Tapping Into New Blood

By Charlie Springer

The success of the University of Louisville basketball team has quieted or drowned out some of the bitching about the football program. Or have they gone underground? At any rate, the complainers are out there, in droves, anticipating another player transfer or assistant coach departure, ready to erupt when something else goes awry.

Meanwhile, Steve Kragthorpe and crew continue to shake the bushes for the kind of recruits familiar to long time Louisville fans: the overlooked, the underrated, young men who want more playing time, and, yes, the junior college players badly needed to fill the depleted ranks.

The easier route for Kragthorpe would have been to resign or offer to take a buyout with all the criticism that engulf the program after last season. He didn’t do either, taking the more difficult path in attempting to rebuild the program. Doing it despite the odds of making any dramatic improvement next season.

Sticking around in such an atmosphere takes a lot of guts … or a lack of gray matter. Has to be the former because the man is not lacking in intelligence. Must see or sense a tiny beam of light at the end of the winding tunnel. Much easier to leave otherwise.

So the Observer will be there Wednesday for the 2009 football signing party at 6 p.m. at the Brown & Williamson Club as much from curiosity about the recruiting class as wanting to know why Kragthorpe is sticking around.

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Charlie Springer

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

14 thoughts on “Tapping Into New Blood

  • January 30, 2009 at 5:21 pm


    We are out there, waiting for the other shoe to drop on the Brohm situation. I think it takes a lot of moxy for Krags to hang around after the past two years. But I will say, the amount of money he is making here is not a number he will see again, escpecially any time soon. I can’t see how Kragthorpe keeps his job after 3 straight seasons of decline. Seriously, how many losses do you see next year? I think 8, with the talent level, and coaching, I say 8 losses. The new “defensive coordinator” or scapegoat, was AZ State’s Def. Co. and the best he could muster up was 45th overall defense? Not good, we waited almost a week to give him the job after all other options were exhausted.You give Kragthorpe a Mercedes and he would turn it into a Yugo. The recruits are subpar, the record is definitely subpar, and after next season, how can the guy keep his job? I think its time to stop kidding ourselves, Krag will be gone soon enough and the next guy in the program is going to clean house with the whole staff, and have his hands full trying to rebuild a once rising program. It’s still unbelievable that this football program is going to need to be rebuilt.

  • January 30, 2009 at 5:47 pm

    While watching the Orange Bowl, I was surprised we weren’t able to stop Wake Forest consistently. There were indications of defensive and offensive weaknesses even then. Petrino may have won the battle but he would have lost the war if he had stuck around. He was not recruiting. Schnellenberger was right.

  • January 30, 2009 at 5:48 pm

    People may be surprised next season.

  • January 30, 2009 at 5:50 pm

    The self-appointed experts on Inside The Ville are really a bunch of never beens or teeny boppers without much knowledge of what it takes to build and sustain a football program.

  • January 30, 2009 at 8:33 pm

    I hope for the best as always

    But ck the rankings –this class is in the 60’s at best

  • January 30, 2009 at 10:39 pm

    Familiar territory for us, Frank. Highest ever was probably was low 40s.

  • January 31, 2009 at 6:56 am

    This Brohm situation needs to be resolved and soon. It is important for any program to have a unified chain of command. Your offense coordinator ties for second most important position on the staff along with your defensive coordinator. They need either Brohm or someone in place by signing day. Spring practice is not too far behind that. I hope that Kragthorpe and Brohm can solve any differences between the two of them and go forward on the same page. I think Brohm can become a very good and effective offensive coordinator in time. He has some very good returning players, and if key players can stay healthy, some guys that can score. You ask a quarterback to lead you when your oofense is on the field. Brohm was an excellent field general when he played. He can teach these young QB’s we have on the roster and build an effective offense with the returning players he has. I hope Kragthorpe gives him the leeway to do so.

  • January 31, 2009 at 8:02 am

    You are right on again Charlie. Kragrhorpe is fascinating and one has to be curious about what makes him tick. To me, it is a sign of something good. He is going to stick to it, TJ is going to stick with him and the only missing element is the fan base. We can slip into being the whiners in blue that we all mock and despise, or we can maintain our longstanding Cardinal character and support TJ and the program. Give TJ (and Krags) a chance.

  • January 31, 2009 at 8:14 am


    The radio broadcast will be on 1080 AM instead of 101.7 FM, due to technical issues with Cards Radio. Still 2 p.m.


  • January 31, 2009 at 9:48 am

    K sticking around:


    Lack of Grey Matter?

    or just simple economics

    like 1 million of them per year — and no buyout offered and no other close-to-similar- salary opp to jump to this time.

    • January 31, 2009 at 9:59 am

      Pretty easy to move on when you’re being attacked from all sides. Tom Jurich probably would have bought him out if Kragthorpe really wanted out of here.

  • February 2, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    “Familiar territory for us, Frank. Highest ever was probably was low 40s.”

    Charlie is generally correct. Rivals has the 2003 and 2006 classes ranked 34th and 35th respectively. Everything else going back to 2002 is 41st or lower. Ironically, the recruiting class signed by Petrino after his second season (2004, when UL went 11-1 and finished ranked #6 in the country), was rated #64 overall. So while I’m as disappointed as anyone about our performance over the last two years, I can’t say that our recruiting has noticeably suffered YET. We’ll just have to wait and see.

  • February 2, 2009 at 4:22 pm

    Thanks for setting us straight, CardinalPoint. Good information.

  • February 4, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    Recruit rankings are traditional over rated
    and mainly fodder for bloggers, go back and check Big Ben’s number of STARS.

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