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Week Eleven Mailbag Part 2

NCAA Football: Louisville at Clemson Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

I’ll come right out and own the fact that some of these questions end up being repeated each week but my thinking of answering some of the similar questions is simple. My opinion on things changes as the season goes on. I also like to look at different angles of the question. I figured that I should point that out for some of you who (hopefully) read the mailbag each week. As usual, send tweets to @keith_wynne or shoot me an email at Use the email if you have a protected Twitter account.

I think that the only way Louisville could get fans into the seats for the rest of the season is if they take Mike’s advice and let David Padgett coach the team. The Clemson game was the end, in my opinion. Fans support has been and will always be a struggle at Louisville. It’s a struggle at most schools around the country no matter how good the team is and UofL is no different. The issue this year is that this team hasn’t even been competitive in six of their games this season. I truly believe that the stands would be more than half full if they were losing these games by a touchdown or so.

Louisville has fielded a team this year that doesn’t do anything well. What do they do that would make someone want to go sit in the cold to watch? The offense is dreadful and the defense doesn’t stop people. None of that changes if Bobby Petrino is sitting on his couch instead of standing on the sideline.

Malik Cunningham is probably the only thing that this team has going for it from an excitement standpoint. He has the skill set to make a big play here and there and he has the inexperience to do it in an exciting (and sometimes stupid) way. Fans like to see that stuff but Bobby Petrino is the only person that can call the offense that you would run with Malik. So, if Mike Summers were to takeover the play calling duties he would likely call a very vanilla version of what we see each week. The defense would be the same and I don’t think that anyone would change their view of the program and decide to show up.

The caveat to this is that some fans might just show up to give a good example that they support the program and the players and they didn’t support Bobby.

My list hasn’t changed much since I threw out the guys that I’d like to see a few weeks ago. However, I do think that I’d probably add Matt Campbell to the list. He has a few huge wins at Iowa State and he’s been able to get the most out of his less talented teams. I also overlooked Neal Brown at Troy. Brown’s offenses have been very good since he’s been down there but I’ve also been impressed with his defenses.

I also think that Kyle Whittingham is a sleeper possibility out of Utah. It’s been reported that their AD isn’t happy with the program stalling out and they might be looking to make a change. That could lead to Whittingham looking for a new job, himself. Vince Tyra will more than likely look for a guy with head coaching experience, so that shrinks the pool a good amount.

I’ll own the fact that this season has been tough to write about and I’ve kinda dropped the ball with some of the analysis I like to do. Jake Smith made a lot of good points when he talked to Tim Sullivan yesterday. Folks should really take a look at what he had to say.

The talent on the defensive line isn’t “bad”. It’s not really that “good” either as a whole. Guys like Djemi Dumervil-Jean shouldn’t be playing this year. He should have been able to come in and redshirt so he could work on his body and conditioning. They should probably have a set group of four guys that are “the” guys with another four that rotate in. The season is nearly over and they’re not even close to that.

One of Smith’s main points was that the gap discipline of the line has been terrible. What he means by this is that instead of guys staying in their designated area, they’ve been freelancing and trying to make plays on their own. That leads to guys being out of position and holes being wide open for running backs to run through. His second point about linemen not using their hands might actually make it worse than guys freelancing. They might just be getting pushed out of their gap because they don’t know proper techniques to get off of blocks.

Before the season I talked a bit about how Alabama linemen did such a good job digging in and standing their ground against double teams. I had hoped that UofL guys could do the same thing when they faced doubles this year. They’ve done the opposite. At times you can find linemen being pushed back into the secondary because they end up on “roller skates”. Instead of planting a leg and bowing their back to gain leverage, they just roll down the field like their own roller skates.

At no point in this season have I seen anything that would resemble technique or advanced skills by the line. But, I think that they could be a good group with proper coaching.

The best way to answer this is to say that Jeff Brohm is the best chance Louisville has to land a coach that will stick around for an extended period of time. However, the truth of the matter is that there aren’t that many situations where you see coaches stick around at a place for more than a handful of years. There are examples of it happening at non “blue blood” schools, but many of those are unique situations. I think UofL has that same potential with Brohm but I think what matters more is that Brohm would leave the program in better shape than he found it if he were to leave.

“Destination job” is a term you hear a lot and it’s a very dumb term that people should stop using. There are like eight jobs in the country that a coach could land that they wouldn’t leave under any circumstances. Just looking at the ACC, there arguably just one of those jobs with Jimbo Fisher bailing on FSU last year. Coaches leave and it’s always a possibility. The concern should really be about the shape of the program they’re leaving.

Louisville has lived through coaches leaving before and the program has been left in good shape each time. I think that they could do the same again. The key is having an athletic director than can make that next good hire. I think that Louisville is at a level where that shouldn’t be a big issue. They can go after other power five coaches and coordinators as opposed to having to look at G5 coaches. That should lead to a better chance of landing a proven coach.