The following was written by former Louisville kicker and 2006 Lou Groza Award winner Art Carmody
Thoughts about last week, Memphis, and homecoming:
Like a lot of you, I tried to watch the Louisville-Arkansas State game on my computer screen. For the most part it was successful but it drove me nuts when the computer screen would freeze up. I am not like Ron Jaworski and won't pretend to be, but this is what I liked about the Cards game last week.
Bilal Powell is a lot of fun to watch, and he did his Reggie Bush impression (on the field, not off the field) last weekend. I know it was against Arkansas State, but Powell is turning into one of those guys that can make a play anytime he touches the ball. He was another freshman that just did what he was told in 2007 and was a huge spark for us when we needed it. I enjoy watching him and Victor Anderson in the backfield together.
Great to see Froman starting to live up to the expectations that were unfairly placed on his shoulders last year. When he plays with confidence, he is dangerous. I credit this more to the coaching staff than I do to the individual players, and this is where I will go off on a tangent to explain my opinion.
I have always believed that the players have the talent and it is the job of the coaches to tap into that. They use their players' strengths to put them in successful situations on the field. I think that is why you see coaches like Chris Petersen at Boise State, Nick Saban at Alabama, and Bobby Petrino at Arkansas (and while he was at Louisville) etc. that are able to have successful offenses and defenses, respectively, year in and year out. That is what Coach Strong and his staff are doing. They are putting their guys in positions to succeed and in turn forming an identity that the players are buying into.
Receivers that wear # 1 and that are good are fun to watch. Josh Bellamy is fun to watch. I used to like to watch Derrick Mayes for Notre Dame (a receiver that wore # 1) make plays. Bellamy makes plays and is off to a great start to his career.
It wouldn't be a blog if I didn't mention Chris Phillpott. Chris is like a little brother to me and to see him hit a big field goal to ice the game was fantastic. I don't know who was more excited, his dad or me. He is off to a great start to the season and it is good to know that if the Cards stall in opposing territory, they can still count on three points.
This week Memphis comes back to town, and to answer Mike's question about "not liking" Memphis: Not really a big fan of them either.
I don't know why, it might have to do with their "check with me" offense that we used to face, or the fact that I once was stuck at the Memphis airport after my flight was cancelled to Shreveport. Other than that I only have two football memories of them, one bad and one good.
The last time they were here was in 2003, which was one of the few times our teams lost in PJCS. That was one of those weird days, it was overcast, and nothing went right. All I remember is talking to Justin Rascatii (former U of L QB and national champion at James Madison) about the game and how we couldn't believe the score.
Enough about that, now we can reminisce about the trip to Memphis in 2004, which was a classic. That Memphis team was better than its record that year indicated. They had DeAngelo Williams, who was an absolute stud. A lot of you remember that game so I won't go into a lot of details except that this was where I first had the Doubletree cookies (reference from last week) and there was a speaker in our bathroom at the hotel so that you could hear what was being played on the T.V.
It was always exciting to play on ESPN Thursday night football. Everyone in the college football world would have the television tuned into those games and it was a chance to show what you could do. That particular game was back and forth the whole way and would have come down to a field goal in the final two minutes if not for a third down conversion from Stefan Lefors to Josh Tinch. Eric Shelton gave us the lead with a TD late. The play of the game though was when Kerry Rhodes ripped the ball out of DeAngelo Williams's hands and returned it forty yards for a touchdown. It was a big win, not only did it keep us undefeated in Conference USA, but it was a win leading up to a short week before we played TCU.
Last night I was sitting with my good buddy Frank (Chris) Weidmar (big fan of Card Chronicle), and we were discussing the importance of sports and memories. Not to get all sappy but everyone has certain places and events that always bring a smile to their faces. With homecoming being this week I thought I would mention one that always brings a smile to mine, and that is running out to kick in Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.
I'll never forget when I visited Louisville for the first time and got to take a look at the stadium. I wanted to play college football that was larger than life, and I was sold as soon as I saw the field. I wasn't really recruited in high school and Louisville was giving me a chance to go after my dream. For anyone who plays college football, I am sure that they would type the same thing. Playing in PJCS was a great experience, not only because of the big games that were played or the field goals that I kicked, but because I got to run out in the smoke with Louisville across my chest with some of my best friends in the world. You only get so many opportunities a year to do it and I hope the current players will enjoy theirs to the fullest.
They get one this Saturday. Go Cards!!!