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Week Four Mailbag

The mailbag has a heavy lean towards fans being tired of how things are going under Bobby Petrino.

NCAA Football: Louisville at Alabama Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

As always, shoot me a tweet at @keith_wynne or email me at keithwynne2@gmail.com.

I haven’t chimed in much on the quarterback situation and even though it’s settled now, I’ll give my two cents. There are multiple levels to this whole thing and the discussion needs to start with the fact that Jawon Pass has been in the program for over two years and he can’t run the offense? That’s Petrino’s claim as to why he took him out of the game last week. If that is the case, it doesn’t say a lot about Jawon Pass, Bobby Petrino, or both of them.

The next issue I have is what Petrino and his staff saw over those two years and through this summer and fall that led him to sing his praises and name him the starter. I have to wonder about their evaluation skills if Pass has been the guy for almost all of 2018 but can’t last more than two games as the starter. It doesn’t make any sense. This isn’t a situation that he’s evaluating guys that he inherited. He recruited every quarterback on the roster.

I don’t think that the change to Malik Cunningham is wrong. I didn’t come into this year thinking that Pass was going to be a great quarterback. The offense that they run with Malik has worked better and that’s mostly due to the fact that he can run the ball and teams have to respect that he has to run it. But, this all comes back to the fact that Bobby Petrino didn’t evaluate his team properly. Nothing has worked on offense so far. It’s just glaring at quarterback because that’s always the focal point.

Bobby Petrino told anyone that would listen that his offense could be better without Lamar Jackson. He said that after naming Jawon Pass as his starter. He’s already given up on Pass and that says more about Petrino than it does about Pass in my opinion.

Via email from Greg: Keith, Do you believe that Lamar paid $100,000 for his “Lamar Leap” chain, or is it more likely that it was a marketing deal that he was paid in-kind?

I can honestly say that I completely ignored this story because I just don’t really have much of an interest in what people spend on themselves. But, I do tend to like when I see nice stories of guys buying their mom a house or a car or things like that. I’m a sucker for that stuff because if i had the opportunity I would have brought my mom a house in a heartbeat.

To answer the question, I don’t think this was part of a marketing deal. If folks remember, Teddy Bridgewater “bought” his mom a car when he was drafted and there ended up being an advertising campaign that surrounded it. Simply put, if someone paid for that chain, there would be a lot more talk around it because Lamar would be doing a ton of interviews and promotional stuff for whoever paid for it.

I don’t think that Bobby has completely lost this team but that is solely because they pulled off the last two wins. I don’t think that will be the case if they lose this weekend, though. Louisville is a young team and that youth brings on two things. Guys aren’t going to be looking ahead to their future from a NFL standpoint but you also have impressionable guys. Group think is a bigger factor when you have a lot of young guys and it only takes a couple of negative attitudes to start a trend. I don’t think that that negativity has shown to the point that I think that he’s lost them. I do think that there is some really bad body language at times, though.

I’ve met a handful of college head coaches over the years. Some are extremely personable and some are as dull as you could imagine. I tend to believe that the personable guys can win over a team when things aren’t going well. I just don’t see these guys buying into things if they can’t win these next few games. I’m not even sure Bobby would know how to win them back.

The short answer is no. The more complicated answer is that Louisville needs to create easy passes for Cunningham. Louisville has to put him in short yardage third downs. Literally, like Mike Sanford did with his redshirt freshman quarterback last week. They have to establish their running game to be able to do that. They also need to keep the pass plays to short throws outside the hashes. Don’t allow teams to confuse him with zone coverages over the middle of the field. If they can do that, I think he can do pretty well against ACC defenses.

The question, as always, is whether or not Bobby Petrino will put his quarterback in a position to succeed. If he decides to throw the ball 30 times a game and doesn’t simplify things, Malik won’t likely be able to handle it.

Here are two throws that make me worry that Malik’s youth and inexperience will be an issue this year:

Ont his play you can see the safety at the beginning of the play on the left side of the screen. He sits on the hash right at the first down marker. Malik stares down his first read and just lets it rip. If Devon Key makes this interception, he’s set up for a return where he at least puts WKU in position to be a first down or two away from a field goal.

This was the play where Key nearly picked off a pass in the end zone. Malik sees Jaylen Smith’s hands go up and he makes another throw into coverage. This throw nearly took points off the board going into halftime. You could argue that there is no greater sin for a quarterback than turning the ball over in scoring position. This would have been a huge turnover because going into halftime with Western having all of the momentum would have been no good.

Via Email from Steven: Was Bobby 1.0’s clock management this bad and I just don’t remember? It seems like it is getting worse the longer he’s here.

I always want to answer any question that is sent to me but I have to be honest and say that I was a regularly drunk college student during Petrino’s first stint and I don’t remember this level of detail. I remember a good amount of the off the field stuff because I was around the team then. I’ve also gone back and watched some of the games to get a feel for what things were like from a different view. There weren’t as many close games so I think that’s why we didn’t see these situations as much.

Since I don’t remember too much about his clock management skills, I think this is a good one to throw to the comments. If anyone has any specific memories that would answer the question above feel free to share them.

This is a question that a lot of folks are at least mentioning. Louisville is a team that is only three points better than a Western Kentucky team that played their third string quarterback. Louisville also struggled against an Indiana State team that didn’t win a game last year. There isn’t much to be excited about outside of the 2-1 record.

On paper, I don’t know how anyone can see another win on the schedule. I’ve watched every team Louisville plays this year and Western Kentucky is the second worst team on the schedule as of right now. So it would make sense that Louisville wouldn’t be able to beat anyone better when they nearly lost to them.

But, this is college football and crazy things happen every week. I don’t think that Louisville is going 2-10 and I wouldn’t be completely shocked if they started 5-1. What I don’t see is them winning more than 5 games this year based on what I’ve seen. The offense is going to be led by a quarterback that is going to have to learn how to read coverages on the fly. He will also have to adjust his game to be patient enough to stay in the pocket. There are also glaring issues with the defense.

What I’ve told everyone who has asked me is that this team is very similar to the 2014 team. That was with Pass at quarterback but it doesn’t change too much with Malik. The offense will be solid but not dynamic. It will need a lot of help from the defense and that 2014 defense had a lot of talent. The 2018 defense doesn’t have that talent. Put all of that together and you get more Virginia games than you do Notre Dames.

Look back or remember how close some of those games were that year. That team had four players with double digit tackles for loss. It had Gerrod Holliman and his 14 interceptions. They also had 40 quarterback hurries and broke up 51 passes. Lousiville hasn’t shown the ability to do any of those things this year. If this team somehow starts showing the ability to do anything that they could do in any of the past four seasons, I could possibly see them getting to a bowl. I don’t know how that would happen when it didn’t happen against the worst two teams on the schedule.