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Welcome Back Football . . . Please Stick Around

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Here’s the deal up front.

I didn’t attend U of L’s first open practice. And only viewed Coach Satt’s presser online.

Which really is no loss of expert observation for my readers. Check out Keith Wynne’s takeaways. He’s much more astute when it comes to pigskin than me.

I’m the guy, who, at Teddy Bridgewater’s first practice didn’t think he was any more impressive throwing the ball than Will Stein.

But here’s my excuse for not showing up anyway on Sunday.

I know all God’s children got problems, but it was frankly one of the least favorite weekends of my life.

New Orleans JazzFest is the other most favorite thing in my life besides U of L sports. That yesterday’s cancellation of the October reschedule from April was the least depressing thing that happened is telling.

There was other stuff.

Most of all, most heart-wrenching of all, in the early hours of Saturday morning, my ex- and I had to put down sweet Abbey, our 14 year old rescue beagle, that Sad Eyed Lady of the Highlands, whose portrait by my ex- you see above.

My grief really kicked in Sunday morning, and I was in no shape to go anywhere. Even the Cardinals’ first football practice.

Here’s what I can share about Abbey and Louisville football. She only knew me as the soft talking guy who fed her, walked her, gave her treats, and couldn’t pass her by without a pat or three. When a Card game was on the telly, and I’d jump from my seat and yell at the screen, Abbey didn’t quite know what to make of it.

She just wanted it to be halftime, so I’d take her outside. And give her a treat.

Long may you run, dear Abbey.

* * * * *

As for the Cards, and the beginning of preseason practice, a couple of things.

My emissaries, Doc and Dough, went. They said there were a lot of fans.

There is something special about the American love affair with this game on the gridiron. Especially the college variety.

And, in these oh so very very strange times, the escape it brings is necessary. And craved. Not only the games themselves. But Ralphie the Buffalo leading Colorado on to the Folsom Field gridiron, and Script Ohio, and the coeds in cocktail dresses in the Grove, and the procession before a Boilermaker game at Ross-Ade, which is so full of seemingly endless pageantry, you’d think there was going to be a joust.

So, yeah, the sideline was full of dudes, guys with bad knees who played for the glory at Fern Creek, and St. Polycarp, and are coachin’ up the 12 year olds in the park in August’s heat. And, it wasn’t only guys.

* * * * *

What did I take from Scott Satterfield’s Q & A?

Most of all, that the guy truly loves the game to the core of his soul. That he loves coaching. And, unlike his predecessor, and despite the fans displeasure with his dalliance with South Carolina, he’s a decent guy.

I also think he’s a good coach, and am glad he’s roaming the sideline of my team.

He likes speed. Which he mentioned any number of times, when talking about various players and position groups. Thus I reiterate, look for some focus on Tyler Harrell, whom a few weeks ago, he called “the fastest player he’d ever coached.”

OK, I’m not going to continue to pretend here that I’m some sort of pigskin savant. I’ll still way in though. And listen to Keith Wynne, who knows what he’s talking about.

* * * * *

The passing of Bobby Bowden got me to wondering yet again.

He was U of L’s second choice, when Lee Corso was named Cardinal coach in ‘69.

How might things have been different, had Bowden been chosen?

* * * * *

Lane Kiffin, coach at Ole Miss, U of L’s opening week foe, lost thirty pounds since last season. Mostly to demonstrate, he says, to his players, the importance of getting one’s body ready for the game.

He announced that his team and staff are 100% vaccinated. Good on them.

The Johnny Rebs return 16 starters, eight on each side of the ball.

Louisville shall be tested from the opening kickoff.

* * * * *

The only part of the Canton HoF induction ceremonies I took in was a video of Peyton Manning’s speech.

The guy is funny and erudite. Even though he rushed it a bit, it was great. A real homage to the game and his love for it.

He name-dropped a bunch of all-timers, including fellows from the days of yore. Like Lem Barney, who played for my Detroit Lions. And, not only could hit, but sang back up, along with Mel Farr, on Marvin Gaye’s iconic “What’s Going On.”

* * * * *

Football.

Stick around.

A nation turns its lonely eyes to you.

Abbey, Rest in Peace, my sweet.

— c d kaplan