Release The Hounds


Tonight one of the photographers at the game Gail Kamenish captured this picture of Coach Mack.

It reminded me of the Simpsons Characters Mr. Burns. One of Mr. Burns’ trademark expressions is the word “Excellent”, muttered slowly in a low, sinister voice while steepling his fingertips. And He occasionally orders Smithers to “release the hounds”.

Tonight Coach Mack released the hounds on Southern as Louisville flexes their muscle in game #2 with a 104-54 win. Coach Mack also talks a lot about excellence. Tonight in his post game you can tell that he believes his team took another step towards that goal tonight. He still hasn’t smiled during a post-game but tonight he appeared satisfied.

It’s getting to be the standard to talk about Jordan Nwora after these games. And tonight he stood out again coming off the bench scoring 20 points, grabbing 6 boards, with 2 steals and a blocked shot. There was one sequence in the game that stood out the most to me tonight. Jordan missed a three badly… Sprinted down the floor squared up on D, grabbed a defensive rebound and then led the break hitting CC for a three coming back up the floor. Good stuff!

Following Nwora tonight in scoring and also having himself a game was Malik Williams with 17 points and 5 boards. Malik is one of the guys on this team whose upside is off the charts. He really is a ball of clay at this point just waiting for someone to mold into an NBA type player. Coach Mack has a great reputation for player development, especially with Malik’s skill set. Mack knows how to use that versatility.

Another guy with a high upside is Steven Enoch. This big fella has not missed a free throw yet. Going a perfect 9-9 in game one and 5-5 tonight. He is 14-14 on the season. I said it last week and will say it again this week. This guy is a great weapon to have.

Honorable mention tonight goes to Akoy Agau.
‪(Old Faithful) The average interval between its spoutings is 78 minutes.‬
‪(Old Faithful Akoy) The average interval between his games played in a Louisville uniform is 1439 days. It was good to see him back on the court. That guy has had some journey.

It’s all about taking steps forward. Tonight Team 105 did that. L’s Up!

Coach Mack Post Game:

Malik Williams Post Game:

Jordan Nwora Post Game:

Akoy Agau Post Game:

Bittersweet Win in Cards Opener


Cardinal fans have waited all summer for the Chris Mack Era to begin… and Thusday night it started with a bang literally as the new intros featured fire, pyro and a laser show. But it didn’t take long for the celebration to end and the grind to begin. Defensive lapses, turnovers, and offensive inconsistency kept a scrappy Nicholls State team in the game before the Cardinals were able to pull away late.

Chris Mack didn’t make his way from a JV Basketball coach to a 4 million dollar gig at Louisville by settling for any type of mediocrity. And he showed me tonight that he isn’t going to let any of the sentimental stuff get in his way either. When I asked him how his first Louisville win felt in the postgame he didn’t mix his words in expressing his displeasure for how this game turned out.

It is refreshing to have a head coach that doesn’t sugar coat things. I don’t think we’ll ever be left wondering what Coach Mack really thinks. He’s gonna tell you. This guy is a winner in every aspect. I know that his drive prohibits him from showing too much emotion but I bet that he will have the game ball from Thursday night saved to commemorate his first win as the Louisville coach. There haven’t been many other guys get that first one here as head coach of the Cardinals. Pretty big deal IMO.

And even though the game didn’t go as well as they had hoped there were some bright spots on the player’s side of things as well. Steven Enoch is going to be a beast for this program. He pretty much had his way against the much smaller Nicholls State frontcourt. He had 15 points, 8 boards, and 2 blocked shots. Perhaps his most impressive stat line was going 9 for 9 at the free throw line. Talk about a weapon.

The Cardinals spent a lot of time tonight at the charity stripe going 42 of 55 from the line for a respectable 76.4%. I really like how Darius Perry took the ball to the basket. He ended up with 14 points. Jordan Nwora struggled from the outside and adjusted his game making some strong moves to the basket. He ended up with 12 points. Ryan McMahon provided a spark in the first half hitting some big three-point shots.

I know that these guys can’t relish in a close win against a scrappy but inferior opponent. But this game was good for them and I’m glad the way it turned out. Thursday night started my 6th season behind the scenes covering Louisville Basketball. I’m looking forward to covering this team and watching them grow and am excited for the Chris Mack Era. L’s Up!

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Coach Mack Post Game:

Jordan Nwora Post Game:

Ryan McMahon Post Game:

Darius Perry Post Game:

Christen Cunningham Post Game:

Red and White Scrimmage Team 105 Squad Goals


Red and White Scrimmage Team 105 Squad Goals

Coach Mack walked on campus and the players were ready. We have a great core group of guys. They are guys who want to be coached and they really bought in pretty quick. The physical transformations are very obvious. Nobody gonna just take the ball from this group. And you can just see the extra bounce in their game.

Jordan Nwora and VJ King will be the straw that stirs the drink this season. They are both bigtime guys and there won’t be too many better on the floor in any game this season. This coaching staff has given both of these guys an environment they can thrive in. They led the way Sunday. King scored 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting, including 3-of-4 from three, and snagged five rebounds. Nwora recorded a double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds.

Really like what I see out of Christen Cunningham. He has a real nose for the lane and is really crafty off the dribble. He puts his head down and goes. He’s gonna force a lot of help situations this season. Nwora and McMahon will feed off those dump outs. He’s gonna run the offense but ”CC” is gonna score points. He led the Red team in scoring with 15, grabbed five rebounds and handed out four assists. Solid!

My sleeper for this season is Malik Williams. He is starting to realize that his game is in the post. I like that he has the versatility to step out and shoot that three but good things happen when he is jumping off of that block. He had a couple of really strong moves Sunday that were legit. He had a good scrimmage scoring 11 points and hauling in six rebounds.

Once he sheds the ring rust Steven Enoch is going to be big time. And he is a big dude. He already has a solid post presence but once he gains some confidence watch out. His goal should be to dunk the ball every time he gets it. We will see that beast eventually. Enoch pitched in 10 points and eight rebounds Sunday.

These are the guys that stood out at the scrimmage and I think you can expect them to stand out for most of this season. I will give an honorable mention to Dwayne Sutton. He has a blue collar game. Not gonna bust out on the stat sheet but is going to do all the little things and will have that one tempo changing play that stands out. He finished with seven points and four boards.

There is still a lot of talent and ability left on this roster folks. Ryan Mac left from that great 2015 Class. He has a lot of ability. VJ King the lone 2016 recruit is one of the most highly touted in the history of the program. He was a 5* Top 25 guy. It’s all there if the right buttons are pushed. The 2017 Class of Nwora, Williams, Perry and Thomas was top 10. All of these guys have upside for days. Thomas left the program but I think the other three are ready to step into their roles this season. Enoch is also an elite talent. Once he learns to put it all together. Say what you will about Rick but he didn’t leave our cupboard empty.

Not going to get too confident after an intrasquad scrimmage but you can feel the change and that’s exciting. If this team meets its squad goals then they could be a special group.

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Out with the old, In with the new, and a little Déjà vu


Coach Petrino said after the game last night: “We didn’t play well at all. But the one thing that helped us at halftime is that we had some guys with good attitudes and they worked hard and found a way to win.”

You can be negative about the coaching and it’s ok to be upset that things appear to be in some disarray with Louisville Football. Just remember that there are young men busting their ass every day and who busted their ass last night to make sure the Cardinals didn’t lose this game against WKU.

I’m not happy things aren’t working out like we had all expected them to all offseason. I had very high hopes for this team and for this season. There are no more excuses and some of the things this team did last night are not what we have been used to. As fans, it’s time to put our big boy/girl pants on and support the players on this team who are trying their best under some obvious disarray.

If not for the guys in the locker room who gave it their all last night we’d be sitting here today with a loss to WKU. We’d be no better than Kentucky who got their tails whipped by the Hilltoppers a few seasons ago. And have a two-game losing streak to them. We’ll just leave that right there. I digress.

My point being. We got guys in that locker room busting their asses for this program, this team, and the fans. Guys like Jarrett Jackson who came in making big plays including the game-winning sack and Robert Hicks who led the team with 11 tackles last night. These young men were in high school last year folks. Our defense is banged up. These guys stepped up. That’s big for this team moving forward.

On the offensive end of the ball, things are really in disarray. Strange territory for Coach Petrino. But now he will pull out his book of tricks from the past two seasons and start game planning around a young and dynamic new starting QB. If you aren’t excited after watching Malik Cunningham the last two weekends there is no hope for you. There were moments on that field last night when I experienced Déjà vu. This young man is the real deal folks. Our season is not lost.

It was great seeing Dae Williams come back into his own last night. He’s a great athlete but an even better person. With 63 yards and 2 TDs he just took over in the 4th quarter and started running over guys. Back a few summers ago during practice and before he got hurt Dae Williams was such a presence and so dominating (just busting thru guys) that he had everyone’s attention. Haven’t seen media guys so giddy at a practice as that day. Dae Williams is for real folks. Our season is not lost.

We have a solid offensive line (they still have their moments), and two very athletic and physically superior athletes in our backfield. And I think our receivers finally come around with the leadership of Malik Cunningham. This gives Bobby something to work with. I’m optimistic he figures it out. We still get 8 wins and beat the Cayuts ass…

As a side note, I do feel really bad for Jawon Pass. I don’t know what’s going on with the young man and hope he figures things out. Card Nation has been super supportive to him and we need to continue that. I hope he keeps battling.

It was miserable at times but I managed to find some enjoyment in last night. I like watching young guys take advantage of an opportunity and the new stadium expansion is incredible. It adds a lot to the game day experience. Can’t wait for the Florida State game. Go Cards!

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The Cardinals pay a Toll in opener with Bama



It wasn’t the ending that Louisville and Cardinal fans had hoped for but a lot of young guys got action last night and there were some things that this team can build on moving forward. They played possibly the best team in the country and maybe one of the best programs in the history of college football. In Florida, they are big on their toll roads. Not all but a lot of things that happened last night was the toll a team pays when playing the Tide. You find things you can build on from this one and move on. Coach Petrino said in the post-game: “it’s only failure if you don’t learn from it.”


I like Pass and think that he is going to be a good one. He looked poised in the first quarter especially considering it was his first start in College Football and especially since he was playing the best College Football team on a pretty big stage. His throws were efficient in those first few sequences and he made the right choice with the football. He made some crafty moves in the pocket and was able to advance the football getting some first downs. This guy is still a ball of clay and there is still some molding to do. Jawon said after the game “ I just tried not to give up.” This kid won’t give up. We can’t give up on him.


When I get back to my old Kentucky home I will have to gather all of those aggravating toll slips and pay the tolls from Florida. When our Cardinals get home they’ll have to pay a different toll. I don’t imagine practice will be much fun after the film work. I won’t mention any names or call anyone out specifically but not helping our QB off the ground after a sack, missing blocking assignments, missing route assignments and some general apathy happened last night. You gonna talk a big game you better be ready to play one. But. Get your guts ran out and do better in the next one.


I think the general message I’d have for Cardinals fans would be to look forward to the next one and the season ahead. Our Cardinals hung with the best in the country for almost a quarter of football. The O-line blocked, the defense played aggressive and smart, our Redshirt Sophomore QB looked good in the pocket and the offense was moving the ball down the field. A lot to build on here folks. And just think about how exciting the new stadium will be. If you are giving up on this young and talented Louisville group after an ass whipping by Bama you are cheering for the wrong sport. They are the standard. Get over it. See you all at the beautiful Cardinal Stadium next weekend.


On a side note, it was great seeing #8 in the building last night. That guy really bought in here. He was a Louisville football player but will always be a Cardinal at heart. Luv you #8!

We lost but I’m still going to Disney World. L’s Up!

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Not a Dominant win, but a Dominant performance against Grand Canyon

I didn’t get the dominant win that I wanted today but enjoyed a dominant performance by Ray Spalding. He put up one of the most impressive stat lines of the season today with 21 points, 16 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 blocked shots and 3 steals. When Ray Spalding plays at this level this team can beat anyone in the country. Give me double-double Ray and I really like our chances Friday.

I would have liked to see a more complete game today but overall really can’t complain. This team had their world turned upside down to start this season. They have now won 6 straight and only dropped 2 games during this non-conference stretch. These kids seem focused. There was a local reporter trying to bait a few of the players today in the locker room. He asked them about Quade Green’s comment about beating Louisville for Christmas. None of our guys took the bait and each was very businesslike in their response.

This team has a lot of positive momentum and if they can keep improving they will be very good. Happy Holidays folks!

Go Cards!

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Cards Survive the Great Danes


I’d love to caution fans that not every team is as good as they appear or as bad as they appear during this time of the season. Most teams are still learning to play together, and guys are still adjusting to their roles on the team. Who will take the big shot and what five do you want on the floor when the game is on the line.

Folks will snarl when they think about this game thinking that the Cardinals should have won by 20. Yes, a 20-point win would have been nice, but I don’t think that would have helped this team get better. The Cardinals have shown that there is still more than enough talent to be a serious ACC contender despite all the chaos. But there are still issues with consistency, which has allowed teams such as George Mason, Omaha, St. Francis, Memphis and now Albany to hang around. Albany was not a pushover team, they are experienced, solid offensively and have victories over Iona, Yale and more than hung in their game against Memphis.

The Cardinals found themselves down with just minutes to go in the game. That scenario provided an opportunity for Coach Padgett to see what five guys he wants on the floor in those situations moving forward. And it provided an opportunity to see what guys are going to step up in those moments. Ryan McMahon showed that he can hit the big shot. He hit several of them tonight with 15 points. He was 5-8 from the three-point line. Ray Spalding also hit a big shot down the stretch.

Our bigs struggled tonight especially rebounding the basketball. But credit some of that to a crafty Albany group who used technique to out-rebound the much bigger Cardinals. Those guys blocked out. Our guys tried to use their size advantage instead of their technique. But Learned tonight that doesn’t get the job done.

It wasn’t pretty, but it was a win… I’d rather have an ugly win than a loss any day of the week. I bet North Carolina fans would have rather had an ugly win tonight. This Louisville team is a work in progress and they will learn all season. I’m just going to enjoy the ride.

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College Gameday: She stole my heart, they stole my wallet, and Clemson stole our thunder


Me and my beautiful wife celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary at the big game on Saturday. She spent her day following me around in the smoldering heat so I could get video for the Cardinal’s Beak Fan Page and so I could enjoy the big moment. (She really doesn’t like sports) But she knew how excited I was and felt that buzz all week at our house. I don’t think there was one day that I didn’t have on my Louisville gear.

I don’t think that I’ve ever been so excited for a game and the folks in the local media did a remarkable job of building up the hype. It was wall to wall coverage all week and Louisville social media was fully engaged. When ESPN College Gameday comes to town it is a happening and has become one of the great phenomenon’s in college sports especially College Football. The day was going to be incredible right…

It did get off to a good start… It was awesome taking in all the sights and sounds on and around 2800 South Floyd Street. My son really enjoyed listening to the DJ at one of our tailgate stops and even my wife started to have some fun after a great meal and beverages at the Cardinal Hall of Fame Cafe. Yes, I even had her on board now for what was going to be a great game. This was going to be the perfect night. My Cardinals were going to finally beat Clemson on the National stage and vault into the playoff picture. It was all happening…

As we approached the gates at Papa John’s Stadium I was thinking in my mind how the day couldn’t have been any better and I was happy that my wife was having fun. I couldn’t wait to get to our seats and watch this game. I just knew that the Cardinals were going to win and I envisioned how it was going to look as fans flooded the field afterwards.

We made it inside and you could feel the energy of the crowd. One last pit stop before we headed to our seats. My late father always told me to put my wallet in my front pocket when I was in a crowd and as I was walking out of the restroom I reached for my wallet to do just that. “Oh Shit! My wallet it’s gone”, I grabbed my sons hand and run back in the bathroom frantically looking to see if it had fell out there. It had not. My wallet was gone. Credit Cards, Social Security Card, Bank Cards, driver’s license and about 20 checks all gone.

Losing my wallet made me feel horrible but the anxiety of having to tell my wife about it was much worse. This was her night too… she had finally bought in and was ready to have a great time… as she came out of the women’s restroom she had a big smile on her face ready to do just that. What happened next threw an atomic bomb on the whole day. I told my wife about the wallet, and we spent the first 30 minutes of the game in the breezeway calling credit card companies, and banks… it was horrible.

There was 9 minutes left in the first quarter and I hadn’t seen live football yet. Then it happened. It was like a call to arms when the train horn finally sounded and the score was 7-7. We agreed to fight on and try to salvage something of the night if not for ourselves at least for our son. And hey our Cardinals were in this thing…

The Cardinals defense was battling and would hold Clemson to just 3 field goals on their next six possessions… The score was 19-7 as the second half started. My family and I were rejuvenated and came out of our seats when safety London Iakopo sacked Clemson QB Kelly Bryant for a 9-yard loss to force a punt on their first possession to start the second half. I just knew that would be the spark the Louisville offense needed to get it going. My Cardinals were going to win this game and were going to save my night.

High fives and smiles everywhere in our section. Let’s get Lamar Jackson the ball and let him work his magic. My phone started buzzing in my pocket. I was getting some type of notification I looked down and it was my credit card apps informing me that someone was attempting to use my cards. Target 250.00, Wal-Mart 300.00, Hertz rental 500.00… “ugh not this shit, not right now”… then just as soon as I looked back up towards the field Clemson LB Dorian O’Daniel snatched the Lamar Jackson pass from the air like those thieves did my wallet.

Things started to unravel from that moment on and the thunder that this team had all week was gone, what air was left in the Louisville defense was finally gone, the excitement in Papa John’s Stadium gone and any hope I had of salvaging this day was gone.

As far as my assessment of the game: The defense has been beat up by everyone over the last couple of days but they didn’t quit. Guys like Iakopo and Jon Greenard were out there flying around and making big plays. I really like Greenard. We need more guys on this defense like him. He communicates, is active and knows where the play is going every time. And we’ve got to get our All-American Jaire Alexander back. I’m still confident that Coach Sirmon can get these guys playing at a high level, but we also need the personnel. Recruiting will help that down the road. But for this season to be a success we’ve got to have some guys step up. Guys like Drew Bailey who had nine tackles to end last season against LSU but has yet to show up this season.

I don’t think the Louisville offense showed up at all… They were outclassed and outplayed by the Clemson defense. I know that there are several future NFL players on the Clemson defensive unit but that should have made our guys step it up even more just to prove that they could play with the best. They did not. I didn’t like the comment from Coach Petrino Monday about his guys not having the confidence to beat a Clemson. What the hell is that?

The one thing that Coach Strong established again quickly when he took over was confidence. During his time at Louisville he had his team’s believing they could play and beat anybody and anywhere. His teams were world beaters. We’ve got to get that confidence back. I’ve seen the Cardinals finish just one season with that type of confidence since Coach Petrino’s return. The 2015 group that won 6 of the last seven games including that big win against A&M in the Bowl game. That group finished as world beaters. Hey Coach Petrino stop giving me excuses and give me some more of that.

As far as my 11th wedding anniversary… It was messy but isn’t that what marriage is all about. Coming together to solve problems that this life throws at us. She was there patting me on the back when my Cardinals lost and we worked together in our time of crisis and kept things moving forward. It was a crappy night but I’m thankful to have spent it with such an amazing person.

The next two weeks will be great rehab for a Louisville team and fan base that had the wind knocked out of them. There are two very winnable games coming up at Papa John’s Stadium. It will give the team a chance to heal up, work some young guys in, and work on things on both sides of the ball. And it will give fans a chance to feel good again. These next two weeks are important and could determine how the rest of the season goes. It’s not going to get any easier with a trip to NC State and Florida State left.

Here’s hoping for a better trip to Louisville the next time around. And watch your wallets folks!

Go Cards!

Cards “Ring The Bell” In Chapel Hill


The Morehead-Patterson Bell Tower is a staple on the campus of the University of North Carolina. Each hour of the day the Morehead-Patterson Bell Tower rings to remind their students and faculty of the generosity of two families associated with the university since its earliest days. On Saturday, it was the Cardinals Football team who were ringing a bell of their own.

This summer in the Louisville weight room is where this Cardinal’s Football team put in the heavy lifting for this season. When they reached a new level, they got to ring the bell. Saturday when Lamar Jackson muscled thru the UNC defensive line to score a touchdown, when Seth Dawkins manhandled a UNC defensive back with that stiff arm to get a first down, when Malik Williams rumbled for those extra yards and the offensive line held those blocks late in the 4th quarter it was all a result of the hard work these guys put into that weight room. Strength and Conditioning Director Joe Miday and assistant Director Scott Wilks have said that the weight room bell is a privilege and that these guys must earn the right to ring that bell with their performance in the weight room and on the field. I think that there are some players who earned the right to ring that bell yesterday.

It all starts with Lamar Jackson. Folks what else is left to say about this young man? Late in the third quarter Jackson had accounted for 375 of the team’s 454 yards. By the end of the third quarter he had accounted for 82.6% of the total yardage. And this year that involves him using his arm and getting his teammates involved. He has completed passes to 9 different receivers (WR, TE, & RB) in each of the first two games. When he did run he ran with a purpose. Today he fought thru two of UNC’s best defensive linemen on the goal line for a score. You probably won’t hear much from some of the national sports folks. They’ll be too busy eating crow to comment on the performance of number 8. He had 525 total yards and six touchdowns. Lamar Jackson is a better football player this season and against a veteran UNC defense he proved that he is still the best football player in the country.

The Louisville wide receivers have given themselves the nickname “Breadwinner’s”. Very fitting because these guys are going to be cashing some big checks someday.

All 6 feet 3 of Seth Dawkins was on display Saturday. He worked his tail off trying to get open and that effort was good enough for 45 yards with his biggest play coming on a 21-yard reception late in the fourth quarter when Dawkins stiff armed his way to a first down when the Cards needed it the most.

I don’t think that Devante Parker could have picked a better person himself to wear that #9 jersey. Jaylen Smith has stepped up and taken over where the guys before him left off. He has emerged as Jackson’s main target. And yes, I see some of that same chemistry that Teddy and Devante had. Smith is one of the premiere revivers not only in ACC but in college football. Today he had nine catches for a career-high 183 yards and a score. When this team needs answers, Smith comes thru with the big catch. He has done that for two games now.

And what about Dez Fitzpatrick… last week he breaks out with a big score and this week follows that up with 78 yards and 2 touchdowns. This young man is another guy who is stepping up in clutch situations and making big plays for this football team. It’s not an easy thing to make the transition to big time college football and only a select few can do that in their first season. Dez Fitzpatrick is doing that.

Remember when I said last week in my post-game summary that this Louisville team needed a running game. Well they might have found it yesterday. Malik Williams became the first running back in several games to rush for more yards than Lamar Jackson. Williams had 149 yards with a 74-yard run late in the 4th quarter to help the Cardinals secure a victory. And several times Williams fought for the extra yards to get those late first downs. Saturday afternoon he established himself as the number 1 guy heading into the game with Clemson. For this Louisville team to take it to that next level it needed to find a running game. Williams could be the guy to help them do that.

No unit in the Louisville Program has received more criticism than the guys on the offensive line. Even after they showed some improvement last week they still had their naysayers. I couldn’t be happier with this group after Saturday. They minimized the penalties, gave Lamar a clean pocket for most of the game and held their blocks late in the 4th quarter that allowed for that Williams 74-yard run to help seal the victory. The Louisville offensive line has taken a beating but yesterday they gave one out.

There are still some growing pains with the Louisville defense and they had some of those head scratching moments Saturday. There were some guys who stood out in this group. Dorian Etheridge led this unit with 8 tackles, Ronald Walker stepped up again in the absence of Alexander with 7 tackles, Zykiesis Cannon took off where he left last week with 5 tackles and Trevon Young in his second game back with 5 tackles. I said last week that these guys would keep improving as the season went on and I still believe that. There is a lot of talent on this side of the ball folks.

Our Cardinals are 2-0 and Saturday they answered a lot of those questions that were surrounding the team after game one and there were no turnovers and only one false start. Yesterday was a big step forward for this group and a true team effort. They did ring the bell. Things are going in the right direction and they’ll need it with a big game against Clemson looming. I was cautiously optimistic after game one. After week two I’m just very optimistic. Can’t wait until the next one… Go Cards!

This Cardinal Fan Is Happy to be 1-0


(Photo courtesy UofL)


Weeks and weeks of anticipation came to a head on a beautiful Saturday afternoon in Indianapolis. It all started with a great Tailgate party thrown by the Petrino Family Foundation & J Wagner Group in the shadows of Lucas Oil Stadium. It was just the kind of buildup and atmosphere you’d want before a game. And for the first game it was just perfect. After our day of tailgating concluded we made our way to our seats to finally cheer on our Cardinals Football team in their first game of the season.

I don’t think this game got the buildup it deserved from a National standpoint but local media and Cardinal fans knew exactly what it meant for the two head coaches facing each other for the first time on opposite sidelines. Coach Petrino joked in his pre-game press conference earlier in the week that the last time he had seen the Purdue coaching staff was at his daughter’s wedding this summer. It was probably all smiles that day but Jeff Brohm and his staff weren’t going to give any gifts to Coach Petrino or his Cardinals on Saturday night.

I think folks underestimated and are probably still underestimating just how much the familiarity between these head coaches effected the game. Nobody in the country knows Coach Petrino better. Purdue’s co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Nick Holt served as the defensive coordinator for Coach Petrino at Western Kentucky in 2013. That means he faced the Petrino offensive every day in practice. The familiarity was so intense that Coach Petrino had his staff making a box around him holding up signs to hide his signals. But even through that adversity our Cardinals would prevail over Purdue. It was far from a stellar performance from the home team but there were a lot of positives to build on moving forward.

Now about the game…

All off-season Lamar Jackson has been disregarded and in some cases disrespected by some of the sports media folks. But last night they got their first chance to eat some of those words. Yea he was 30 of 46 with 378 yards through the air along with 2 touchdowns and 107 yards on the ground but he also showed in his first game of the season that he wants to be more than just a one-dimensional quarterback. He showed great command in the pocket “when there was one” and made what I thought were some great passes in clutch situations. Lamar looked poised even when things weren’t going well. He completed passes to 9 different receivers and showed command of the offense. I couldn’t wait to see Lamar 2.0 and I like what I seen.

You could say that it was in the Cards that Jaylen Smith and Seth Dawkins were going to be guys who would step up to fill the void left at the wide receiver spot from the departures. And sure enough these guys combined for 173 yards of offense. I don’t think too many folks expected the kind of game we seen out of redshirt freshman Dez Fitzpatrick. This young man caught the game winning score and had 95 total yards of offense. He made some great catches and was clutch. I don’t think we’ve seen the end of Fitzpatrick. He and Jackson showed some great chemistry in the passing game. This young wide receiving corps for the Cardinals has me excited about the season.

Something I’m not so excited about is the Louisville run game. Anytime that Bobby Petrino has been real successful he’s had a solid run game. For this season to be a success the Cardinals are going to have to find one. Back during Spring ball, I thought we had our man when I was watching big Dae Williams busting through the pile, but then he goes down with a knee injury leaving this team still searching for that guy. The Cardinals had 146 yards on the ground on Saturday night but only 41 yards came from running backs Reggie Bonnafon and Jeremy Smith. Hope someone develops at this spot and fast or it could cause some problems. Especially down the road.

To have a solid run game you must have an effective offensive line. Another part of this team that has garnered some concern. After game one I do see some promise and do think that Coach Summers has this group going in the right direction. To their credit Lamar wasn’t sacked one time and there didn’t seem to be one time where this unit completely broke down like we seen last year. There were a few false starts but overall it was a disciplined effort I thought. I’m not going to keep beating these guys up. They earned some optimism last night.

Last night was the official start of the Coach Sirmon era at Louisville. I have been so excited to see how the defense would look. Just as I expected they were very active and flying around all over the field. They held a Purdue offense that before Brohm was built for the Big 10 style run game to just 51 yards. And held a Brohm led offense to just 344 total yards. That’s about 200 under his average. They got off the field on third downs only giving up 5 of 14 conversion attempts, had 4 sacks, and had 3 interceptions. Overall this group looked pretty good I’d say. They will only get better.

There were some great standouts on Saturday night. Big kudos to Ronald Walker who stepped up like a boss when All-American Jaire Alexander went out with a leg injury. Walker had 6 tackles. Speaking of Alexander, it’s being reported today that he will be fine and that it was not a significant injury. Great News! Zykiesis Cannon was in beast mode on Saturday night with 9 tackles. These guys are going to have a big season. Chucky Williams had 6 tackles along with the victory sealing interception late in the 4th quarter. And there were other guys like Stacy Thomas (6 tackles) who stepped up and made plays. I think these guys are playing loose and are as active as I’ve seen in a few seasons.

Yesterday was a great day. The tailgating, the atmosphere and the game were all great. Considering all the factors I’m very satisfied and happy that my team is 1-0 to start the College Football season. There is a lot of work to be be done but after game one I feel like we have the coaching staff and the players to get it done. My hats off to Coach Jeff Brohm and his staff for giving the Cardinals a great battle. Purdue is on its way up and they have a team this year that could win some games. I know I will be cheering for those guys to succeed. They were Louisville First and will be Cardinals Forever.