One last look back at the remnants of the devastation that was U of L’s loss to Alabama in the opener.
As I’ve written in blog comments somewhere since the game, I am disappointed but not disconsolate.
Alabama did what Alabama does. The Tide rolled. They are an incredible football team, and getting steamrolled by them seemed about right frankly.
Which is to say most of the flaws present in U of L’s performance -- one guy’s opinion -- can be blamed on the Tide’s prowess, and the Cards understandable nervousness and lack of comparable ability playing such a perennial power.
So, I’m willing to wait and see if some of the many gaffes on display Saturday don’t dissipate in coming weeks against less formidable opponents.
But there are three things -- perhaps more -- I truly don’t understand, which have nothing to do with the reality that Bama was faster, more talented and a far better team.
First, I’m not sure why U of L didn’t take advantage of the new kickoff fair catch rule? Any called fair catch places the ball on the 25. Several times U of L scatbacks caught the ball inside the ten and tried to run it out, never getting close to the spot they’d have achieved if it was fair caught.
My anecdotal observations of other games over the weekend is that the vast majority of teams similarly situated called for the fair catch, and started drives at the 25. And they weren’t playing the Crimson Tide whose four and five start pigskinners relegated to special teams are going extra hard, extra fast to crack into PT on O or D. Meaning U of L’s chances of advancing the ball beyond the 25 were minimal.
Two, it is never never never ever acceptable to get four -- count ‘em, 1, 2, 3, 4 -- penalties for too many men on the field. Every once in awhile in the heat of battle, sure. But a quartet of such transgressions indicates a serious lack of discipline and planning. Two different things with the same name. Duh, whose idea was that?
Three, U of L’s cornerbacks need to learn to turn their heads, especially in man to man coverage. Yes, the Tide’s receivers for the most part were faster, technically astute with good hands. Getting beat is one thing. Getting beat continually when you are stride for stride with the wideout being covered is lack of technique.
* * * * *
U of L hoops wil stage a Midnight Madness of sorts -- it’s dubbed Louisville Live -- on September 28 from 7-9 pm at Fourth Street Live. Temporary court. Bleachers. Standing room. Razzmatazz to kick off the first season of the Chris Mack era.
Which is a change.
U of L, to its credit I would say, has never been a school to go for the strobe light hoopla to announce the beginning of fall practice. (Practice is pretty much year round now anyway.)
Denny Crum never did it, and U of L seemed to fair pretty well.
Rick Pitino did it once, in an initial foray to put his imprimatur on the program.
It was a cockamamie affair at the Convention Center. Stuff for kids, but you couldn’t leave after entering, if memory serves. Seems like there were but a few hundred folks attending.
When the actual practice commenced at midnight, I was sitting next to Andy Katz, then ESPN’s main college hoops guy.
”Where is everybody,” he asked.
”Louisville’s never been a Midnight Madness kind of place.”
My other memory of the one and done show and tell is The Rick instructing the assembled exactly how they were to react to a three point attempt. I mean, specifics. Raise your hands at this point, in this manner, etc, etc. If the shot goes in, do this, if doesn’t, do this.
Surprise, it never gained traction. Nor did Midnight Madness.
It will be fascinating to see how this Louisville Live affair goes down. Such hoop de doo is sort of de rigeur these days across the land.
-- Seedy K