Really Bad Day For Louisville Football

21,496.

That’s how many people attended the University of Louisville vs. Arkansas State football game at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium two weekends ago.

It’s a number that should embarrass anyone who claims to be a U of L fan.seats

So what if Steve Kragthorpe is not that great a football coach? So what if it was Halloween Day? So what if it was cold and drizzling? So what if it was a no-name opponent?

All of these excuses are bush league. None of them acceptable.

Some of the absentees thought they were sending a message to Tom Jurich about the need to change football coaches. They’re sending a message all right, but it’s more about the fragility and naiveté of the fan base than anything else.  People who had “something better to do” that day only provided ammunition for rival schools to castigate the Louisville fan base.

In all likelihood, Jurich was already hard at work on the personnel issue. But he has to be confronted by rows and rows of empty seats belonging to people who claim to be loyal U of L fans?  Like that’s going to help attract a big-name coach. Don’t think so.

Small wonder many athletic departments strive to keep fans at arm’s length. It’s “we” and “us” when a team is winning but it’s “they” and “them” during the bad times.

Attendance is more than a particular event or about a winning or losing season. It’s about being with other Louisville fans, enjoying the university venues, watching the athletic program grow and prosper, being there for the incredible highs, the in-betweens, or in spite of the gut-wrenching lows.

People who don’t show up only embarrass fellow fans. Save the send-the-message rants for the Bitching Boards (the message boards).

(Blaming the fans? Maybe, but certainly not those who showed up. And, yes, the observer was out of the country but he made certain his tickets were used.)









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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.

56 thoughts on “Really Bad Day For Louisville Football

  • November 8, 2009 at 11:09 pm
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    Louisville fans have been fairweather as long as I can remember. Yeah, they’ll travel in hordes when the team is winning but bail during the tough times. Doubt that will ever change.

    • November 8, 2009 at 11:21 pm
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      There are at least 21,496 of them who should never be included in any sweeping generalization of the fan base. I am reminded of the Cincinnati fans who were nowhere to be found until the Bearcats started winning.

  • November 8, 2009 at 11:29 pm
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    It was similar to this near the end of the Cooper regime.

    We have two home games left in the season. One of them, a noon start against our cellar dweller partner. The other, on a Friday night during Thanksgiving weekend. Noon starts don’t thrill our fan base. Friday night games on holiday weekends don’t either

    Anyone care to predict attendance on these two? I know I’ll be in my seat. Honestly, I can’t say whether Sonja will or not.

    • November 8, 2009 at 11:34 pm
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      Conference opponents should be enough to get people out. Feel like we have regressed about 20 years here, Paul.

  • November 8, 2009 at 11:41 pm
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    I respectfully disagree.

    If it had been made clear by UofL that SK would not be returning then it would be different.

    If the Louisville Sports Report and other sources closed allied with UofL were not constantly telling us that SK can do it, that ALL the problems predated his arrival, that any fan who criticized SK should not be considered a fan and is completely disloyal then it would be different.

    Unhappy fans have not been given a glimmer that change is on the horizon. And we have been slammed for voicing our opinions. We have no recourse to show our disapproval other than with our empty seats. All other forms of protest have been taken away from us. Are we to sit in silence and absorb the decline of the program without making our feelings known?

    I have had season tickets to UofL for around 40 years excluding Bob Weber’s last year. Let me remind you that when people stopped coming to the games that year we had a new coach the next year. With that in mind my wife and I did not go to the Arkansas State game. We did not give our tickets away. We want a new coach and not going to the games is the only way we can make that fact known to the administration. And it would seem that many others feel as I do. And I know for a fact that several of them are long time season ticket holders and even ex-players.

    Can you suggest another way?

    • November 9, 2009 at 8:37 am
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      It’s already known the administration how unhappy the fans are. Don’t act so obtuse. All you are doing by selfishly not showing up is punishing the players. No BCS school should have such pathetic attendance. Louisville fans have a long way to go. It’s a very immature fan base.

    • November 9, 2009 at 9:16 am
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      If Tom Jurich sent a signal that Kragthorpe wasn’t returning, you have to consider how that would affect the players. I don’t know about you but I was pulling for U of L to get it together and beat West Virginia. A long shot, sure, but if players believe in themselves and their coach, that might have been possible.

  • November 8, 2009 at 11:47 pm
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    My wife has posed a What If. What if we post losing season after losing season but still fill Papa Johns? Would we have a new coach? Remember today it’s the dollars that count.

    • November 9, 2009 at 6:28 am
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      CB,

      We would not fill Papa John’s (expansion or not) if UofL had a string of losing seasons. You remember the days of Bob Weber, T.W. Alley football as well as I do. Even with Vince Gibson, although there were some successes, we rarely drew capacity at the old Cardinal Stadium.

      I’d like to think, though, we entered a different mentality toward football when Howard arrived on campus. It even survived thru the Cooper years…although the attendance his final year suffered. You see, we were developing a fanbase for the program, not the individual components of it.

      The question I pose is whether the fan attendance had any effect on Jurich’s decision to replace Cooper. I think the won-loss record was more pivotal in the firing decision. And, it will be again, if Krags stumbles in with a 4-8 or 3-9 record. I personally believe 5-7 won’t even get him a 4th year.

      Lack of fan attendance (whatever the reason) signifies that the fan base has either decided to not support the product or has better things to do with their time that week. Unfortunately, it sends a message to the potential recruiting base also. Kids want to play in front of fans. I watched Saturday how fired up our guys were on the sidelines because they were keeping a large Mountaineer crowd pretty quiet and they were getting a ton of support from the small UofL contingent stuck in the corner of the endzone.

      It ultimately comes down to a decision of personal belief. Will I use these tickets I’ve purchased in advance (or might go and buy game day) or not. Each person has to make that decision themselves.

      I’m choosing to support the kids and the team. It doesn’t mean I support the coach. I go watch football because I’m a fan of the game. Good plays and blunders are still that, regardless of the team that makes them. I saw some great defense and nice runs in West Virginia. Just because it wasn’t Louisville that made all of them, didn’t detract from the fact I was watching a game I like. I realize all football fans don’t attend for that reason. I played the game, I still love it.

      I’ll be there for the final two. Jurich is going to do what he feels best, may have already made his move or decision. When he chooses to announce it is his decision and I do not think lack of attendance will sway when he decides to do it. Something is definitely going to happen…why not go out and enjoy the game for these final two like I am?

      Go watch the game for what it is this Saturday. A chance to beat Syracuse for the first time in three years. Either way, I do not think the outcome will sway Jurich’s decision. He’ll announce it when he is ready.

  • November 9, 2009 at 10:03 am
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    I must say that showing up AT the game does not make you a bigger, better, happier, crazier UL fan than someone who doesn’t. To assume that ALL the empty seats are protests against the coach just shows you DON’T know that many low-income fans. Going to the game these days is an expense I just can’t afford right now. I couldn’t afford it when were 10-1 or 1-10. I’m sure I’m not the only fan that takes offense to the fact that, just because my income and family responsibilities don’t allow me to attend, makes me less of a fan. It takes a real ass to make such a statement.

    Sure some people didn’t attend to “protest” the coach or the won-loss record, but many more are just tired of the same old thing. It is much cheaper to watch the games on TV. I have watched (or listened) to every UL football that has been played over the last 20 years. I haven’t been able to attend since Papa John’s opened. I think the team needs a better coach, but to castigate UofL fans for not filling the stands to watch an inferior product just shows your arrogance.

    • November 9, 2009 at 10:35 am
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      You must have missed the three other excuses. But back to your point, many of the absentees were people who hold season tickets. Their tickets had already been purchased. Your economic excuse doesn’t make sense in this context.

  • November 9, 2009 at 10:41 am
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    It is a simple formula. When teams lose the number of fans decrease. It happens at just about every school to various degrees,not just Louisville. One of the reasons Phil Fulmer is out of a job is because of the vast amounts of empty seats at Tenn. games towards the end of last year. Research the attendance figures at Texas and So. Cal before Brown and Carrol arrived. It is only natural for fans to lose interest in something that no longer provides a positive extension of themselves.

    If you do not have a large hard core fan base like Louisville, it stands out more. The last home game was a result of fans finally giving up. Up to that point, the fans have by and large supported the team in an manner appropriate with a team struggling to meet expectations.

    Kragthorpe has hurt the process by providing no communication. College football is not like Pro football. It is all about relationships with families, students, fans and the community. Rational fans can accept losing if they understand why. Kragthopre has failed miserably at developing those important relationships. Yes it is sometimes we when winning and they when losing. It is the nature of the job as AD and head coach. You can either embrace it and succeed or fight it and draw defensive lines. Jurich is making a big mistake if he dismisses fan opinion, either rational or irrational. The fans are the ones ultimately paying the bills and determining the program’s environment. With nothing concrete to embrace, what fans perceive becomes the reality no matter the spin or confidence in leadership. One thing that all losing teams have in common, they do not have a lot of fans.

    • November 9, 2009 at 11:25 am
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      You make some excellent points, Txcard. Kragthorpe is a terrible communicator, with the fans, the administration, the media and, obviously, the players. His leadership skills are sorely lacking, and it’s obvious during practices where it’s difficult to locate who’s in charge.

      Your point about losing teams having losing fans is obvious, of course. Those of us who have worked to build the hard core over many years are disappointed in the lack of loyalty. Big winning seasons bring a lot of strangers to the games.

      • November 9, 2009 at 11:51 am
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        I feel your disappointment. Even the most loyal fan needs inspiration and assurance that things will get better when things are going bad. Kragthorpe has never been able to provide that inspiration or assuarance.

    • November 9, 2009 at 12:47 pm
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      TXCARD,
      Great points…and I 100% agree that this is a natural reaction, not just a Louisville problem.
      A lot of fans are frustrated and perhaps don’t even realize that Kragthorpe’s lack of communication has formed an emotional wedge between them and the football program. It’s not just the losing, it’s the feeling of being disjointed from the program on top of the losing. With a winning team, this issue is small. With a losing team, it’s the 800 lb mute elephant in the room.

      Instead of bashing season ticket holders for not showing up at one Arkansas State game, we should be applauding the fans for their support the past 2 and half bowl-less seasons. I imagine most are still tuning in on TV or ESPN 360, so they’re “supporting” the team but they’re doing so without leaving their home & family.

      Charlie,
      You say your disappointed in this “lack of loyalty”. The true breach of loyalty is evidenced by the lack of communication between Louisville Athletic Department and Louisville fan, magnified even louder by the competitive dropoff and obvious leadership deficiencies in the coaching staff from day one. And then to kneejerkingly blame the fans for expecting an Orange Bowl every season while expecting us to fill your expanded stadium and ticket prices? Laughable.

      Jurich got it wrong. We don’t expect an Orange Bowl every season but we do expect to beat Big East teams when we play our best football. I think we saw the best this team has to offer against a rebuilding West Virginia on Saturday and yet L’ville still lost by 8 pts. With the commitment the University and its fans have made to improve this program, expecting bowl eligibility in the Big East most years is not that outlandish, especially with the team that was inherited after the 2006-07 Orange Bowl season.

      So many obvious problems yet the silence is still maintained. Loyalty goes both ways.

      • November 9, 2009 at 3:18 pm
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        To Hot Hot: Pretty certain the Orange Bowl comment was made in jest. I certainly wasn’t offended by it. There’s no way the athletic director can come out in mid-season and fire Kragthorpe after making a substantial commitment to get someone who would stick around for several years. He has given him all the time necessary to prove he can’t do the job. It’s not all bad that the fan base does take a little heat with all the disloyalty over the years. That might be what it takes to solidify the hard core.

        • November 9, 2009 at 3:33 pm
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          Charlie, who do you think is the next football coach?

          • November 9, 2009 at 3:46 pm
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            Nothing like putting the observer on the spot, huh Ron? My guess is that the new guy will have had significant NFL experience. It will be a name people recognize and will get fans excited about the program again.

        • November 9, 2009 at 7:21 pm
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          To Charlie,
          Just a caveat, if I still lived within a 12 hour drive I’d attend every home game and I recently drove 7 hours to attend the Utah game (only saw one other UofL fan…depressing!). But I don’t blame the fans that don’t show up…to each his own. I don’t know their situation and after one poor showing (Arkansas State), it may be a little too early to start labeling the fans as disloyal. I think they deserve a break this year.

          “…disloyalty over the years”? Does that include the past 10 seasons? I thought the fan base has traveled pretty well to bowl games, I’ve witnessed plenty of Cardinal faithful at GMAC and Liberty bowls before L’ville ever dreamed of an Orange Bowl.

          I’m not saying Jurich has to fire Kragthorpe mid-season. I think Jurich also feels he owes Kragthorpe leniency after handcuffing him to a few holdover coaches in 07, which apparently was against Kragthorpe’s wishes. The very public substantial commitment justificaiton you provided is obviously the biggest reason why Jurich hasn’t pulled the trigger. But when you are paying someone millions of [the fan’s] dollars, I think you have to remove him when he shows consistent deficiencies in things like leadership, control, communication, etc…

          I think “future Cardinal Football coach” could logically see what transpired and agree that Kragthorpe wasn’t the right fit here after the Rutgers loss last year or even through the first half of this season. Given the evidence, I don’t think a firing after 2 seasons or mid 3rd season would hurt any reputation Louisville could possibly salvage at that point so your substantial commitment excuse doesn’t make any sense in this context.

          Whatever will happen inevitably should happen immediately.

          • November 10, 2009 at 8:13 pm
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            The first GMAC JLS last season had sucky attendance by UL fans.

  • November 9, 2009 at 12:56 pm
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    The only thing bush league about our program is the coach. Krag and Jurich alienated a large portion of the fan base with their slams made on us through the media over the last few years, whether they were aimed at a few message board hot heads or not. As mentioned above, they have taken away all means for fans to voice displeasure and even ridiculed us for voicing it in the first place! The wallet is the one place where we can still influence change. Even season ticket holders can, largely through the lack of concession sales. It is really sad that it came to this, but we aren’t left with any other choice.

    Chances are if Krag goes 3-9 or 4-8 Jurich would fire him anyway and fans not attending games would not have influenced his decision. But what if he went 5-7 or 6-6 and Jurich called it improvement? You can bet on it that the empty seats would tip the scale and force Jurich to rid us of this loser whether he wanted to or not.

    • November 9, 2009 at 1:15 pm
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      Seem to be plenty of outlets around here for voicing displeasure without taking it out on the school’s reputation (by not showing up). Just check out the most popular outlet and you can practically wallow in the anxiety. The process must take it’s natural course. Jurich has given Kragthorpe time to prove he can’t get the job done as he should have, instead of giving in to an angry mob. Empty seats are not good, we agree on that.

  • November 9, 2009 at 1:13 pm
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    Why would Jurich make a change this year if the stadium was full? That might signal the fans support Kragthorpe giving Jurich a reason to keep the guy another year.

    The best way for fans to send a message is to not show up…or show up and Bag Krag (which I will be doing on Saturday).

  • November 9, 2009 at 3:22 pm
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    Cincinnati has had astronomical price increases for Bearcat football over the last three years, yet they are getting sellouts for home games now. Why? It’s a winning program now.

    Bearcats football used to be the least expensive in the Big East and UofL fans would flock to Cardinal away games there…sometimes outnumbering the UC fans in attendance. That is when WE were a winning program and they were not.

    Winning does matter. Economic situations do keep fans away, I understand that. So does an inferior product.

  • November 9, 2009 at 5:04 pm
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    As a parent, I feel for the student-athletes. They obviously are working hard, practicing, staying with the program. What great disappointment and discouragement they must feel when they see more and more empty seats. And, if I were the parent of a recruit, I would seriously reconsider allowing my son to sign on for such a fickle fanbase. Therefore, even when I don’t care for the coaching, the weather, the costs, I will attend for the players. Go Cards!

  • November 9, 2009 at 5:52 pm
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    New to this site and have enjoyed reading these comments. I too am a life long UofL fan and I am dissappointed by the performance of the few years. But I think the way the fans have condemmed this team is awful. People say its the coach not the players they want to send a message to….what kind of message do you think new recruits and current players recieve when all that is said is negative comments. Read the comments on the local papers website, there are as many negative comments about the players as there are about the coach. Do you think these players don’t read this stuff? I assure they do and so do prespective recruits. I am sure with the state of the program all the negativity from the fans isn’t a plus when it comes to these recruits decisions. I am in full agreement that a change is needed and will happen but lets all just chill out for a while and just let this season play out….it is doubtful that the Cards will get a bowl bid, so we all know the outcome at the end of the season all the griping and complaining isnt going to change that all it is doing is hurting the players and the chances of getting a GOOD new coach and recruiting high-end players.

    • November 9, 2009 at 7:35 pm
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      To TDIS,
      I agree, a half capacity stadium and bitching on the internet does not send good vibes to recruits and parents of recruits. But those recruits whom are making official visits deserve to know who will be coaching here next year. Is it hurting the chances of getting high-end players by keeping a lame duck coach at the helm? That could be argued both ways.

      The fans’ attendance/attitude this season will in no way hurt the chances of any coach coming to Louisville. This is such an easy job to step into, how could they do any worse? Expectations are lowered, any hint of a personality will win us over, the won-loss records can only stay the same or improve and they’ll get paid millions of dollars. Millions. If a coach decides not to come to UofL it won’t be b/c of the fans.

  • November 9, 2009 at 7:14 pm
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    I gladly went to the Arkansas State game! I was able to get great seats on eBay for about $23. I came all the way from Owensboro to attend! I went to the Southern Miss game as well is similar fashion. I would attend every last game if I had a more of a way to get up to Louisville. I love my team, I love the players. If I can arrange something I very well may come up Saturday for the Cuse game! I hae proudly been to six games over the past 3 seasons and I will continue to come when circumstances allow me to.

    • November 10, 2009 at 7:07 am
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      Come up for the Syracuse game, Cory. Hang out by the Floyd Street entrance to Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium about an hour before game time. You’ll do much better than $23 for tickets…

  • November 9, 2009 at 7:42 pm
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    The great and mighty Jurich will make his move in 12 days. Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain (he knows what is best for you).

  • November 9, 2009 at 8:22 pm
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    our recruits are hand pick by krags, and are kids that chose between a D 2 school, or not playing again. our QB play is laughable, we have a walkon, JUCO transfer, and NC States (who is 4-5, 1-4 in the ACC) ex 3rd string QB fighting for the starting spot. Kragthorpe has never had a 10 win season, and that was while he was in the conference USA!!! how can I expect him to turn things around? why am I gonna go to a game that we are gonna lose, or barely win against a southern miss or ark state? I don’t have season tickets, but I sure as hell am not gonna buy them! We’ve got Tom Jurich defending his friend by saying he has a winning personality, although he has dropped 9 straight to big east opponents, AND, I can see kragthorpe coming back next year! something tells me jurich won’t fire him! I hate what this man has done to my school, and it sickens me to see him wearing cardinal gear and pacing our sidelines, and if he’s gonna wreck my program, I REFUSE to pay and see it.

  • November 9, 2009 at 8:32 pm
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    I find it offensive that I have had season tickets for over forty years, have gone to away games in at least 8 states going back to the Corso era and yet can be considered “disloyal” because I am not intelligent enough to find a way to send to the administration the message that this coach is over his head other than by skipping a single game.

    Think about the totality of that before you say I or others are disloyal.

    • November 9, 2009 at 9:27 pm
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      I respect and appreciate your many years of support, I really do but I don’t believe skipping games is necessary to convince Tom Jurich of something that is blatantly obvious to even the most casual fan. These attendance figures are important, they create a negative impression of U of L fans among rival fans, recruits and the media from which it takes a long time to recover.

      • November 9, 2009 at 10:02 pm
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        I have to question Jurich being convinced that the problem cannot be solved with Kragthorpe at the helm. I realize he is a very smart man but consider this.

        It’s more than the fact that such a thought has never even been hinted at by anyone connected with UofL. Beyond that is the continued blaming of Petrino and his recruits for the problems. And the continued berating of fans who express negative opinions. If there were signs, even faint ones, coming from UofL that a change was in the wind I would feel very different. And very happy. But until such signs are forthcoming I have to believe voting with an empty seat is my only recourse given how vocal dissent is being dismissed. Again I ask, what other form of expression is there?

      • November 10, 2009 at 12:24 pm
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        You have to remember that this situation was blatantly obvious to many, many fans last year. How did that work out for us?

        • November 10, 2009 at 12:55 pm
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          I’ll go with Tom Jurich’s opinion over the fans any day, every day. Even if it were obvious to Jurich, he still had to give Kragthorpe one more year. Jurich is a professional and will do it the right way despite what happens on the field.

          • November 10, 2009 at 2:05 pm
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            Lol. So what is it going to take? What if Jurich keeps him next year and we once again go 4-8 to 6-6? How many years of abysmal performace will it take for you to finally hold Jurich responsible for his mistake?

            Also, shove the right way b/s. No one is buying that garbage anymore.

            • November 10, 2009 at 2:10 pm
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              Hello, TrackCard. Anybody home in there? The deed is as good as done. Just waiting for the official announcement. Timing is everything.

              • November 10, 2009 at 2:37 pm
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                Maybe you have inside sources, but I sure don’t. I just can’t let myself get excited over the possibility of a new coach yet, especially when I think about the huge buyout we face with Krags and Jurich’s over the top comments in support of the abject failure. I hope you are right.

  • November 10, 2009 at 11:17 am
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    The best way to send the message, without damaging the reputation of the university as a football school or the fan base as loyal, is to send actual paper letters to the President of the university, the athletic director, and the coach. Politely lay out your concerns, and make your case based on the future of the student athletes, the school and the athletic program, not your own desire to support a winning team.

    If everyone posting negative comments on an internet chat board or a newspaper web site does this, they will see the light. Empty game-day stadiums, while they certainly can make the point that the fan base has lost interest, also sends other messages–to recruits, to prospective coaches, to big-time teams making schedules, to networks looking for games to televise, and to potential donors who may remain reluctant to contribute money in such a negative atmosphere.

    Beware the unintended consequences.

    • November 10, 2009 at 12:29 pm
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      How can you be so certain that method will work, when we have our AD making such comments as “Everyone knows how great of a coach Steve Kragthorpe is except the city of Louisville?” That statement implies that Jurich does not care what the fans think. The fan base has been pushed to these extreme measures by the AD by not letting us rightfully question an underperforming coach. We’re just trying to take back our program. The fans built it, not Jurich, Ramsey, Schnellenberger or any other one person. It’s time Jurich realized that and opened his eyes and ears.

    • November 10, 2009 at 6:54 pm
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      Sonya did send a letter to Jurich. Never got a reply the last I heard.

  • November 10, 2009 at 12:04 pm
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    According to rivals, here is a list of the schools that the current commitments have received scholarship offers from other than Louisville. E.Carolina, WKU, Louisiana-Monroe, Toledo, Ball State(2) Ohio(not Ohio St.) Troy, Kent State, Liberty, Tulane, Akron, Central Michigan, Temple, Memphis, San Diego State, Indiana (2). Several recruits had no other offers from any other schools. Two or three had offers from second tier BCS schools.

    My Point? How much worse can the recruiting get?

  • November 10, 2009 at 2:01 pm
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    Life has no guarantees, Trackcard, so I make no claim that my method would work. It would, however, express the views of the fan base within the UL family–if we’re going to argue with Grandpa on Thanksgiving, we might want to keep it out of the front yard. In any event, it’s not clear to me how a more public expression has more impact if the barrier is Jurich’s belief that we homers don’t know what we’re talking about. An empty stadium won’t make him think that football experts have changed their minds–only that Louisville football won’t keep fans’ interest during down years.

    With respect to the recruiting point, I would suggest that Louisville cannot go toe-to-toe with the SEC guys for talent–and we don’t have to. The mere fact that Alabama ignores a prospect does not mean he has no talent: they cannot go after everyone, at least not any more. Instead, we have to find the overlooked guys and the ones who need coaching (or life training) and make players of them. This is one of many things that makes Kragthorpe such a bad fit for UL (yes, I am off his bandwagon): he has no apparent clue about how to coach these kids up.

    • November 10, 2009 at 2:50 pm
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      I understand your point, but the empty stadium is meant to force his hand financially, rather than prove we are more knowledgable. I think the fans have better things to do rather than get into a battle of egos with Jurich. We’d lose anyway. With the expansion looming, I am hoping Jurich will be unable to afford to keep Kragthorpe due to the huge loss of revenue from ticket sales and concession purchases.

      It’s unrealistic to expect that every recruit we sign hold offers from Florida, Alabama, ND, etc. Yet it is incorrect to assume all is well on the recruiting front when the vast majority have no other BCS offers. Hell, a lot of our guys weren’t even offered by UK. I think that speaks for itself. It is amusing to listen to guys like Coffey and Lindsey tout this years recruiting class to be “one of the best” just because we have a large number of commits, while totally ignoring what other schools were offering these kids. If numbers are the only concern, Krag should just walk down to Manual and start passing out schollies in the hallways.

      I’m not trying to bash the kids we have, because if I was one of them and got the opportunity to play D1 football I’d jump at the chance, whether I thought I could compete or not.

    • November 10, 2009 at 6:56 pm
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      Toe to toe with the SEC? How soon you forget. Not now but then: Petrino signed at least six players who received SEC offers including Auburn and Alabama. So YES WE CAN. But NO KRAGTHORPE CAN’T.

  • November 10, 2009 at 3:54 pm
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    A large percentage of Louisville’s current and last years’s commitments did not receive any other BCS offer (according to Rivals). What this means is that 64 of the 65 coaches at the highest level of football (not just the SEC big boys) did not think the player was good enough to warrant an offer to play at the BCS level. One did. Either Kragthopre is a recruiting genuis and can see things that others can’t or the other 64 are right. Which one do you think it is?

  • November 10, 2009 at 5:10 pm
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    Attendance: I agree that an empty stadium will get Jurich’s attention. But if he actually believes that he has correctly evaluated Kragthorpe, and the fans are wrong, an empty stadium will not force his hand financially, especially given the cost of buying out his coach. He will want to stick with his guy and wait until the team gets better–and he has locked in a coach for the long term, since he stuck by him during the dark days. And he knows that fans will return when the team starts winning again.

    It may, however, force him to act to protect the reputation of the school. Sadly, it is probably already too late for this.

    So I don’t disagree that refusing to go to games will help achieve the short-term goal of helping SK out the door. But the cost will be high in terms of reputation, recruiting, and public airing of dirty laundry, and I think it’s far better to try making the point in private–and more politely.

    Recruiting: I believe that there are far more than 1300 quality high-school football players in this country (assuming 65 BCS teams, each working on, say 20 prospects–some will overlap–you get about 1300 prospects getting looks from the big boys). This means that evaluating recruits by listing who offered them a scholarship probably doesn’t say much except in a few cases (e.g. Pryor or Ashley).

    • November 10, 2009 at 5:42 pm
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      “But if he actually believes that he has correctly evaluated Kragthorpe, and the fans are wrong, an empty stadium will not force his hand financially, especially given the cost of buying out his coach. ”

      I guess this is where we disagree. I believe that we have the potential to lose even more money if we don’t buy him out. We aren’t even close to selling out now, so those 15k seats that are being added will only compound the problem. People have lost faith in this coach, and rightfully so. Looking back, I’m not sure why I ever thought this was a good hire. The best this guy has ever done is 8-4 in a lesser conference against lesser competition. Years of 6-6, 7-5 and the occasional 8-4 will not fill the old seating capacity, much less touch the new one. We will lose a ton of money if a change isn’t made to get fans excited again. I just hope the money we could lose over keeping him is larger than the buyout we’ll face if he is fired.

      I agree with the recruiting aspect, but are you telling me these guys shouldn’t have any other BCS offers? Not just from the powerhouses, but even middle of the road and struggling schools? Like TXcard, I’ve seen zero evidence that Krag is some great talent judge.

      • November 10, 2009 at 9:16 pm
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        If, as some argue, Jurich believes that Kragthorpe will turn things around, he is not concerned with filling an expanded stadium. This alone will not cause him to change his mind, since he thinks it is a short-term issue.

        I agree that Kragthorpe is not the best talent judge, so I’m not trying to make a case that the incoming recruiting class is a good one. I’m only arguing that we can’t evaluate it solely on the basis of whether these recruits got other offers, and from whom.

        I don’t imagine that we have the best class in college football. But some talent is certainly there, and the key is whether our coaching staff can make the best of what talent they have, so we can improve and then attract better players in the future. Unfortunately, it appears that our current staff does not have this capability.

  • November 10, 2009 at 7:03 pm
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    I won’t comment on my letter to Jurich issue.

  • November 10, 2009 at 7:23 pm
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    Charlie see what happens when you get back from vacation…The fan base just doesn’t know what to do without your observations on the future of the program. You should forget about vacation until the new coach is here and the program is back on track…

  • November 12, 2009 at 9:33 pm
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    Charlie,

    Not a bad article, but you need to give the Louisville fans a way to express themselves at the last two home games. Why not ask everyone that love the game, the University, and the players to show there support at the game in a way that also sends a message to the AD? Imagine a stadium full of Cardinal fans wearing YELLOW -Yellow hats, shirts, jackets, anything yellow that says we love the game and the players, but we’ve had enough of the incompetence of the coaching and the reluctance of the AD to act.

    • November 12, 2009 at 9:51 pm
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      Excuse me….this should read “..that loves the game….” and “….show their support…”

      One more thought: Some eager entreprenuer can make the shirts and sell them, with all the profit going to the University to pay their way out of this coaching debacle.

  • November 13, 2009 at 11:30 am
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    I think UofL fans would wear kilts and carry bagpipes if it would hasten the departure of Kragthorpe.

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