Carmody's Corner: On bye weeks, the Oregon State game and more

The following was written by former Louisville kicker and 2006 Lou Groza Award winner Art Carmody

I was never and still am not a big fan of bye weeks, but I understand their importance.  I wish I could give you some crazy inside info about bye weeks, but they're exactly what you think they are. Players use them to get injuries healed, get ahead in the classroom, chase girls, etc.  Coaches use them to game plan for future opponents, take recruiting trips, and fix mistakes from previous weeks.  Practices were usually a little longer since there was no opponent to prepare for, and there would be more lifting sessions in the weight room.  That's about it.

The highlights of the bye weeks were usually when we had the young guys scrimmage.  It would literally say on the practice script: "young guys scrimmage." This was a twenty minute scrimmage at the end of practice for the freshmen that were red-shirting and for the young guys who didn’t play a lot of snaps the week before.  These were always fun because it was like looking into a crystal ball for the future.  These were the the players who were on scout teams or didn’t get many reps during game preparation, and the scrimmage was a chance for the coaches to finally spend some serious time with them.

All of the other players would go to the sidelines and root them on.  The players that made great plays or big hits would get to break down their position groups when it was over.  It did wonders for player development, and was a big reason we had a lot of depth on our successful teams.  I firmly believe that the teams across the country that are successful year in and year out take full advantage of the bye weeks.

The reason I didn’t like bye weeks was because the coaches focused more on fundamentals, and that meant more tackling drills.  The kickers and punters did tackling drills with the secondary.  Unbeknownst to Coach Whitt (our DB coach from 2003-2006), there were un-written rules during tackling drills.  Everyone tried to obey the rules.  There were really no penalties for #1 and #2, except for maybe pissing off Coach Whitt.  No. 3 was different. 

Below are the rules:

1. If you are a DB or a Safety and you go up against a kicker/punter, you do the drill correctly but you don’t destroy said kicker/punter (there would usually be a young guy who would break this rule early on, but eventually they learned).

2.  If you are a kicker/punter and you go against a DB or a Safety, you do the drill correctly and better make solid contact (don’t embarrass our position group).

3.  If you are a kicker/punter and you go against another kicker/punter you do the drill right and under no circumstances do you try to light someone up for show.  This was strictly adhered to by the UOFLKPA (U of L Kickers and Punters Association), and the defensive backs knew this.  The best was when a freshman kicker (no name to protect the innocent) decided to break rule # 3 against a freshman punter.  I tapped Rod Council on the helmet and he made sure he was set up in line next time through to go against this kicker.  Long story short: Rod absolutely crushed the guy and we never had a problem again.  I know it sounds cruel, but it was hilarious to us.  

Other thoughts (CC style):

I was pleased with the way the Cardinals played against a Top 25 team, on the road, three time zones away, and in the rain.  However, I felt that it should have been a huge road W.  There are many facets of the game that the Cards need to improve on, but the way they battled showed the 180 degree turn this team has made from the last two years.  I am officially more excited about the rest of the season than I thought I would be. Thank you Mr. Strong.  Also, the Cardinals going across the country reminded me of all of the away game trips we took, which could lead to a good post about road game memories.  Let it happen, Mike. 

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Because I'm gonna say no to that face

Oregon State brought back some good memories of the 2005 meeting where we hung 63 points on them in a game that didn’t start out as a blowout. 

The game started at noon, which I always hated.  We used to have to get up early and go outside for walk-thrus.  All the coaches would be all excited and trying to get everyone pumped up when the sun wouldn’t even be out yet. 

Now walk-thrus with offensive coordinator Paul Petrino were not your ordinary walk-thrus, they were more like run-thrus.  For four years I got to play DB and had the pleasure of lining up against J.R. Russell, Josh Tinch, Montrell Jones, Harry Douglas, and Mario Urrutia.  I went from not knowing anything about Cover 2 to being the Darrelle Revis (2009 version, not pulled hamstring version) of walk-thru scout defense.  I also remember that the game in 2005 was when Mario Urrutia introduced himself to the college football world by torching the Oregon State secondary.  I loved it when they played the Super Mario Brothers theme song each time he scored. 

I always root for my old teammates, but I can absolutely, 100% guarantee that there wasn’t a more excited person in the state of Louisiana than me when Doug Beaumont caught his first touchdown as a Card against Eastern Kentucky. 

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He was a true freshman when I was a senior and I always respected the way he came into the program.  Doug came in as a hometown hero, was quiet, worked his butt off, studied the game, learned from the older receivers, and did all the right things as a freshman.  In my experience with Doug, he was a true class act.  He has had a great career and has played his heart out.  I really hope that the Cards can get to a bowl game this year because there is not one player that deserves a bowl game experience more than Doug Beaumont. 

I thought I would take the time here to express my thoughts on my friend and former teammate Daniel Covington being shot and killed.  It was hard for me to comprehend what took place not only because it involved Daniel, but also because it involved Isaiah Howes, who was a friend of mine during our time at U of L when he was on the baseball team.  I can’t put myself into their shoes and don’t know the truth of what went on, so this is not the time nor the place to speculate on the matter.  All I know is that Daniel’s life was cut way too short and that Isaiah will have to live with his decision for the rest of his. 

One quick story about Daniel. There have been some articles and videos about Daniel’s trips to Indian Summer Camp, an incredible camp for children with cancer or who have survived cancer.  All of those articles and videos are absolutely correct.  I had the privilege of going to the Indian Summer Camp with Daniel and a few other players in 2006 and 2007, and he was the star.  The purpose of our visit was to say hello, sign some jerseys for each kid to have, and interact for a few hours.  Daniel went above and beyond by having each kid sign a shirt for him.  He would do anything and everything for the kids.  He would take that shirt with pictures from the camp and hang them on the bulletin board in our locker room for everyone to see.  That season, some of those same kids came to a home game and afterwards all of the players that had been to the camp went to go see them and their families.  Daniel might have only played a few plays or not have played at all, but you would have thought he had scored eight touchdowns by seeing the expressions on these little faces. He was still the star of the team to those kids.

I will always remember that about Daniel.  He lit up the room that day and it was just the kind of guy that he was.  All of your former teammates miss you and love you D Cov, especially me. 

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