If there is doubt about what Bobby Petrino left in terms of talent and problems, there is little doubt that he left a good nucleus of football fanatics. That contribution alone outweighs much of the negativity surrounding his legacy. Somewhere between 35,000 and 38,000 UofL fans on hand, looking for something positive during the rebuilding phase. Nice showing considering the circumstances.

— Card fans saw a living, breathing bandwagon in the visitors’ section where there were actually 2,000 – 3,000 Bearcat fans. More than have traveled to Louisville combined in all the years this observer has been following UofL football, and that’s a lot of years. More Bearcat fans at Papa John’s last night than have been at Nippert Stadium for many UofL-UC games in the past.

— Ron English is the UofL coach who inspires confidence in fans that he knows what he is doing. Can’t say too often how much the defense has improved since last season and since the beginning of this season. Most impressive.

— For almost four quarters, a University of Louisville football team teased its fans with the prospect of a win over a top 25 team. Probably would have accomplished it with with less predictable play calling. Calling a draw play for Brock Bolen on third down and 23 early in the fourth quarter is not going to get it done. How many times has Bolen been stopped with with only a yard to go?

— Cincinnati knew exactly what the UofL offense was going to do on their last fourth-and-one in the fourth quarter, lining up two deep right over the center for the inevitable quarterback sneak. No surprise, no gain. Insulting to the Bearcat defense. Insulting to Card fans. Embarrassing for Eric Woods and Hunter Cantwell.

— When the typical fan knows exactly what plays the coaches are going to run in crucial situations, you know a well-coached opponent is going to take advantage. The lack of any consistency in the running and passing games has allowed defenses to focus on a below average quarterback, pinch the ends, and force Cantwell into desperation hell.

— Special teams are not special. When Trent Guy lines up for a kickoff return, you have reason to be excited. But he’s not lining up. Got injured again somewhere on a mysterious play in which nobody saw him get injured. The Brock Bolen phenomenon, mysteriously disappearing in the Pittsburgh game. Wouldn’t be near as frustrating if you saw the actual injury. Where’s Brock. Oh, he’s injured again. Where’s Trent? He must have an injury. Where’s Victor? Never mind.

— UofL fans have been blessed with good passing teams over the last couple of decades. Always a bright spot even when the Cards were considered fodder for good or mediocre opposition. That tradition has been relegated to the scrap heap this season. The odds of restoring any semblance of that aspect of the game are not good.

— With their post-game comments, the UofL coaches and players have indicated that they are experts on why they are not winning football games. Real credibility, however, comes in showing that you actually know what it takes to win.

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By Charlie Springer

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

8 thoughts on “Lack of Creativity Succumbs 28-20”
  1. During the soggy walk from the stadium to the van after the game, we found ourselves stride for stride with two very happy and also soaked Bearcats fans. Without any hesitation, Paul offered his handshake to them in congratulations and expressed his wishes for them to take the Big East title. They were genuinely pleased and surprised by this, and as we walked…we talked and they kept emphasising how friendly, complimentary and kind the Cardinal fans they had talked with had been. As Paul rather sarcastically replied,
    “Well we haven’t had too much to be cocky and arrogant about this year.”

    And so it is, a new era of Cardinal football…measured in a kinder, gentler
    complimentary mode. The briel reign as bully of the Big East just a faded view in the rear view mirror as we sprawl out into the night…average and rebuilding. Complimentary and confused. Maybe next week the agression and anger returns when the Mountaineers roll in for an early brunch with the Cards. But, this year the rivarly is a bit less important and a bit diluted.
    Who could forgive Pat White and Co. if they come in here with a bit of a swagger and confidence? After all, it’s a rebuiding year. It’s a rebuilding era. The question is…to paraphrase an old song by Kansas from the seventies:

    “How Long..till the point of no return?”

    Funny, dry socks at midnight was the most comforting and satisfying thing of the evening…Two to go, and bowl hopes in the balance.

  2. Sonja: With our improvement on the defensive side, we may be able to give them a battle. Winning important games may not be in our grasp, however. Best hope would be to call in Schnellenberger as a consultant on this issue.

  3. Very proud of the way the team TRIED to battle back…but the lack of creative playcalling doomed us. For all the diehards that stayed out there with me, give yourselves a hand! May not have been many of us left there at the end but the ones that stayed were LOUD! I,for one, don’t have much of a voice left today to show for it. Well worth it to cheer on the team! Hopefully the football gods smile on our team and we win the next two! Hey…I can dream!

  4. Remember that the hallmarks of a Schnellenberger offense consisted of a couple of solid, hard hitting running backs (Booker, Dawkins, Shelman, Arrington, Gardner) and claasic stay in the pocket QB’s (Jeff Brohm, Browming Nagle, Lowe) along with 1 or 2 dependable receivers (Givins, Asher , Cummings…plus backs who could catch passes out of the backfield. (Dawkins, Booker, Gardner and Knighton). When you look at Krags teams…the QB was there the first year, maybe not so much this year. Receivers yes, last year…not so much this year. Backs? Potential, yes. Catching the ball out of the backfield…we just don’t try it very much. A rock solid tight end, not so much this year. What would Howard do with this group? Probably a lot more (2) back sets with Bolen and Anderson in there the majority of the time. More developmentr with timing patterns over the middle, and Howard’s favorite…the slant attacking the gap between the DB’s and linebackers. He’d have Anderson probably getting 6-7 passes a game, and power sweeps with Bolen or Tronzo leading the way for Anderson or Powell. All this speculation, of course…but we probably wouldn’t be nearly as predictable…and quarterback substitution likely. Tyler Wolfe is the prototypical Schnelly type OB…and would most likely see 2-3 series a game. As far as the receiver situation…not a lot that can be done there..because the numbers are down, but they’d be catching with there hands, and Chichester would be worked with constantly because of his height advantage.

    Obviously, all this is just pure speculation on how Howard would use this current offense. I do believe we’d be successful on a few more 4th and short situations than we have been. (Paul helped me with this analysis, but he’s nowhere ready or willing to toss his ring in the hat to replace Krags. He calls a great game, though from the comfort of his seat in the crunch zone.)

  5. There is nothing to be proud about players who have 1st and 10 at the UC yard line with the game in hand.

    10 Yard Holding,
    3 running plays,
    and a delay of game in the 10th game of the season,
    and a misshandled snap.

    These are major D-1 athletes.

    BTW, our defense laid down on UC’s last drive.

    Then our receivers had 2 drops in their final drive.

    How can you call that battling hard? Again these are major D-1 athletes.

    BTW, the head coach makes 1.1 million a year, top 25 in college football.

  6. JM: Defense probably exhausted by the time you’re referring to. They may be D-1 but they aren’t invincible. Can’t find the “battling hard” reference.

  7. In the first quarter on a fourth and one situation,Cincinnati’s offense setup quickly to get the play off before the defense was set. Given our lack of success this season in similar situations, I wonder if we might consider incorporating that play? If I could see this from my seat, hopefully someone took notice from the fifth floor and also someone standing right in front on the field. What do we have to lose?

    Our defense has beem the story of the season. Coming into the season opener, the defensive line was thin and we did not have a linebacker who had played a snap for us. Ten games later, they are still battling. I will say it” battling hard”. If we are frustrated with the abudance of three and out offensive series, I can only imagine their frustration. However, they never let it show. They are the reason I go and stay for every down.

    Kudos to Victor Anderson for getting off the field without help Friday night. A tough guy being asked to carry a heavy load this year. How much fun is he to watch? Love his enthusiasm.

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