clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Carmody's Corner: A Conversation With Scott Radcliff

Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

I haven't been on here in a while, all my fault, nobody else to blame. However if I did have to put the blame on somebody it would be CardsFan922 for no other reason in that it gives me a chance to bring up that one time he didn't give me a ride when it was like 15 degrees and snowing and I was walking back from the stadium to my hotel (it was not 15 degrees and it was not snowing but it will continue to get embellished as the years go on).

A couple of quick notes:

- I had a great time representing Louisville football as the presenter for this year's Lou Groza Award at the College Football Awards Show in December.I got to meet Gerod Holliman for the first time and he did a great job representing the program. Congrats to Gerod for adding the Jim Thorpe Award to the trophy case at PJCS.  Also got to hang out with Coach Schnellenberger again while in Palm Beach, FL where he coached me up on how to wear my suit buttons.  Had no idea there were rules about it, but coaches keep coaching and I am now good to go.

-Really enjoyed watching Coach Petrino in his first year back and thought the team did a great job.  Congrats to the seniors for all that you have done to help keep the program's momentum going.  Looking forward to next year already and that game with Auburn in Atlanta will be here before you know it.

-I was able to bring my dad and one of my younger brother's Aubry to the CC tailgate at Notre Dame. One of my other younger brother's, Drake, is a CC tailgate regular.  Thanks to Mike and crew for their hospitality.

-I think I saw where Louisville is sending 9 guys to the combine? That is incredible and speaks volumes to the talent that Charlie Strong brought in and the way Coach Petrino continued to develop that talent this past year. Also, great news with keeping the coaching staff intact.

I have had the idea to continue doing these posts with former players, personalities, pretty much whoever I can get, but it has been a work in progress so I apologize for letting so much time pass between my visit with Danny Barlowe.  I am working on a few right now but it is tough getting people to commit time to do these (you all know who you are), so my sincere thanks to Scott Radcliff for taking time out of his busy day to chat with me.  I will continue to work on trying to get more and more people to do these.

I am sure the first question you may have is, "Hey Art, why interview Scott Radcliff?"  My first response would be "It's Carmody's Corner, I'll do whatever I want, long as Mike Rutherford lets me do so." My second response would be "Let me tell you why."

I ran into Scott a few weeks ago and didn't realize I was talking to him until about five minutes had passed. I enjoyed watching Scott play because I know how hard it is to be a walk-on.  For every Scott Radcliff there are probably 15 other walk-ons that quit, give up, or don't want to put in the time and effort that it takes to be a Louisville Cardinal football player.  Very few then go on to start and even earn a scholarship.  Scott had the opportunity to be a normal college student, but he had a dream like so many of us have and went 100% after it to try and achieve it.  As usual the below comments are from my conversation with Scott.

On Senior Day:

The night before was very special, all of the seniors got to stand up and talk about their career and what it meant to them to be a Cardinal.  Honestly, it was hard to not choke up, it was the last night with all the guys which was very emotional.  It goes by so fast, from the guy listening to the seniors as a freshman to now being the guy to speak to the younger guys, it was a very bitter-sweet moment.

My favorite moment as a Cardinal was not the Sugar Bowl, or any of the touchdowns, it was being able to walk out and give my family a hug on Senior Day.  I did a complete 360 on the field just soaking it all in. All I could think about was that I had made it.  I thought back to all the people that said I wasn't good enough in high school, that I should go to a D-III school because that was the only place I would ever play.  It was also a special day for my family.  They had been supporting me my whole life and they had never been down on that field.  Finally, they got to see what I see, and it was a moment I will never forget.

The only downfall to that moment is that it also ties into one of my worst moments -- when I got knocked out of the game with a concussion on the first series.  I had dreamt about that game my whole career and to not be a part of it because I was injured was tough to deal with.

On personal goals/favorite play as a Cardinal:

My main goal when I walked-on was that I didn't want to be on the sidelines, or be the guy that was just happy to have a jersey and helmet.  I wanted to make some sort of impact.

My main goal was to start my senior year, which I accomplished.  My freshman year I thought I would be redshirting and that I would get to be a typical college student.  I would practice during the week and then be off for the weekends, tailgate, enjoy the game in the stands, etc.  However, after camp I rarely was on the scout team and got to practice with the offense. Eventually I got to travel with the team as sort of the emergency wide receiver, just in case somebody might get hurt or something.  I never expected to play and spent most of my time just being the biggest cheerleader on the sidelines.

Then the day we played Southern Miss at home, Coach Lou came up to me and told me to be ready to play tonight.  I was excited but really couldn't believe it.  I texted my mom and told her I might play tonight, but still the reality never set in.  The game went on and went to the third quarter and then Scott Long scored on a 92 yard TD pass.  I was celebrating on the sideline and all of a sudden I was grabbed by two coaches and told to get in the game because we were going for two, All I could think was holy crap, what am I doing?  Then when I got in the huddle, everyone else had that look of what are you doing here?  I couldn't help it but I was smiling the entire time.

Adam calls the play and I was the flood route, my job was to kind of get the attention of somebody (linebacker, db, etc.) and kind of be a decoy route.  Everybody rolled right, I went left, Froman got pushed back left, and he looked at me and started to throw and in my mind I couldn't believe that he is going to throw me the ball.  I caught it and celebrated like we had just won the national championship.  I was going nuts.  We ended up winning the game which was one of the few bright spots that year.

On his worst moment:

The dropped touchdown pass against Kentucky.

The thing that really sucks about this play, is that as a little kid I dreamed about playing for Louisville and I had dreamed of this specific play: catching a TD, against UK, at their place. Will Stein got hurt and it was Teddy's first extended opportunity to play and it would have been his first TD pass as a Cardinal.

I take off, and it was such a beautiful pass that you kind of take it for granted because it was a pass I had caught a million times.  It went right through my hands and I couldn't believe it.  When I went to the sidelines, I was literally fighting back tears, trying so hard not to cry.  I thought I had let my team down at the moment, but the disappointing thing is that I let my past self-down; I ended up killing my own dream.

It happens every weekend, guys dropping passes, touchdowns, but ever since it happened to me I watch games and pray that it doesn't happen.  To be honest, it kind of haunted me and I never really had shaken that play.  Everyone wanted to talk about that one play, no matter who I talked to.  I still would think about that play in practice and during games; and now that I help coach at Manual, I tell the kids to not let the last bad play affect the next great play.

Best Road Game Memory:

When we helped Coach Strong crowd surf after beating West Virginia. It was nothing but pure joy in the locker room after getting such a big win on the road.

On the Sugar Bowl:

This game means a lot to me because of when I was knocked out of the UCONN game.

After getting knocked out against UCONN, I got hit and tried to move my arm and everything was weak. I looked up at Coach Strong and said, "did I catch it?" And he said, "fuck no, you didn't catch it ... Bad Rad, you all right?"

I tried to play it cool ("I am fine, I can walk," etc.). It took me a while to remember what happened and they were asking me questions and I couldn't really answer, but I kept saying "I am fine." They took away my helmet and said "listen Scott, you suffered a concussion and we can't let you back in."  I started crying and couldn't believe that I wouldn't be playing.

During halftime I went to the locker room to be around the guys.  Hakeem Smith gets in the middle to get all the guys pumped up and says "we got to be fighting for our seniors and we got to win it for guys like Scott, he busts his ass every day and can't play in this game, so let's do it for him." Even though we didn't win, it felt good to have a guy like Hakeem say something like that and to feel I had earned the respect of my teammates.

I didn't get to play against Rutgers because of the concussion and it was tough to sit on sidelines with everything on the line. I really wanted my last game be in a BCS bowl.  The whole week in New Orleans was amazing.  All we kept hearing was that Florida is supposed to win, we have no shot, etc.  The coaching staff did a great job preparing us for the game, and as players we kept telling each other that numbers don't matter in one game.  Let's prepare and just go out there and have fun.  The young talent really bought into the senior class and wanted to send out everyone on a win.  It was a very close-knit team, we had our fights like any close team has, but at the end of the day we loved each other. I remember walking in the dome for the first time, and how big it was and how excited I was to be playing.  Being there with the fans was amazing, they were incredible.  It was a sea of red everywhere, whether it was for practice, on the town.

The thing I enjoyed the most about the game was how each side cheered each other on.  When the offense had the ball, the defense was right there cheering them on, and vice versa when the defense was on the field.  Even though I didn't have a reception, I like to technically think that I did because I recovered the last onside kick.  When we took the knee I was so excited to be able to celebrate the victory.  I laid on the field at the 50 yard line and just looked up for about 3 minutes.  For a kid that grew up in Louisville, played in Catholic school leagues, at Trinity, to walk-on, to be on the field after winning the Sugar Bowl was such an amazing feeling.

On his favorite teammate

There are so many I want to mention but it meant a lot to play with Will Stein and Alex Kupper from Trinity.  Getting a chance to play with them was awesome.  Will is such a competitor and probably the most fiery person I know.  My first touchdown came from Will and afterwards Will, Kupper, and I did an interview about how the ball only touched Trinity hands. Kupper snapped it, Will threw it, I caught it, and it was the first TD of the 2011 season. I still like to say that I was college football's leading scorer in 2011 for about 15 minutes. I also enjoyed all of the receivers from Trent Guy, Scott Long, to Josh Bellamy and Eli Rogers just to name a few.

On the Coaches

Bobby Petrino's son, Bobby Jr, was my age, so I had known him a little growing up.  I would have loved to play in his offense, it would be a blast.

I really enjoyed playing for Coach Kragthorpe. He is an amazing guy, did a lot for me, and he gave me an opportunity.  I was a walk-on, but he didn't treat guys like walk-ons, he treated everyone with respect.  He was about the players and cared deeply for them, and I felt he didn't get it back from some of the players, which is a shame.  I still think about Coach Kragthorpe and hope he and his family are doing well.

Coach Strong was all about character, developing us for life, so energetic.  You had to be on your toes with him.  He was a blast to play for.  He understood when to mess around and when to be completely serious.  I always felt he and Coach Watson had my back, Eli probably should have been playing ahead of me because he really was the better player, but they gave me an opportunity to earn it and compete for it.  They helped me realize that if you put in the work and do whatever it takes then you will get a shot to prove what you can do.  A lot of other coaches might not have done that and started the guy they recruited, etc.  Eli thanked me for kind of showing him that talent is not the only thing that gets you on the field.  I feel that Eli is going to be an NFL player, and I am really pulling for him.

On Getting a Scholarship

I had been in talks with the coaching staff about being put on scholarship, but I had let my grades slip a little and Coach Strong wouldn't let me hear the end of it.  He even told me get the grades up or I would be off the team.  He said "you went to a great high school, you go to a great college, your parents aren't paying for you to go to school and get terrible grades."

I had to get my grades up, and prove to him that I was worthy of a scholarship.  After two years or so we had a mat drill in the morning and after finishing up, Coach Snow took me into a room and said "I just want to congratulate you and say you are now on scholarship." My parents were thrilled and I was so excited to say "thank you mom and dad for everything you have done, but now I can take care of my own school."   Another reason my mom was so thrilled is because she was just so happy that I got to now eat with the team.  Getting to eat with the team as a scholarship player was great because it gave me an opportunity to get know much more of my teammates on a more personal level.  Those memories are very special.   

Post Louisville Message to the Fans

Scott graduated with a sports administration degree  and with a minor in communications.  He currently works for 1926 Marketing where he is an executive sales rep.  1926 Marketing does digital marketing for doctors, lawyers, restaurants, etc; anyone that needs more help with social media marketing to help build their brand.  They also assist with creating and developing websites, graphic design work, and other ways to integrate social media into the websites.  Scott recently got engaged to his high school sweetheart, Lisa Mitchell, who went to Assumption High School and is currently a teacher at St. Agnes.

Scott's message to the fans: 

"I would like to say thank you for everyone that supported not just me but the entire team, through all the wins and losses.  That's what drives us as players to go and play for the diehard fans that are there for us every day.  I am biased but I think we have the best fans in the nation.

I would also like to thank the Scott Radcliff fans, not to say there were a ton of them, but I loved to meet people that said they enjoyed watching me play and it was great to know they were out there, so my sincerest thanks to them.  I would like to let Cardinal nation know that I am around, been a fan since I was a kid and will be a fan the rest of my life.  If you see me around don't hesitate to come talk to me as I love talking Cardinal football with the fans.  I would like to thank my parents, my mom (Darla), my dad (Doug), my brother (Philip) and my sister (Sydney), and my family for always being there for me, being the backbone of my motivation whenever things were tough. You guys helped drive me to make you proud.  I would also like to thank my fiancée's family, the Mitchell's, for always supporting me through high school, UofL, coming to the games, and encouraging me whenever I needed it. I also would like to thank all of my friends who have been there since childhood, for keeping me humble, and for sharing in the experiences with me."

Even though I am a Honorary St. X alum, and president of the Honorary St. X Alumni Board, it was a blast to visit with Scott Radcliff and listen to him talk about his time as a Cardinal.  My sincerest thanks to Scott.  You made us all proud during your playing days and thanks for all that you did for the program.