JaJuan Spillman's impending dismissal (happy vacation, Steve) means that when the hammer drops, U of L will have lost or dismissed 22 football players since the spring of 2007. Since that's the exact number of bodies you need to field a complete offense and defense, I thought it would be fun/horribly, horribly depressing to lay out what that potential team of former Cardinals would look like.
This team will be known as the Redbirds, and they will be coached by Mike Cassity and Charlie Stubbs. Also, all career-ending medical conditions and legal charges have magically vanished since their signing (we're pro).
Here's your starting lineup:
QUARTERBACK - JOSH MILLER (Left Team)
There isn't a pure passer among the bunch, but Miller (a receiver at U of L) did quarterback tradition-rich Palatka High School (Fla.) into the playoffs in his senior year of high school. He only threw for 512 yards, but you don't exactly need a cannon to hit a three-yard out on third and eight.
TAILBACK - GEORGE STRIPLING (Dismissed)
A trio of options here, but we'll go with Stripling partly because I still think he has the highest ceiling of the bunch, and partly because he's the least versatile. Would also see some time as a slot receiver.
FULLBACK - DALE MARTIN (Transferred)
Doesn't have quite the size of an ideal fullback, but he's still strong enough to blow up a blitzer or two. He would definitely get some touches at tailback, especially in situations where we'd choose to use Stripling as a slot and slide Anthony Allen into the backfield.
TIGHT END - ANTHONY ALLEN (Transferred)
Great combination of size and athleticism, and could be a tremendous tight end if he worked on improving his hands. Would also see time at tailback and fullback in certain sets.
WIDE RECEIVER - MARIO URRUTIA (Left early for the NFL)
The current property of the Cincinnati Bengals would be the big deep threat every team has to have, and would also provide a large target for Miller to hit on quick slants or screens. Also, stiff arms bitches.
WIDE RECEIVER - JAJUAN SPILLMAN (About to be dismissed)
The man who began last season as Louisville's third starting receiver would again be the fastest player on this team, and would be used to run traditional routes as well as jet sweeps (hey Charlie) and quick screens.
CENTER - MIKE DONOGHUE (Medical condition)
Donoghue started every game at right guard in his sophomore season before a diagnosis of congenital spinal stenosis ended his football career. He has stayed with the team and taken a position as a student assistant coach, which leads me to believe that he'd be able to pick up the center position relatively easily.
RIGHT GUARD - C.J MILLENBAUGH (Left team)
Millenbuagh, who never actually played at U of L, was named conference Offensive Lineman of the Year in each of his two junior college seasons.
LEFT GUARD - MARCUS GORDON (Left team)
We were never able to learn much about Gordon other than that he was huge (6-6, 320) and battling for a starting guard position before leaving the team. The Cardinals' loss is the Redbirds' gain.
RIGHT TACKLE - JEREMY BAKER (Dismissed)
Like Gordon, we didn't know much about Baker other than his gargantuan size (6-5, 340) and that he was a work in progress.
LEFT TACKLE - MARCEL BENSON (Medical condition)
A starter at guard before Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome ended his career, we'll slide the most experienced member of the group out to the most important spot on the line.
DEFENSIVE TACKLE - AUNDRE HENDERSON (Left team)
One of the highest rated recruits to come out of Kentucky in 2005, Henderson was expected to be a healthy contributor on the defensive line before he abruptly decided to give up football last week. Only the persuasive Redbirds front office could rekindle his love for the game.
DEFENSIVE TACKLE - JAMES MCKINNEY (Dismissed)
The Michigan transfer and former blue chip recruit out of Central High School would have been a huge boon to the Cardinal defense if he hadn't allowed apathy in the classroom to get him booted off the team.
DEFENSIVE END - JONATHAN HOLSTON (Dismissed)
Penciled in as a starter heading into the 2006 season, Holston suffered a spiral fracture of the leg that summer and ultimately only appeared in three games. He and fellow Redbird Lamar Alston were the first two Cardinals to get the boot from Steve Kragthorpe.
DEFENSIVE END - MICHAEL ADAMS (Medical condition)
The eventual victim of one too many concussions, Adams appeared in all 13 games as a freshman on the '06 Orange Bowl team, making five tackles and a sack.
OUTSIDE LINEBACKER - PEANUT WHITEHEAD (Medical condition)
Still the biggest defensive recruit in the history of Louisville football, Whitehead is easily the most athletic of the three defensive ends on the Redbird roster, so we're giving him a shot to put the fear of God into opposing lineman from the outside linebacker position.
OUTSIDE LINEBACKER - WILLIE WILLIAMS (Dismissed)
Chance 3,324 comes with the Redbirds.
MIDDLE LINEBACKER - LAMAR MYLES (Left early for the NFL)
Louisville's leading tackler (by 74) in 2007 with 128, Myles might actually have a bit more help with this squad than he did a year ago.
LEFT CORNERBACK - ROD COUNCIL (Dismissed)
NFL talent, The Longest Yard team head.
RIGHT CORNERBACK - LAMAR ALSTON (Dismissed)
A Paducah Tighlman product, Alston appeared in all but one game during the Orange Bowl season of '06, and was set to back up Council at left corner a year ago before becoming one of the first two players to fall victim to the fresh rules of a new regime.
STRONG SAFETY - CRAIG JAMES (Left team)
James was clocked running a 4.32 40-yard dash at the Florida football camp his senior year of high school, speed which he'll have to use to make up for his lack of size (5-10, 160) at the safety position.
FREE SAFETY - TYLER WIMSATT (Dismissed)
Wimsatt was a walk-on linebacker who played running back at Owensboro High School, but I'm being completely honest when I say that he couldn't do any worse than the guys Louisville had in its secondary a year ago.
PUNTER/KICKER - MARTIN
This is our first real issue. I have no idea if any of these guys have any kicking or punting background, so for the moment we're going with Martin for the sole reason that he has an insanely strong lower body.
Why couldn't Art Carmody have gotten kicked off the team for banging a coach's daughter or something?
KICK/PUNT RETURNER - SPILLMAN
Could have been the best in the Big East. As it is, he's the best on a fictional team concocted for a post on an obscure, team-specific college sports blog.
But that joint was awesome.
That's our team. This is our logo:
After games we read Kafka and drink Margaux...and smoke weed...lots and lots of weed.