pipe, spraying water though a hole in the wall, soaking the dining room and living room carpets. Water also standing in parts of the basement, damaging more carpet.

Almost enough to keep the observer away from the spring football game. At the insistence of Barbara, twisting his arm, the observer goes ahead, makes the trek, communicating by cell phone with the plumber while repairing the leak and wondering about the whereabouts of his fellow fans.

A real damper on the oberver’s already wrecked evening was the paltry turnout at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. An estimate of 3,500 fans would be generous. I suspected as much when I was able to find a parking spot seven rows back in the Green Lot five minutes before kickoff. The crowds were better during Steve Kragthorpe’s tenure.

Granted, there were deadly tornadoes earlier in the day. But U of L has had better turnouts during driving rain and with tornadoes actually in the vicinity of the stadium, like three years ago when we ducked into a closet with the cleanup crew. One had the feeling that we had reverted back to the seventies, the pre-Schnellenberger era. That bad.

Not good for U of L football, especially with Charlie Strong having invited 30 recruits for the event. A poor impression for any Charlie Strong recruit who has been to an SEC spring game.

One also wonders whether the lack of discussion from the head coach may have also affected attendance. There was a bare minimum of hype or promotion coming from the staff. As if the coach was admitting that the team showing would not be that impressive. The scrimmage itself was dominated by the defense, with the offense slowed by fumbles, interceptions, bad passes and dropped balls.

No excuses for the embarrassing turnout, however. The fan base was missing in action, and that’s disappointing. Fair weather or bad weather, the leak has to be fixed.

Jon Gruden script turns up in Miami with familiar ending

Someone from Miami must have been rummaging around in the dumpster outside Tom Jurich’s office for his old notes.

Speculation surrounding the search for a new football coach at Miami is strikingly similar to that which occurred in Louisville in the weeks before Steve Kragthorpe got the axe at the University of Louisville last season.

Even including the list of coaching candidates, with Jon Gruden’s name at the top.

All of the “insiders” were saying that a deal with the former Tampa Bay coach was imminent. That all they had to do was dot the I’s and cross the T’s. Ultra highly placed sources saying it was  a done deal. Flights were being tracked, people were meeting over lunch, the moving vans were next.

Jon Gruden would be announced within a day or so.

Even Colin Cowherd, a syndicated sports talk host, was saying Gruden was the guy, proclaiming Gruden would be a “rock star recruiter” or words to that effect, that Miami would go something like 48-4 over the next four seasons. Cowherd again with his unimpeachable sources.

Gruden, like last year, was saying nothing and not confirming anything. That’s because Gruden knows he’s much better off being on ESPN’s Monday Night Football. He told the San Francisco Chronicle Thursday “I knew there was a lot of speculation over the last few days, and for that, I’m sorry.”

Now fans on the Miami sports forums are throwing around names like Tommy Tuberville and Mike Leach, in another rewrite of the Louisville script from 2009. Charlie Strong’s name has been mentioned more than a few times. The only name missing is Butch Jones at Cincinnati.

Jeremy Wright has only just begun

Now we know why Charlie Strong remained confident about the running game.

So who is Jeremy Wright?

Filling in so capably for the ailing Bilal Powell, Wright rushing for 98 yards and two touchdowns in the University of Louisville’s 28-20 football win over Syracuse.

Jeremy Wright (Photo by Menefee Seay)

The 5-foot-11, 199-pound Wright was one of the leading running backs in Florida during his senior year in high school. Somehow overlooked or passed over by many Division One coaches.

Based on what he’s accomplished already, Wright’s recruitment may have been one of former coach Steve Kragthorpe’s biggest accomplishments at UofL. That and the fact that he didn’t burn Wright’s red shirt last season.

No personal insights here, but some stats at East Ridge High School in Clermont, Fla., tell quite a story:

  • Ran for a state-high 2,707 yards and 28 touchdowns as a senior, second only to Emmitt Smith in Florida history.
  • Accumulated 492 yards in one game, including rushes and pass receptions.
  • Totaled 455 yards on the ground in another.
  • Made First team All-State in Class 6A.

This season Wright has rushed 33 times for 193 yards, averaging 5.8 per carry. He also has returned seven kickoffs for 153 yards, or 21.9 yards per carry.

Best of all, three more seasons.

One last dump on Steve Kragthorpe

By Tom Stosberg

There is whining and then there is fact. And the fact is that the foul odor of the past three years continued to linger a little in the first half of Saturday’s game. It wasn’t until the second half that the Charlie Strong Era truly began. That halftime speech had to have been a dandy.

Someone closely resembling a former Louisville football coach advances toward Papa John's Cardinal Stadium Saturday.

But one more parting shot is appropriate now, just to set the record straight, hopefully the last time.

Let it be said that Steve Kragthorpe had his nerve bawling about the shape in which he accused Bobby Petrino of leaving the University of Louisville football  program.

In fact, Petrino left it with some studs, some of whom are playing on Sundays, (Brohm, Cantwell, Wood, Douglas, etc.) In just three years, which only seemed like ten, he totally decimated the championship environment that Petrino had established.

The former coach also was able to rid the program of other studs such as Matt Simms and Anthony Allen, both currently in starting lineups for major football powers, Tennessee and Georgia Tech respectively.

Neither liked the Book Club foolishness or the passive-aggressive coaching mentality. Several players were kicked off the team who may yet star at BCS schools. But that’s what happens when a coach has not a clue as to how to handle big time athletes.

And don’t go feeling sorry for someone who walked away with over $2 million in cash.

Given just a little more time, Charlie Strong will load the team with “Petrino-like” studs. But facts are facts – when a pathetic team that is the doormat of the Southeastern Conference can beat you by a measly touchdown, there’s no doubt you still have your work cut out for you.