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Bye Week Mailbag

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The bye week brought out the best questions.

Louisville v Boston College Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images

As always, send tweets to @keith_wynne or shoot me an email at keithwynne2@gmail.com.

Probably not. The Boston College game was a big one to me. I have been thinking that UofL would somehow flip things around like they did last season and somehow pull off two or three wins in the second half of that season but that all had to start with them beating BC. They would then parlay that into wins over Wake Forest and Syracuse and we would all be looking at another year of Bobby Petrino as the head coach.

With the loss last week and the way they lost the game, I don’t see this team getting another win this year. A competitive loss would have made me feel pretty good about them pulling off a win against Wake and maybe a win against Cuse, but they still don’t do a single thing well. Upsets are typically pulled off because a team finds a way to do what they do very well against a superior team. There is no way for UofL to do that because they’re bad at all of it.

I’m also not sure that folks should expect great things next year no matter who the coach is. This team has issues at key spots that don’t get better without new players.

Via Email from Stephen: Will (and should) Louisville use the bye week as an opportunity to work with Jordan Travis and give him the start against Wake Forest?

I still think that Jawon Pass will be the starter until this team hits seven losses. At that point, Petrino might look to play younger guys to get a look at next year and I could see Malik Cunningham getting the nod. I also think that Petrino will look to redshirt Jordan Travis, so we will only see him in one more game this season. The only reason I think he will redshirt him is because he hasn’t played well when he has gotten in the game so far this year. If he was showing more from a passing standpoint, I think he would be the starer going forward.

One of the dumbest story lines this year has been the lack of consistency at quarterback. Petrino has called out the lack of consistency with the play of his quarterbacks while just ignoring his own role in said play. I don’t know how things might have played out if he had stuck with Jawon Pass through the entire season but I know it wouldn’t have been worse than it has been so far. It’s laughable that he would complain about anything that is going on with this offense when he’s so heavily involved with it.

One thing to keep in mind with Travis is that Petrino has already blown two redshirts this year with Trenell Troutman and Telly Plummer playing exclusively on special teams so far. Those two are now unable to redshirt and I can’t think of a single reason for playing them when you have other players at their position that could play. There’s a chance that Petrino is just going to play who he wants, no matter what their eligibility situation is.

It’s actually kinda cool to have someone ask about what I’m doing this week. The week off has always been great because I realize every single year that I need a break. I love writing and I love about 98% that comes with it but that all makes it hard for me to realize that I’m putting a lot of time into this. I also tend to take advantage of my wife being so supportive and the week off gives me a chance to do some family stuff.

So, to start the week I went bowling with my daughter because she’s seven and she comes up with random things that she wants to do all the time. I got to go to dinner with my wife and son on Tuesday which was cool because she got a new job and we got to celebrate a bit. But she came down with some kind of virus and I got to spend the next day at home with the baby and now I’m writing this.

By the way, I didn’t get to do film reviews this week because the full game wasn’t posted until Wednesday afternoon. If I get a wild hair, I might do them some time this weekend because there are a lot of plays I want to break down.

I know that some of you guys follow me on Twitter but I doubt most of you did when Petrino was first hired. John’s question is pretty much what my feed looked like for the first year after he was hired. I didn’t feel that Petrino would be able to hire a great staff and that would lead to struggles in recruiting. I think that Petrino’s recruiting abilities were way overblown by some when it came to what he did his first time around in Louisville. I also think that a lot of people just gave him full credit for developing talent as if his staff didn’t matter.

If there’s an area that I feel that the fan base has grown it’s with the understanding of how important a staff is for a coach. Whether that be in developing players or with recruiting. Cort Dennison is being recognized more now for how important he was to recruiting than he was when he was here. People are also starting to realize that the revolving door of assistants on the defensive side of the ball has stifled any chance of developing guys.

Recruiting rankings matter and stars matter but the lack of balance and the lack of focus on specific positions have killed this roster. Louisville has done such a poor job recruiting on the offensive line that they only have 10 players that signed with a team out of high school or junior college. That includes Linwood Foy who was a zero star recruit and Wyatt Smock who isn’t eligible this year after transferring home from Vanderbilt this summer. UofL is also starting two JUCO guys on the defensive line because they only signed one player for the entire position group in 2017. Neither of those things should be the case in year five, but here we are.

As each game passes by I feel more and more confident that Louisville will move on from Bobby Petrino after the season ends. There are no signs that this team will be better next year with the same guy leading the program. Every single thing I’m hearing points to a guy that has completely lost his team and his coaches and it honestly seems like a Varsity Blues situation where the head coach has this giant ego and everyone has grown tired of it.

I don’t think you can recover from that without some sort of recruiting or transfer situation that will provide a spark for next season. If they can somehow get Kelly Bryant to come to Louisville, that would probably buy him another year. I think that he’s the type of guy that would give this offense a chance to improve dramatically. No one knows if he would be able to get this team back to where it was but he’s a better player at the key position you need to improve. Sometimes, that’s all it takes for a coach to get the benefit of the doubt.

From a standpoint of when they make the move, I think you need to do it on November 25th and give yourself a full month to get a coach in the door to improve a class. If Jeff Brohm is your guy, you have something going in your favor in the fact that back channels are easy to use because of his ties to the program. That could make it possible to get him in the door by the middle of that week. If that’s the case, you have a really good chance of getting some of the local guys that are looking at Purdue to stay home. That would be a huge start for him from a recruiting standpoint.

But, from a big picture standpoint, UofL is bringing in a small class and missing out on some guys isn’t as big of a deal if you can make sure that you don’t also lose a bunch of guys to transfer. The current class isn’t very strong, so the hope would be that a new guy could come in and maybe salvage what they can with new guys or the few guys that show potential in the current class.

Since this is my mailbag I’m just going to go with who I personally want as the next head coach:

RYAN DAY, OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR AT OHIO STATE

I always get stuck on certain players and coaches and Day is that guy right now. He’s young, he has a ton of experience at different levels and with different coaches, and his offense is flexible. Day is leading an offense right now that is on pace to break every Ohio State passing record. In 2013, Andre Williams ran for 2,177 yards in Day’s offense. The next year he got 31 rushing touchdowns out of grad transfer quarterback Tyler Murphy and Jon Hilliman. Day is also a guy that came up under Chip Kelly. He has a strong background and one would hope that his stops around the country and in the NFL would lead to him building a good staff.

LUKE FICKELL, HEAD COACH AT CINCINNATI

Fickell has ties to Ohio State but that’s just a coincidence. Fickell is unproven and he doesn’t have experience outside of the state of Ohio but he is probably the best option available if UofL goes after a defensive-minded coach. He had a long run as the defensive coordinator at OSU before taking over at Cincinnati. He went 4-8 in his first year but has the Bearcats undefeated in year two. This hire would be a bit of a reach, but I’d compare his track record to Charlie Strong but with a head coaching stop before he came here. I really like Fickell’s staff at Cincy and I think he could get talent here from Ohio, Kentucky, and Missouri.

MIKE NORVELL, HEAD COACH AT MEMPHIS

If you’re looking for offense, it’s hard to pass on Norvell. He’s 37 years old and his offenses have been unreal at Memphis over the last three years. He’s had two great passing teams and this year he has the nation’s leading rusher who is averaging over 10 yards per carry. No that’s not a typo. The previous two seasons he had Anthony Miller among the nation’s leaders in catches, yards, and touchdowns. That flexibility is something that I like to see. It shows that the offense isn’t one dimensional. Norvell was also an ace recruiter during his time at Arizona State. He was the secondary recruiter for N’Keal Harry who could be the top receiver taken in the next draft.

That’s my short list as of right now. I really like Ryan Day but I’m not sure he chooses Louisville when the pool isn’t extremely deep when it comes to coaches. I also don’t think a lot of jobs will be open. He might chose to wait one year to see if a SEC job opens. He also might be in line to take over at OSU if Urban Meyer moves on.