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.

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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.

9 thoughts on “Weather forecast melts Louisville football fans

  • April 17, 2011 at 10:14 am

    I think you’re being a little too hard on the fans. I can almost assure you that the spring game about 75 miles to the east wasn’t attended any better. Louisville also doesn’t have the weather luxury many of the $EC schools do being that most of them are in the South where the weather is more favorable. The LSU, Alabama, and Auburn spring games were played on Sat. afternoons with sunny skies and temps well into the 60’s. One more possibility could have been the cold weather and the fact it was played the evening before Thunder. Many probably decided to go to a cold and a once a year event like Thunder vs. a cold, rainy evening at PJCS for a game that doesn’t count. There are 6 games at PJCS this fall and I can almost assure you that they will be sold out. Count on it. Next year play the spring game as it was meant to, on a Saturday afternoon and not the same weekend as Thunder.

    One more thing. There’s absolutely nothing to do in Auburn and Tuscaloosa, AL besides athletics at both schools. That’s why you see 70-80,000 people there. UL athletics is in competition with many happenings in the city.

    • April 17, 2011 at 7:03 pm

      Good points all, CardRon. Plus, there were some killer tornadoes in the south that I was unaware when I made the post. I had been traveling all day, got home to discover the leaky pipe and wet floors, call insurance to get the leak stopped, and then headed right on out to Papa John’s to discover the low turnout. I know where our football program came from, what it has achieved, and the struggle to get back. Just don’t want to go back to the bad old days.

      • April 18, 2011 at 5:53 am

        Oh one more thing. Just look at the bright side. The former coach could still be here and you had that same leak. j/k

  • April 18, 2011 at 5:50 am

    Hopefully, it will never be like that again. Weather was crazy around here Friday and I agree with you that had something to do with the turnout. Move this game to a Sat. afternoon and make it like game day with tailgating incentives that will encourage more people to attend.

  • April 18, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    CardRon, we have played our spring game on Friday night every since the Bobby Petrino days. This was the third time that weather kept the attendance down. The best turnout was in 2007 right after the Orange Bowl and good weather brought out 30,000 fans. Friday night was the definition of fair weathered fans, which we learned that Louisville has a lot of. There are really only about 5 to 10 thousand die-hard Louisville football fans

  • April 18, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    Friday night before Thunder has tailgating incentives because you get out there, tailgate and get to see all the airplanes do their practice runs for the airshow on saturday

  • April 20, 2011 at 8:30 am

    And, Sir Elton John was in concert that Friday night at the KFC YUM Center. I know of at least 12 potential Spring Game attendees that decided to forego the pad popping to see “Rocket Man.”

  • April 20, 2011 at 9:20 am

    Paul, I find that almost unbelievable. Certainly unacceptable.

    • April 20, 2011 at 3:35 pm

      Find it however you want, Zag…but it was a draw from the potential crowd.

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