One question that didn’t get asked of University of Louisville offensive coordinator Mike Sanford on media day Tuesday was how this Louisville football team compares with the one Sanford coached at UNLV last season.

Maybe nobody needed to ask. Losers are losers. Louisville won four games, UNLV won five.  Anemic offense, atrocious defense, no kicking, few receivers. You know all the symptoms, among them that the coach was seen as a nice guy.

Sanford was fired as head coach by UNLV last year after his team compiled a 16-43 won-lost record over five seasons. A major disappointment  following two years as Urban Meyer’s offensive coordinator,  their Utah team won 22 out of 24 games during the 2003-04 seasons, going undefeated their second year with a high-powered spread offense.

Meyer, of course, went on to Florida. Charlie Strong had to consult with Meyer before picking his offensive coordinator at Louisville. Meyer had to be effusive in his praise of Sanford, based on what they accomplished together.

But Strong and Sanford have also worked together in the past.  They were with Bob Davie at Notre Dame during the 1997-98 seasons, Sanford coaching the quarterbacks, Strong the defensive line. Strong knew Sanford well enough that he took Sanford’s word for it that the UNLV administration fell short in providing resources for a winning football program.

Quite a contrast to one in which U of L is pumping vast resources. And it should help answer the question of the direction in which the UNLV and Louisville programs are headed.

Here’s how Sanford responded when asked about who will have the final say on offense:

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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.

3 thoughts on “Sanford begins anew at Louisville, <br/>putting UNLV in the rear view mirror”
  1. Sanford made me a little uncomfortable with all the hemming and hawing in his answer to that question. Hopefully Strong respects him enough that he will let Sanford do his job without too much interference. On the other hand, Sanford may have lost a little confidence during those five years at UNLV. Something to watch.

  2. As I recall there was some controversy in a game that Sanford coached at UNLV when he protested at the end of a game and I thought he was 100% in the right and defended his players to some “marignal” referees.

    I really liked his fire in that incident. I think he’s going have a wonderful offense here.

  3. He’s gotta be better than the quagmire that was Kragthorpe last year. A trained chimp with a banana and rolled up Courier-Journal could have directed the offense better…

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