I got a Sense of Renewal at the First Open Football Practice of Spring


It took some time to process the Louisville football team’s loss to LSU and the awful way they ended the 2016 football season. The Cardinals would start the 2016 season with a lot of optimism and promise. But it wouldn’t end that way. There is an old cliché that says the third time is a charm… And although Coach Petrino finished the season with 9 wins and a 7th straight trip to a bowl game I don’t think his third season back as the head football coach at Louisville would be considered a charm. He finished last season with a lot more questions than answers about his football team. What had been a return full of praise and perceived success now mired by some failure and skepticism. The honeymoon is over.

But Spring is a time of renewal, and new growth and the signs of change are all around us. The same could be said for the Louisville football program. New coaches, new players stepping into key roles and an overall change in attitude seems to be the theme of the Cardinals Spring Football workouts. I got a real positive vibe being out on the practice fields on Friday afternoon for Louisville’s first open practice. There seems to be a renewed spirit along with more intensity overall and a greater attention to detail. And it’s not just the coaches who are leading the way. I noticed that the players were encouraging each other and holding each other accountable as well. That shows me that this coaching staff already has these guys buying in.

Here are a few other things that stood out to me:

The Louisville defensive unit had a lot of hop in their step on Friday afternoon. They weren’t just going through their reps and seemed like they were having some fun. I think new Defensive Coordinator Peter Sirmon has simplified things trying to make the defense more active instead of reactive. He and his assistants were really paying attention to detail but doing it in a way that their players better understood it. Or at least it seemed that way to me. Coach Sirmon has said that his players will set the depth chart. Just by being around this unit for a couple of hours it appeared that the message has been heard loud and clear. There are a few players who stood out. SR Safety Chucky Williams was active along with SR Linebacker Stacey Thomas, Junior Corner Jaire Alexander and Sophomore Corner Cornelius Sturghill. Some younger guys stepping up on Friday were Redshirt Freshman PJ Blue and Sophomore Linebacker Amonte Caban. There are a lot of studs on this side of the ball for the Cardinals. I really like this unit.

The Louisville Offensive line was horrible last season. There is not a nicer way to put it. They just completely stopped trying to block anyone in the Bowl game. There is footage of them literally side stepping a defensive lineman. If Louisville is ever to take the next step up Program wise, then this is an area that must be fixed and fixed fast. Enter new offensive line coach Mike Summers. Coach Summers hasn’t changed much since his last run in Louisville maybe a little greyer around the edges but the intensity is still the same. Watching this group on Friday I really like our size. Players like 6-7 315-pound SR Toriano Roundtree, 6-6 324-pound JR Lukayus McNeil, and 6-6 318-pound JR Geron Christian look the part. If they can learn some of that intensity and take on the identity of their new coach, we should see a big step up from last season.

Watching the offensive unit on Friday I can tell you that this team has a lot of talent at the skill positions and some size too. I could watch Lamar Jackson launch bombs to 6-6 JR Wide receiver Devante Peete all day. These guys tried that connection several times on Friday afternoon. Coach Petrino has several dimensions to his offense and again has the players to get it done at every level. I was most impressed with Redshirt Freshman Running Back Dae Williams. This kid doesn’t get rush yards he gets rumble yards. He and SR Running Back Jeremy Smith would be a great 1-2 punch. The play of the day was made by Sophomore Tight End Jordan Davis who had an impressive one handed grab for the completion. Wide Receivers coach Lonnie Galloway and Running Backs coach Kolby Smith are “Players Coaches”. They were right on the heels of their guys Friday. Smith was running through the gap with his guys making sure they ran every single play out. I think this will pay off this season. The Cardinal offense will be legit.

There was a lot of blame to go around last season but very little if any should land on the shoulders of QB Lamar Jackson. He had one of the most impressive individual performances in a season that won’t be duplicated for many generations. The only bad thing about that is that his team didn’t leave him with much choice. I think being surrounded by a solid team could really make his stock go up even more. There seems to be a big emphasis on using some of the other talent on this team and coach Petrino really spread the ball out on Friday afternoon. He had Lamar using his legs and his arm. Just watching and observing one practice I think we will see a more complete player this season out of our Heisman Trophy winner. I love seeing him hurdle players but it’s also fun to watch him throw those bombs.

It’s hard to really take in all that you want during just one of these practices but I did try to make my way around observing the things that I felt important to follow up on from last season. You’d have to search far to find someone who was more disappointed at how the 2016 season ended. But the program responded to that disappointment and positive change filled the spring air on Friday. I really like what I see and my optimism is thru the roof. I plan on heading back out to the practice fields on Tuesday the 28th for the second Open day. I would encourage you folks to do the same. Go Cards

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Senior Day Salute…


We have reached the part of the college basketball season where teams are winding up the regular season and ramping up for the post season tournaments. Years of hard work hang in the balance as seniors across the country near the end of their college basketball careers, and programs all over the country are having their Senior Night/Day ceremonies. On Saturday, the University of Louisville will honor three players for their contributions to the program. On Saturday, seniors David Levitch, Mangok Mathiang and grad transfer Tony Hicks will lace em up for the last time in that locker room, will come charging out of that tunnel to the alma mater for the last time, and will get the love and admiration from the Yum Center crowd for the last time.

Ceremonies like on Saturday are part of the process that allows closure for the seniors and a passing of the torch to the underclassmen, but in successful programs like the University Louisville the tradition never graduates. This program is rich and vibrant because many groups of seniors have cared enough to give their very best. There are still many chapters that have yet to be written, but the 2017 basketball seniors have added to the outstanding tradition of the Louisville program. David and Mango have been a part of an AAC Regular Season Championship, AAC Tournament Championship, Sweet 16, Elite 8, and have helped the program win 104 games. Tony Hicks had some big shoes to fill following two great grad transfers from last season. He has battled injury and struggled to find his place but has kept at it and contributed in some wins this season. These guys aren’t done either as all will play a big part in the post season.

The walk-on spot at the University of Louisville has become synonymous with passion, heart and determination. Coach Pitino has used this roster spot to find local kids who have dreamed of playing for the Cardinals and give them the opportunity to fulfil that dream. David Levitch played at North Oldham high school and has said that Louisville is “where he always wanted to play” and that it was his dream school. He said that the best basketball advice given to him was “always work to get better”. He followed that advise and has got better every season and earned himself a scholarship. The effort that David has always displayed when he got his playing time is what has stood out to me. The young man has one gear and that is “go”. He is unselfish and the total team player. It has been fun watching him succeed.

A foot injury provided him a red-shirt year and it seems like Mango Mathiang has been on campus for 10 years. He has always been the guy on the team that provided a lighter side of things making his team-mates laugh. In the serious nature of high profile college athletics that is a necessary thing to have. He has had his ups and his downs and like with every player that comes through the program we have watched him grow up both as a person and a player. He has played an important role in a lot of wins. Two moments that stand out to me was the free-throw he hit in 14-15 to send the East Region Championship game into overtime and the last second shot he hit to beat #2 Virginia in the season finale that same year. Mango said that the best basketball advice given to him was “if you really love basketball, work hard and you will make it.” Well you made it Mango. It’s been fun to watch your journey.

I’m happy that I will again be a part of the Senior Day ceremonies at the University of Louisville and this will be my fourth year covering the event. It’s always a special day and Saturday will continue that tradition. Hope the Cardinals can get a big win over Notre Dame and send these guys out on a winning note. Go Cards!

Signing Day Success for the Cardinals

Coach Petrino has taken the winning culture left at the University of Louisville by the last coaching staff and capitalized on it. Over his first three seasons back he has won 26 games, 17 conference games and became bowl eligible for a 7th straight season this past year. All of this while facing some of the toughest scheduling in years. After a three game losing streak to end this past season it left folks with a lot more questions than it did answers, and it left Coach Petrino heading into year number four knowing that he had to make some changes in order to reach a new plateau. He didn’t waste any time in changing things around in his coaching staff hiring new offensive line coach Mike Summers and a new defensive coordinator in Peter Sirmon. The next step in the process was to address the recruiting needs of his team and yesterday he signed 22 new Cardinals that should do just that.

The 2017 recruiting class could end up being the backbone of things reaching that next level for the Louisville Football program. Despite the results at the end of the season there has been a lot of success on the field at the University of Louisville and now that success is starting to spill over to the recruiting trail. Not only does Coach Petrino have a lot of wins in his back pocket he now can boast a Heisman Trophy winner. The Cardinals headed into this 2017 Class needing receivers, running backs and offensive linemen… The biggest grabs of this class are ESPN 300 WR Justin Marshall followed by WR’s Joshua Johnson and Corey Reed Jr. all out of the Peach State. ESPN 300 RB Colin Wilson was a big get along with three-star tight end Kemari Averett who will be another pass catcher. On the defensive side of things C.J. Avery is a top-10 safety and a tempo changer in the back-end. Three-star safety TreSean Smith is a steal out of Ohio and four-star corner Russ Yeast II could be a true difference-maker. The duo is joined in the secondary by some guys with a lot of upside in Lyn Strange, Kaheem Roach and Anthony Johnson. ESPN JC 50 Ronald Rudd along with 4* OT Toryque Bateman and 3* OG Cole Bentley are the biggest grabs along the line and this group is physically ready to contribute.

Yesterday was a big success for Coach Petrino and his staff and I think that they will be able to carry some of that positive momentum into the spring. Cardinal fans also seem to still be very excited about what the future holds as it was announced to the crowd last night that season tickets were sold out and that there was a waiting list. The 2017 recruiting class had 14 three star signees and 7 four star signees… The class was ranked 29th by ESPN, 28th by Rivals, 32nd by 247 Sports and 31st by Scout. I do think that this class will be big help for years to come especially in helping establish a solid offensive line. I’m already looking forward to getting out to the practice fields this spring and seeing these new guys get after it.

One of the best things about National Signing Day is Louisville’s Signing Day party. I really like how the coaches get up and break down each guy in the class. It gives that inside look at just how they evaluate these guys throughout the process. Below is video of the Coaching staff breaking down the 2017 Class… Enjoy! GO CARDS!

Coach Petrino talks Russ Yeast & Caleb Chandler Signing Day Party 2017

OL Coach Mike Summers talks Ronald Rudd, Toryque Bateman & Mekhi Bectom Signing Day Party 2017

WR Coach Nick Petrino talks Malik Cunningham & Joshua Johnson Signing Day Party 2017

Secondary Coach Cort Dennison talks CJ Avery & Anthony Johnson Signing Day Party 2017

LD Scott talks Kam Jones & Malik Clark at Louisville Signing Day Party 2017

Coach Klenakis talks Kemari Averett & Cole Bentley at Louisville Signing Day Party 2017

Kolby Smith talks Colin Wilson & Mitch Hall at Signing Day Party 2017

Coach Lorenzo Ward, talks Kaheem Roach & Lyn Strange at Signing Day Party 2017

Coach Lonnie Galloway talks Justin Marshall & Corey Reed at Signing Day Party 2017

Coach Peter Sirmon talks Rodney Owens, Dorian Etherdge, & TreSean Smith Signing Day Party 2017

OL Coach Mike Summers Returns to Louisville


With the way, the Louisville football team ended their season it left more questions than answers for Cardinal fans. Well maybe Coach Petrino is starting to answer some of those tough questions. We learned this past week that Todd Grantham had been replaced as defensive coordinator. That coaching shake-up was a little unexpected as most thought if anything it would be the offensive line coach Chris Klenakis that would be replaced. Today during the Duke game, we have now learned that will indeed happen. Florida offensive line coach Mike Summers will be the new head man for the guys in the trenches.

The Cardinals finished the season ranked 124th allowing 3.62 sacks a game and 95th in Tackles for loss allowed. When you have a guy as fast as Lamar Jackson being tackled so much in the back field you know that the O-line must be doing something wrong. After years of inconsistent play out of the O-Line position something had to be done to try and correct things. College football games are won and lost by what happens in the trenches. All of Louisville’s losses over the last three seasons can be attributed to the poor play up front. It was time to shake things up.

Enter Mike Summers who will try to get this unit better. Summers is no stranger to Louisville fans as he coached the offensive line here during Coach Petrino’s first time around. The Cardinals rushed for 2,974 yards in 03, 3,005 yards in 04, 2,278 yards in 05, and 2.411 in 06. In 2003, the Cards set a then-school rushing record while ranking fifth nationally in total offense (488.9) and 10th in rushing offense (228.2). Two offensive linemen, Jason Spitz and Travis Leffew, were All-Conference USA first-team in 2004 and All-Big East first team in 2005. During his tenure, Louisville won the 2004 Conference USA Championship and 2006 Big East title, and played in the 2007 Orange Bowl, 2006 Gator Bowl, 2004 Liberty Bowl and 2003 GMAC Bowl. The 2004 and 2006 Cardinal teams both finished ranked No. 6 by AP.

In 2006, his Louisville offensive line paved the way for the Cardinals offense, ranking second nationally (475.3), seventh in passing (290.0) and 12th in rushing (185.3). Three of his linemen (Renardo Foster, Kurt Quarterman and George Bussey) were All-Big East first-team picks. The 2004 line helped the Louisville offense set school records with 6,468 total yards, 3,005 rushing yards, 597 points and 47 rushing TDs. The Cardinals led the nation in both total offense (539.0) and scoring offense (49.8).

Coach Klenakis is a great guy and a great recruiter and will remain on the staff as the tight end coach. I’m glad that he is staying with the team but there had to be a change made with how this season ended and I think that Mike Summers is a good hire. He already has chemistry with Coach Petrino and has a proven pedigree. Welcome back to the Card Nation Coach Summers…

Twas The Night Before the Heisman

As Louisville Football fans we have seen the program soar to prominence over the years. This can be attributed to great administration, great coaches and great players. I remember watching Teddy Bridgewater and saying to myself that it would be a long time before we had a program changing player like that again. I feel like Teddy bridged the gap to help Louisville be a legitimate contender in the college football world. When Teddy was winning a Big East Title with one arm and on one leg to give the Cardinals a berth to the BCS and then shredded the Florida defense to win the Sugar Bowl he was creating a winning legacy that would live on even after he was gone.

Now here we are three years after Teddy Bridgewater threw his last touchdown pass in a Cardinal uniform getting ready to watch the Louisville Football program win it’s very first Heisman Trophy. Lamar Jackson has said Bridgewater is a reason he ended up looking at the Louisville program. While I was thinking to myself years ago, that we wouldn’t see another player like this in a long time little did I know that the next man up was just a few years away from taking over that role. Where Teddy bridged that gap Lamar Jackson has helped the program take a giant leap on to the College Football stage.

Behind the raw athleticism, electrifying play-making and his will to win Lamar Jackson had Louisville in the national conversation and playoff picture for most of the season. Now for those efforts he has himself in a position to win the biggest individual prize in college football. He has been on a whirlwind tour over the last couple of days picking up different hardware along the way but nothing will be as sweet as hoisting that 20-pound bronze statue on Saturday night. The excitement level has reached an all-time high as Cardinal fans show their support by bathing their homes and businesses in Red light for the QB sensation. We all know what this means and how important it is. Especially for that winning legacy to continue.

I had a fan share this great little poem over on the Fan Page and I think it sums up well how excited we all are.
Thanks for sharing Susan.

Twas the night before Heisman and all through the street,
the houses lit red for the man with the feet.

The Cardinal player who can do it all
Now waits in New York for his name to be called!

Fans wearing RED to support number 8,
Lamar is a player with humble, great fate!

So raise up your L’s and keep the faith PROUD
With hope that the Heisman will land with “our” CROWD!

#L1C4LIT – Susan Blake Turner

College Football Playoff was Not In the Cards


Just a few weeks ago we were buzzing about the Cardinal’s Playoff chances and counting down the hours until the Playoff Rankings show came on. Louisville climbed to that 5th spot and it became a real possibility that they could still do this. The excitement reached another level. For the first time in program history the Cardinals had a College Football Playoff shot and a Heisman front runner. The hype swirling around the Louisville program was astounding. There was extra coverage on ESPN, extra coverage from national print media, and social media back-and-forth between players, fans and media. It’s the kind of exposure that every major program wants to achieve. The run that the Louisville football team had during the regular season was special. But the kind of pressure that comes along with that will make a great team shine or expose leaks in the foundation.

Unfortunately we had leaks in the foundation…

This weekend I sent out a tweet that I thought the players had let the hype ruin their season. After having a few days to process it all I still think it played a part. The extra posing, the extra gestures… a lot of stuff we weren’t seeing from these guys when the season started. I really do believe that these guys started reading their headlines. Somewhere in all of that complacency set in. When this team played hungry and with something to prove it masked their inability to play clean football. When they got complacent they weren’t able to overcome all of those turnovers, penalties and mistakes. This Louisville Football team is really good. They have explosive playmakers on both the defensive and offensive side of the football field with talent everywhere. But they have turned the ball over 31 times and had 93 penalties along the way. The Cardinals had 19 penalties and 7 turnovers over the last two games.

The offensive line accounted for many of those penalties and allowed 39 sacks this season. When the national spotlight was on them at Houston they gave up 11 sacks. This group was out-manned for most of the season as they faced some very good defensive units. Physical struggles turn into mental struggles resulting in a complete breakdown. There was some improvement this season but this unit still needs a major upgrade to compete for a national title.

Lamar Jackson is such a fierce competitor that sometimes he tries to do too much. Over the last couple of weeks this has become more apparent. Trying to make the play himself while not making the right read, diving for the extra yard while not protecting the ball and throwing into tight coverage all trying to make something happen for his team. This young man is an incredible athlete, but is still very raw. I’m reminded of the story about the old bull and the young bull standing on top of the hill. Lamar is going to learn that if he walks down the hill he can be more effective sometimes. Lamar Jackson will mature a lot as a result of this season. He is going to take that Heisman honor as a personal challenge to live up to what that standard is. It will help him be a more complete player next season. Yes we have him again next season…

The Louisville defense was just good enough but good enough didn’t cut it in the 3 losses. I think some of this responsibility falls on the players and some of it does fall on the coaches. The Louisville staff was out coached at Houston and against Kentucky in my opinion. It’s up to the coaches to have the players in the right spot so they can make the play. That didn’t happen at times. We have seen more big plays on this defense in the last two weeks than we’ve seen in two seasons. I think the defense got complacent and lost some of their intensity. They gave up 943 yards in the last two games and the defensive line only had 1 sack and 9 tackles for loss over the last two weeks. This group can say they had a pretty good regular season but sometimes just being good isn’t good enough.

I cover these guys from summer workouts, thru spring football and into the season. I know nobody in that lockerroom took failure lightly. They are going to get back to work and be ready for the Bowl game in a few weeks and will finish strong. Losing the playoff hopes and the Governor’s Cup over the last two weeks was rough. Putting it into perspective just being in the playoff picture was great for the program and we had held that Cup for 5 years. The program will also have its first ever Heisman Trophy winner. Did I mention that Heisman Trophy winner will be back next season?

Next year we will be back in that playoff picture and we will take that Cup back. Go Cards!

No Hurricane Lamar, but a Hurricane Evacutaion on a Bye-Week


The loss to Clemson this past Saturday left a bitter taste in the mouths of Louisville fans. And thanks to a bye week one that will linger for awhile. Thanks to a trip to Disney World that begin last Sunday and a Hurricane evacuation this week I was able to avoid those feelings of disappointment. But now that I’m safe at home and looking through the stories I missed this week. I can’t help but feel for our guys. This group has worked hard and has paid their dues. They deserved a big win like that.

But just because you deserve something doesn’t mean it will be handed to you. And there was no way that Clemson was going to give the Cardinals anything. One of the Clemson players didn’t even want to give Lamar Jackson’s head back to him after a tackle. I digress but do want to give credit to Clemson for winning their big game. They had some guys step up. They have a great team and a great coach.

I had mentioned in my pre-game and it wasn’t a big revelation that Clemson would ride that big wave of emotion that comes with a Saturday night Primetime game in Death Valley. That place was electrifying. And their guys were amped up. This really stood out in the trenches.

The Cardinals O-Line and D-Line struggled getting beat both physically and mentally. The O-Line allowed a QB as elusive as Jackson to get sacked 5 times. And the penalties were staggering. Especially with them trying to overcome the emotion in that place. The D-Line struggled to contain Watson and allowed him and Gallman to play well above their rushing averages.

The mistakes weren’t limited to that part of the game but it did set the tone for the night. Being under pressure all night Lamar struggled to really get things going missing some throws and missing his reads. And the Louisville DB’s had their hands full with Watson getting time to deliver to his receivers. The absence of Shaq Wiggins didn’t help either.

I expected big time performances from Josh Harvey Clemons and Devonte Fields. The reason these guys came to Louisville for their second chances were for games like this. Harvey Clemons got his 11 tackles, but Fields was nonexistent with just two tackles. I think the defense really missed his presence. He can really set the tone when he’s getting to the QB.

Lamar missed some opportunities with Staples and I really thought that this would be a big night for this duo. Really thought Staples would have a huge outing. He like the guys I mentioned above came to Louisville for big games. Hope he can get it going soon. He’s got a lot of big play potential and the offense is going to need him.

The Cardinal’s lost the game but not all was lost. We got to see the Heisman Run of Lamar Jackson solidified. Clemson slowed him down but they couldn’t stop him. We got to see the coming of age of one of the best tight ends in College Football. Cole Hikutini fought through extra contact, holding and tripping for 7 catches and 84 yards. He is going to be fun to watch during the home stretch. We also got to see the emergence of guys like Jaire Alexander and Zykiesis Cannon who really made some great plays to help change momentum at times.

And finally we got to see this Louisville team take a big punch in the gut and fight to come back. They gave themselves a chance to win this game and even in defeat showed the 3rd largest TV crowd to ever watch a Saturday night football game that they do belong in the discussion this season.

It was a crushing loss and that game could have big implications on the rest of the Louisville Football season. Emotions tend to get the best of us sometimes but I was extremely disappointed to see some fans on social media bashing James Quick after the game. Without his play we wouldn’t have had a shot to win that game. No chance.

It’s all about perspective anyway isn’t it? As I mentioned above my family had to evacuate from our fall vacation due to a deadly hurricane coming across the southeast. This storm will cause all kinds of damage and loss of life. I’m so thankful we made it home safely and happy to be at home watching the storm from my TV instead of in person.

If you got so upset about a loss that you lashed out at a student athlete then you need some perspective. There were many mistakes Saturday night. But those mistakes will be corrected and nobody wanted it more than the players who have laid it all on the line.

The bye week is hard on the fans especially after a loss. It’s good for the team. Time to heal up and the extra practice time will give the Cardinals a chance to get back to work to correct things. Duke has a very good team and it should be a competitive game. Like most of you I Can’t wait! Go Cards!

Prayers to all of the folks in the path of Hurricane Matthew. Stay safe folks!

Rick is on a roll….


I’m not going to lie I was worried that the Dorm Incident would have an impact on our recruiting for a few years. But it hasn’t happened and one could argue that Rick Pitino is on the hottest recruiting  haul he’s had in years. Back in November he inked 5* top 25 player VJ King to the 2016 Class and now has two 4* top 50 players committed to the 2017 Class in #42 center Malik Williams and #48 true point guard Darius Perry.

With his big man of the future Williams committed most assumed Coach Pitino would next look for his point guard of the future. Today we found out who that would be when Darius Perry announced his commitment. By all accounts Perry is a very talented player that can do it all. He is a triple threat on the perimeter. He can drive and pop, hit the three and run an offense. He has a very solid shot. He will be a very nice compliment to Ryan McMahon in that shooting guard spot in a few years. I’m looking forward to seeing this duo on the court together. Lights out!

This 2017 Class is coming together nicely. With two areas of need addressed I think Coach Pitino and his staff will now narrow down their focus as this class only needs two more guys. Some of the hot names floating around are Brandon Randolph, Alex O’Connell, Lance Thomas, Makhtar Gueye, Lindell Wigginton and DJ Harvey.

If any of you were ever worried about the future then those thoughts can rest easy because the last three years of recruiting have been some of the best ever in Louisville. The Coaching staff are not only getting great talent they are also getting solid young men who want to play hard, improve and help their team win. By all accounts this latest commit fits that mold. Congrats to Coach Pitino and his staff for all of their work paying off. Keep it rolling!

ESPN Breakdown of Darius Perry:

ESPN Analyst

Strengths:

Perry is a true point guard that is tough and competes on both ends of the floor. He pushes the ball on the break and does a good job running the halfcourt offense. He can also make plays when the things break down. Perry can get to the rim and knock down the open three. He is a terrific open court passer as well. Perry has a tight handle that allows him to change speeds and direction and weave in and out of traffic with ease. Perry also has excellent court vision that he uses to get the ball to open teammates on time and on target. Perry can also play off the ball and make scoring plays from the wing. He is also an excellent on ball defender that applies relentless pressure.

Weaknesses:

Perry will need to continue to add strength. He also over dribbles at times and becomes a little careless with the ball all will be fixed as he gain valuable playing experience and maturity.Perry will need to continue to work on developing his overall point guard skills and decision making at times but has already made positive strides in those areas.

Bottom Line:

Perry is a true point guard that can handle, pass and make open jumpers to the arc. He is a good athlete that is tough and competes which makes him a high major point guard with tremendous upside.

Video of Darius Perry:

Darius Perry Silky Smooth SG @ NBPA Top 100

Ten Seasons Ago the Kragthorpe Era Had Just Begun


Sorry for the reminder but you can’t really appreciate where you are without being reminded of where you came from.

The one thing that I noticed at Media Day this past weekend is that the winning attitude and personal drive for excellence is very much engrained into this Louisville program. This is a program that now has everything it needs to get to that next level of competition and compete for both conference and national titles. It’s not easy climbing the ranks of College Football and it hasn’t been easy for Louisville.

Every year at the Media Day event we are provided a great hard bound copy of the media guide. As I was flipping through it this weekend I was reminded that it had been ten seasons ago that Coach Petrino left the first time and we were just headed into year number one of Kragthorpe.

Ten seasons ago Louisville Football fans were still dealing with the loss of Coach Bobby Petrino as he headed to chase his NFL dream. We were headed into year number one of the Kragthorpe era. After being a field goal away from a possible National Championship appearance Cardinal fans had to sit thru three seasons of sub 500 football 15-21 overall record and a 5-16 Big East record. Not to mention three straight losses to Kentucky.

What had taken generations to build up Steve Kragthorpe came along and in three seasons tore it all down. He was even responsible for the worst jersey in Louisville’s history. “The Ville” jerseys… Yea remember those… As I watched during that 2009 season my heart broke seeing what had become of the Cardinal football program. And I wasn’t the only one.

After the rock bottom season of 2009 Tom Jurich sent Kragthorpe packing and brought in a guy that got the ship headed back in the right direction. Coach Charlie Strong cemented his legacy as the Louisville coach who done major damage repair and fast. It was Coach Strong who implanted that winning attitude and personal drive for excellence back into the Louisville program.

There is a lot to be learned from a disastrous coaching hire, but the biggest is not to ever do it again. That’s why when Charlie left to chase his dreams Tom Jurich didn’t hire another guy to build a foundation; he hired the guy to finish the job. It has all come full circle. Ten seasons ago Bobby left us holding the bag and this season could have us holding the trophy.

Working thru Media Day it was obvious that these players believe in themselves and in the coaches leading them. And the message was loud and clear that the coaches believe in their players. There is just something in the air folks. It’s that smell of success. Expectations are thru the roof and after what I’ve seen so far they should be.

After watching the Louisville program struggle thru those sub 500 years and not getting to celebrate at the end of the season in a bowl city has sure made me respect their success that much more. I’m excited about where the Louisville football program is and I’m excited about the guys leading it. I do think Coach Petrino will finish the job this time around and can’t wait to celebrate when he does.

Below is some of the video I shot from the Football Media Day event Saturday morning. You can judge for yourself the attitude and excitement. I asked each coach about their confidence in the depth this season. Great teams have a great depth chart. The 2 has to be just as good as the 1 and the three has to be ready to go. I also interviewed some of the players who will be very important this season.

Coach Petrino Part One:

Coach Petrino Part Two:

Offensive Line Coach Klenakis:

Wide Receivers Coach Galloway:

Secondary Coach Heyward:

Linebackers Coach Tony Grantham:

Lamar Jackson:

Reggie Bonnafon:

DeVonte Fields:

Brandon Radcliff:

Jamari Staples:

DeAngelo Brown:

Always a light hearted moment during Media Day:

Deng Adel & Donovan Mitchell take their games to Adidas Nations

Adidas Nations, the premier international grassroots basketball program is holding their event this weekend. Practices, pool play and college counselor games are being held July 29-31. More than 80 of the top under 18 players from around the world have the opportunity to hone their skills under the guidance of elite coaches and players. The camp culminates August 1 with third-place and championship games played at Cerritos College beginning at 4pmPT and broadcast live on ESPNU.

Over the years several Louisville players have been chosen to be counselors at the Adidas Nations Camp. This year Deng Adel and Donovan Mitchell got the honor. There were 37 current U.S. college players, who competed on four teams. The counselors are taught and put through drills by coaches and pro-type players. They also get to scrimmage a lot against other top players. The experience should help both of these guys get better and that is important heading into a season where both will play significant minutes.

Here is a list of college players at Adidas Nationals:
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Deng Adel started his first two games as a freshman and had a small setback missing eight games with a sprained left knee suffered in practice on Nov. 20. He
returned to practice on Dec. 20. He had his best game of the season against Boston College where he totaled season highs with 13 points, seven rebounds, four assists and 34 minutes starting in place of injured Damion Lee. He started the last five games, averaging 7.2 points and 3.2 rebounds per game while providing a valuable defensive presence for the Cardinals. He played in six games as a freshman where he scored 8 points or more. Deng is a match-up nightmare for opposing teams and can score in a lot of ways. There has been a buzz surrounding him this summer and by all indications he is due for a special sophomore season. Adel had one really stand-out performance at Adidas Nations on Saturday when he had 18 points, 4 rebounds, and 1 steal.

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Donovan Mitchell had many moments where his athleticism stood out last season. He is just one of 10 players in Louisville history to score as many as 14 points in a freshman career debut, tying for eighth on that list. He made his first college start against Wake Forest, scoring a career-high 18 points and pulling down a career-best eight rebounds. Mitchell played at least 10 minutes in every game last season and was a starter on five occasions. He was a double-figure scorer in 13 games and averaged 7.4 a game. If Donovan can add a consistent jump shot to his arsenal along with his extremely athletic game he will be one of the very best to ever suit up for the Cardinals. I have enjoyed watching him evolve and look forward to seeing him be one of the best players in college basketball this season. Like Adel there has been a lot of buzz around him also this summer. Mitchell’s standout performance of Adidas Nationals came on Friday night where he had 10 points, 6 steals, and 4 rebounds.

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As we get ready to embark on another exciting Louisville Football season it’s never too early to talk some basketball. The ceiling is very high for the current Louisville roster. Players tend to have the biggest jump under Coach Pitino from their freshman to sophomore year. Deng Adel and Donovan Mitchell are both guys who will play major roles for the Cardinals this season. Glad that they are out getting in the extra work. Go Cards.