In the run up to the season opener against Alabama, one of the nation’s football pundits -- I forget both his name and the website -- signaled an SOS to the L1C4 Nation.
Such is the nature of Nick Saban’s season opening smackdown success at neutral sites, and how it tends to decimate the vanquished beyond the final horn, the Cards needed to be careful that the Crimson Tide not only battered the Cardinals in the game -- a given really -- but that the loss wouldn’t continue to conquer U of L the rest of the way.
In the wake of two seriously underwhelming performances against Indiana State and Western Kentucky, exclamation pointed by Saturday’s disturbing and deplorable laydown against UVa, one has to wonder whether that pre-Tide warning wasn’t spot on.
So, that’s one conceivable explanation, if certainly no excuse, for U of L’s desultorily poor touchdown-free performance in Charlottesville.
Then there’s this more reasonable interpretation of the Cards’ horrible display Saturday.
The University of Louisville Cardinals -- trying to be gentle here -- are not a very good football team. Stronger words would apply, but I’m attempting to be kind here.
Checking in with my peeps after the game to gauge their reactions to the debacle, we were all mostly speechless. A couple compared the game to the worst they’d ever watched.
One inquired whether I thought this is the worst U of L team in the post-Frank Camp decades? The answer to that is easy: No. I reminded him that Bob Weber lost to Murray State twice. Or that one season when the Cards singular player of note was Wilbur Summers, the punter. Listed how the Stu Stram years, the T.W. Alley and Ron Cooper “eras” were all tough to endure.
If this team continues as it has, it will certainly be a legit entry in that conversation.
Make no mistake this squad’s issues go way beyond the QB situation. Neither of those fellows deserves derision. They’re both egregiously undercoached, not having been adequately provided the tools to lead the offense to success.
Also: The O line couldn’t punch it in from the three after what should have been an exhilarating Rodjay Burns pick early after halftime.
Also: Louisville’s “best” wideout set the tone again, allowing the first pass thrown to him slide through his hands.
Also: A Cardinal was tossed for targeting on UVa’s first series of downs. Falling behind 20-3 with still enough time to rally, another Cardinal was called for unpsportsmanlike infraction on the kickoff, pushing the Cards deep in a hole. That possession ended with a sack on 3d & 7.
Also: A Cardinal DB stood flat footed and watched as a Cavalier receiver “ran right by him,” according to color announcer James Bates, for that score putting the victors up 17.
(Note I’m not naming names on purpose. There’s no reason to throw any of these kids under the bus.)
Continuing: A Cardinal kickoff receiver took a knee at the one yard line, obviously he hadn’t been coached the difference between a fair catch and a kneel down.
And: Against a decidedly mediocre defense, U of L “exploded” for 88 total yards in the opening half, 35 passing, finishing with 214 total for the game (148 through the air, 66 by land). Compared with Virginia QB Bryce Perkins, who threw for 197 and ran for 90. His total yardage of 287 was 73 more than U of L.
Louisville’s poor tackling D gave up not one but two LJ-type hurdles to Perkins.
OK, enough is enough.
Well, one more thing.
Is there any explanation why Bobby Petrino, his team down 24 with less than a minute to play, was calling timeouts to extend the inaction?
Get on the bus, and get out of Dodge, for heaven’s sake.
To me, it’s a sign of how of touch he seems to be.
This was U.G.L.Y.
And there wasn’t anything on the field, or along the sideline, to indicate things will get better any time soon.
-- Seedy K