My Dad--who sometime during the past 10 years changed from a hothead, forever-yelling-at-the-TV Louisville madman into a mellow, "there's always next year" Cardinal apologist--told me in the weeks leading up to this game that Kragthorpe would improve and we'd see a completely different football team come Saturday. I promptly told him "I really hope so but Kentucky will not only win, they'll win by a lot". I'm happy to admit that I was wrong.
Anyone who watched Scott Long's press conference after the game on Saturday could feel the emotion exuding from Long and sensed that there is hope for this season after all. Anyone who watched the other postgame conferences of Burke, Tronzo, etc...saw even more evidence that this team has grit, heart and most importantly team unity. And Kragthorpe in his presser seemed more like Steve Kragthorpe the human being and Louisville Football Coach than Steve Kragthorpe the cryptic, passion-less guy wearing Louisville polo shirts. Still a bit too defensive though but great job standing up for his players and taking the blame for poor decisions.
As was mentioned by many on this site already, the team found their identity in Commonwealth Stadium and in the locker room. Sadly, the only reason we're talking so highly of the team after losing to UK is b/c of how frustrating it was watching the last couple seasons but it is what it is. This is the first step to overcoming whatever happened the last 2 years under Kragthorpe and moving on together, the fans' opinions of their coach be damned. And by the way, Kragthorpe is not off the hook for the loss and definitely his job--he knows that...but you can't say there wasn't a promising improvement in the playcalling department. I'm anxious to see the coaching staff's performance in the next 2 games before judging Kragthorpe's performance as the Offensive Coordinator and that says a lot about how far the team has come--and incidentally how far I have come as a fan from last year.
63-14 is not happening this year. I don't enjoy losing but I do enjoy seeing a team that plays with passion. Maybe that's just something losers say but there's enough talent on this team to combine grit with skill and surprise some people. I'll follow my Dad's example and mellow out for 2 weeks and suspend my judgment on Kragthorpe and the future of this team. Either way I have a feeling I'll enjoy this season b/c of players like Scott Long and Justin Burke.