Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich broke an extended silence regarding the state of the football program when he spoke with ESPN's Brian Bennett for a story posted on Bennett's blog yesterday afternoon.
About U of L's current lackluster season, Jurich had this to say:
"My expectations were not high this year because I knew the reality," Jurich said on Wednesday. "One thing I didn't want to do to the fans was lie to them.
"When I said we'd spend the next two years rebuilding, there was a lot of flack that came with it. Nobody wants to hear that. [But] it's a long haul and I knew that and I buckled up for it.
"It's hard for some people to hear that when one year you're going to the Orange Bowl and now you're not. Our fans are so new at this, they thought we'd be going to the Orange Bowl every week, but it's not like that."
Not being in the Orange Bowl one year after being in the Orange Bowl was something I think we all could handle. Not being in any bowl one year after being in the Orange Bowl and for the first time in ten years is another story.
Jurich then takes responsibility for the last two seasons off of Steve Kragthorpe, and places it on the slimy shoulders of Bobby Petrino.
"An injury devastates this team," Jurich said. "A lot of times we don't have the next guy to go in, so we just have to shuffle guys around.
"It's not Steve's fault. He was left shorthanded; there's just no way around it. There's a reason Bobby left. It wasn't like we ran him out of here."
There was a reason Bobby left: because he was offered a boatload of money to be the head coach of an NFL franchise. He didn't leave because he was hoping to avoid having to coach a team that returned the vast majority of starters - including a Heisman front-runner at quarterback - from a squad that was 12-1 and four points away from playing for the national championship.
Now I'd take a bat to the groin for Tom Jurich, but after taking that shot and spending several weeks in the hospital, I'd still tell him that not attributing any of the blame for a pair of piss poor seasons to the head coach is ridiculous. Even if every player on last year's team was staying out until 5 a.m. on game nights and dropping acid five seconds before kickoff, there's still no excuse for not guiding that squad to at least eight victories.
I understand and respect standing with your guy, but I do think there's a limit, and giving him a free pass on any and all things that have gone wrong over the past 22 months exceeds that limit.
You're still awesome.