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Countdown Q&A - Week 8, Bye Week

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Louisville v North Carolina State Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Welcome back folks to Week 8 of the Countdown Q&A where we ask a representative of the upcoming opponent a series of questions about the game and about their life in general and then judge them accordingly based upon those responses. Some of you may be saying…”CardinalStrong, you have obviously lost you marbles because there is no game this week”. I would respond…you are correct…and stop saying “you’ve lost your marbles”. Nobody says that anymore. Instead, what I have lined up for you is a very SPECIAL treat.

My quarter season recaps have expressed some frustration with both the offensive and defensive sides of the football, but for all you super knowledgeable experts out there you know there are in fact three, yes three, phases to the game. If you look at various efficiency statistics (I prefer Bill Connelly’s work) universally the Cards third phase is its most efficient and most productive unit in 2018. That’s right folks, “The Regualtors’ ain’t no joke and Special Teams is comin’ in hot. So in a week where we could use a little pep in our step and some hitch in our gitty up I went out and got the badest special teams mofo this side of the Ohio to talk about all things 2018 Louisville Cardinals football. Ladies and gentleman…. Arthur “Art-o-matic” Carmody.

CS: Art, thank you for joining the Q&A party. You have been a long time Card Chronicle fan/reader/Rutherford troll but as always we have some new faces around here who may have missed your previous posts on the glorious website we call home. Before we jump too far into the weeds what have you been up to since you’re career at Louisville came to an end? Got a SoundCloud page you want to promote or anything?

Thanks for having me although this is where I am contractually obligated to mention that I have to appear on any Card Chronicle related content whenever asked per lifetime contract I signed with Mike back in the day. All joking aside Mike is one of the best guys I know and has been a great friend over the years, so much so that one of my younger brothers actually considers him part of our family (this is not a joke). The only thing I like to troll him about is our mutual love of baseball and my love of the San Francisco Giants (we had the Double-A team here in Shreveport growing up so that is how I became a fan) and that time when Mat Latos thought it would be a good idea to pipe a 2-2 fastball to Buster Posey in the 2012 NLDS with the bases loaded. Hey Mike, remember that?

After leaving Louisville I tried to do the NFL thing but unfortunately that didn’t work out, which when you watch the Justin Tuckers and Greg Zuerleins of the world you realize how tough it is to make it in that league. I have a tremendous amount of respect for anybody that plays a down in the NFL as it truly is the best of the best. I played three seasons of Arena Football while starting a career in banking which is what I currently do. I am a Vice President for Commercial Banking at Business First Bank in Shreveport, LA where I also serve on the Executive Committee for The Independence Bowl Foundation. The foundation puts on The Independence Bowl and we are in our 43rd year and we host the game between the ACC and SEC. I am slated to be the chairman of the game in 2019.

CS: For those out of the loop you still hold a handful of records here at UofL for kicking the old football around, a few of which one Mr. Blanton Creque is threatening to steal from you this year and/or next. (Season FG%, Career FG%, Consecutive FGs…) How does that make you feel all up on your insides? Before you give the canned ‘I love Blanton, he is such a nice guy, and I would love to see him break my records’ response let me inform you that this hypothetical includes a polygraph machine, a very bright light (75watt, bro), and 11 copies of ‘From Justin To Kelly’ on VHS.

I will go ahead and mention here that not only was I setting almost every single UofL kicking record, I was setting NCAA records left and right (no big deal…..that have all been broken). The reality of the situation is that when I stepped on campus in the fall of 2003 I would have been thrilled to kick just one extra point in a game and about halfway through the season I had serious doubts that it would ever happen. I don’t think I have ever told this story before but there were 4 walk-on kickers on our team in 2003 so reps were very, very limited and we knew that the coaching staff was actively recruiting high school and JUCO kickers to come in and immediately replace us if we showed we couldn’t do the job. One night our special teams coach, Tony Levine (the only reason I even had a slim chance to walk on at Louisville), called me on my cell phone and said “Just a heads up, Coach Petrino is going to have you kick with the 2’s at the end of practice tomorrow in front of the whole team and this is a huge opportunity” which in short meant this is your one audition to show you can be the kicker of the future and if you mess up you may not get another chance. Long story short I went 8-8 and put myself in the driver’s seat to be #1 on the depth chart going into the 2004 season. I was put on scholarship* the following summer and the rest is history. If you would have told me the night before that practice the next day that I would break school records, be named an All-American, win the Lou Groza Award, win an Orange Bowl, and then break the NCAA scoring record for a kicker/kick a game field winning field goal in my final game at Cardinal Stadium I would have laughed you out of a room. Which what I am trying to say is I was extremely blessed and thankful for the opportunity that I had to be a part of the Louisville football program during that time and sharing those experiences with teammates, coaches, and fans are more important than a record book, which any player will tell you the same thing.

Now on to Blanton, absolutely I love Blanton, he is such a nice guy, and I would love to see him break my records! I see a lot of myself in Blanton being that we are both former walk-on’s, left-footed, and technically sound. And as a fan of Louisville football I want to see my records fall because that means that we are scoring a lot of points and winning a lot of football games. Records are made to be broken. Those two things go hand and hand and I was fortunate to set those records because I played on good football teams with great coaches and great players.

NCAA Football: Citrus Bowl-Louisiana State vs Louisville Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Blanton has done a tremendous job in his 2 ½ years and he makes something that is really hard look really easy, which is a testament to how hard he and the rest of the special teams work. I watch a lot of college football on Saturdays and please do not take Mason, Blanton, and Mitch for granted. They have been fantastic. I would be honored to share space in the record book with Blanton, just as it has been a honor to share space with all of the great kickers we have had at UofL from David Akers, Nate Smith, John Wallace, Ron Bell, etc. Also, I was dead wrong on Justin Guarini, I thought he was going to have a tremendous music career over Kelly Clarkson.

*The story of how I got a scholarship (it wasn’t like any of those scholarship reveal videos you see on Twitter) is a great one if anyone cares to hear it. It involves David Akers, Jeff Brohm, possibly Villanova, etc. and I will forever be grateful for how David helped me. He is a classy guy. So if anyone wants to hear it please bombard Mike with e-mails, phone calls, etc.

[Editors note: I will absolutely follow up on this]

CS: Now, to get a bit more specific in my questioning…what the hell is going on with UofL football this year, Art?

I haven’t been to any games in person yet so I am just going off what I see on TV and to me it looks to be a young team that is figuring out how to win football games. The good news is that they have a great opportunity to do so next week against Wake Forest. The bad news is that the schedule does not get any easier after that and can be tough on such a young team. College Football is basically all about matchups and so far this season the Cardinals defense has run into some bad matchups (Alabama game doesn’t count) against Georgia Tech and Boston College, and then a Virginia team that may actually be pretty decent. The Florida State game is one we all would love to have back but that game is part of the beauty of college football where anything can happen and unfortunately it went the other way for the Cards.

I won’t pretend to know anything about the defensive side of the ball, but the inability to stop the run basically seems to start a lot of the problems the Cards face in games as teams can build a lead and then limit the amount of the possessions the offense can have. Then it makes it tough on such a young group of players as they now have to go score on almost every possession to stay in the game. From an optimistic standpoint I like to believe that the experience all of these young guys are getting on the offensive side of the ball is going to pay huge dividends in the next few seasons which brings me to my next point below.

Watching this team I am reminded a lot of our 2007 team that had such high expectations during the spring/summer but quickly realized early in the season that we may not be very good after getting into a shootout with Middle Tennessee State in Week 2. Defensively we had a lot of trouble and would basically spot every team we played 28-35 points, but we had a very experienced offense led by Seniors and Juniors that had won a lot of games and and a lot of guys that had experience as freshman in 2006 that could get us back into games where we had a fighting chance. Once everyone left off those teams you saw just how bad Louisville football was in 2008 and 2009. This year’s team has a lot of freshman and sophomores on the offensive side of the ball so with continued learning experience the opposite could happen and the future could be very bright.

CS: I would never ask a player to call out his former coach, not my style, just not the type of man I am, but can you give other fans who may be frustrated with Mr. Robert Patrick Petrino a brief story that may make him slightly more endearing to the fanbase? Or just a hilarious story of him losing his mind. Either will suffice.

Coach Petrino is a great football coach and I have no doubt that he is going to get things turned around. One thing that I can’t stress enough to the fans are that no matter how frustrated fans get after a loss, the coaches and players are feeling it 100 times worse. Also, one thing I remember most about my time playing for Coach is that he never puts guys in a position to do things that they cannot do, or in a position to fail. I think that is really important and an overlooked part of his coaching ability. One of my favorite Coach Petrino stories involve him pushing me to be a better player because he always knew how to push my buttons to get me to perform at my best. The first was my sophomore year at Cincinnati when I missed an extra point in the first quarter. The game goes on and we are winning by 25 points or something and we are in the 4th quarter when our special teams coach comes to get me and says “Coach Petrino needs to see you.”

Miami Hurricanes v Louisville Cardinals Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

I knew where this was headed and as I went up to him he says in a very direct tone “What the hell happened on that PAT?” to which I respond as simply as I could and said “I just missed it coach, all my fault.” Granted at this point I had never missed a PAT and the year before had set a NCAA record for most extra points in a season without a miss, when he then very sternly says “WELL YOU BETTER START MAKING THEM!” One of our backup quarterbacks, Bill Ashburn, was holding for me that game because Harry Douglas had gotten injured and he was listening in on the conversation. I said “yes sir” to coach and went about my way. We then proceeded to score another touchdown and as I am getting ready to kick the PAT, Bill looks up at me and says “You better start making them” and then turns to call for the snap.

CS: A couple quick ones if you don’t mind, Art. You’re first field goal attempt back in 2004 was blocked…by Kentucky. Thankfully, you powered through and didn’t let that derail your career. Between me and you…nobody else is listening…who blew their assignment? Man on the edge, big paw up the middle, laces out situation…what do we got here?

Unfortunately a blocked kick goes against you on the stat sheet, but if I can blame anyone on this I am going to blame our long snapper Matt Webb although it is not his fault, it was just a hell of a play by Lonnell Dewalt, who was a 6-6 former basketball player who ended up blocking 7 kicks that year, which has to be some sort of record. After that field goal we made an adjustment where our long snapper would immediately try to hit him after the snap and if you go back and watch the last extra point of that game you can see a little extra curricular stuff going on after the play between the two after Matt Webb had hit him a few times.

CS: Where is the Lou Groza Award right now? And if you say “in a box somewhere” you automatically forfeit it to me so that I can display it in my home.

Sitting on a bookshelf in my house next to a blank spot I have reserved for whenever I am inducted into the Card Chronicle Hall of Fame. For years it was at my parent’s house but then they had some of the rooms re-modeled and told me I had to come and get it. It’s actually a very heavy trophy, around 30 pounds or so and is not the easiest thing to move around.

CS: Bonus question, was the 2006 Lou Groza the worst collection of hair in one physical location?

Absolutely, 100%. Garrett Hartley’s hair was all over the place and he looked like an 80’s rock star and partied like one, and John Vaughan’s had the standard Auburn frat boy hair cut that is a requirement for admission on the plains. Both of those guys were great and had fantastic seasons and were equally deserving of the award. I had the worst haircut of all and our assistant strength coach at the time, Tim Socha, who is currently the head strength coach at Washington, used to ask me at least once week how many free bowls I had at home from all of my haircuts. Funny story was when I got back home the next day from the awards show, my roommates Brian Brohm and Justin Deeley immediately said they were really proud of me and that I needed to do something about my hair and how terrible it looked on TV. That next week I went to a new hairdresser and now I have some sweet flow.

CS: This last one is for the longtime readers here at CC and specifically tossed out there so Mike can tell you just how wrong you are….favorite ‘Saved By The Bell’ episode of all-time? [If it’s anything from the summer at the beach or ‘Good Morning Miss Bliss’ you’re banned]

Hell no, the ‘Summer At The Beach’ and ‘Good Morning Miss Bliss’ episodes were the WORST!

Saved By The Bell has stood the test of time and there are too many episodes to pick just one, but for the sake of our subject matter, I am going to go with Student Teacher Week in Season 4 where Zack becomes Principal (because of course, who else is going to play that role) and Kelly Kaposwki is the teacher but we have a huge crisis when she won’t allow the football players to play against Valley because they are spending too much time learning the plays (which is a red flag to me and probably a negative reflection on the leadership abilities of one A.C. Slater, it’s high school football, shouldn’t they already know the plays?). This was primarily all Ox’s fault, but I loved Ox on the show. He was a very underrated character and hit pretty much every stereotype as an offensive lineman. Obviously they won the game and that vaults Slater into getting recruited by Stansbury (The Harvard of the West) and being offered a car to commit which really pisses off Jesse. Also, maybe the FBI should go investigate the real recruiting issues involving the shoe companies, car dealerships, and Stansbury!

***

Huge ‘Thank You’ to Mr. Carmody for his time. If you’re ever in the Shreveport area stop in....open a saving account, a CD, or something. Help a brother out. Or you can just give him a follow on twitter here. This was obviously one of the most fun Q&A sessions I’ve had this year and I’m glad I get to share it with you all. When things aren’t going as planned on the field just remember we have some excellent resources here at CC to tap into to help raise our spirits. Be sure to come back next week for our more typical Q&A with a rep from Stansbury...Wake Forest. Tim Duncan’s fancy feet will be brought up. Bank on it.