APATHY: ap•a•thy /apeTHḕ/ (noun) – a lack of interest, enthusiasm or concern
The University of Louisville Football program isn’t perfect or flawless. It never has been, and it never will be. As a fan, I think I can speak for others by saying that it’s been the program’s ability to occasionally rise above average or in some instances find greatness that makes being a Cardinal fan so fun. Two BCS Bowl wins and a Heisman Trophy winner are all a good case in point. But following an underwhelming loss to open the 2021 season last night to Ole Miss, I was reminded that fun times and enjoyable moments have been hard to come by in recent years for Louisville Football fans. A standard of excellence that has been built through blood, sweat and plenty of tears is starting to decay.
Coach Scott Satterfield and his Louisville Football team currently has a lot of issues on the field. But, it’s biggest dilemma lies OFF the gridiron. Before casting light on that elephant in the room, the checklist of on the field shortcomings were plentiful last night and painfully plain to see…..
1: Louisville’s offense continues to remind me of the original Tecmo Bowl playbook (If you’re a millennial, look it up). There is little innovation and plenty of predictability.
2: The deep and “experienced” offensive line looked anything but that last night. Holes in the running game were virtually non-existent and Malik Cunningham frequently found himself running from a collapsed pocket WITH OLE MISS ONLY RUSHING THREE DEFENSIVE LINEMEN on most instances.
3: There is a lack of playmakers on offense. Explosiveness by way of Tutu Atwell and Javian Hawkins is gone as is the reliability of one Dez Fitzpatrick. So, who is going to step up and fill their shoes? Based on last night’s performance, I’m not sure anyone can.
4. Louisville continues to kill itself. The throwback pass from Braden Smith to Cunningham should have been an easy touchdown. But, alas, a missed block nullified the opportunity. A fourth down option play worked to perfection later in the game, but the ball was fumbled. An opening second half drive showed great promised but a big run was brought back because of a holding penalty.
5. Defensively, Louisville continues to look soft and more than willing to give its opponent all the cushion it needs to convert on 3rd and long. The defense continues to struggle getting off the field in pivotal moments.
The list could go on but you as the reader have been watching the same deficiencies I have for the past several years. Things aren’t good and I’m not sure how or if it can be improved – at least enough to where it would change the potential outcome of a game.
But as mentioned earlier, Louisville Football has bigger issues than X’s and O’s or a perceived lack of talent on the roster. The elephant in the room is that Louisville Football is entering into a realm of apathy with its fans.
Once you lose the fan base as a head coach, the rest is history. Just ask Steve Kragthorpe or Brian Van Gorder for validation.
I have pulled for Scott Satterfield since he stepped on UofL’s campus. And, I still want him to succeed. But admittedly, and this admission hurts, I found myself almost disinterested at times last night. I felt like I was watching a movie I had seen way too many times. There was no excitement, no rush of emotion.
Some would argue that things are at it worst when fans are pissed off and taking to social media to air out their disapproval. I would respectfully disagree.
Upset and pissed off fans imply that there is still an interest on some level. It is the true antitheses of what apathy means. It may not be good for folks who don’t like reading mean tweets or Facebook posts or listening to disgruntled fans calling in to post game radio shows. But again, those very things mean that people still genuinely care and are invested in the program.
Pissed off UofL fans > Apathetic UofL fans, period
If apathy continues to deep root itself among the fanbase then widespread change will become inevitable, I fear. I have spoken with several fellow fans, all of which are die hard, loyal season ticket holders, that have essentially told me in so many words that they just don’t care as much as they used to. That is a problem folks. And I know that fans who are reading this are probably angry at the notion that some fellow fans may be getting to a point of complete indifference, but it’s happening ever so slowly.
Personally, I still care about this program and how it performs. I’m not sure I could ever not. But if I’m occasionally feeling apathetic watching a season opener for my alma mater then I have a hunch that other fans are feeling the same.
The end game for a potential rise in apathy doesn’t mean the program deteriorates to the point of no return. But, I do think it seals the fate of Scott Satterfield as Louisville’s head football coach.
Carl Dueker once said, “If winning cures everything, then losing poisons everything. “
Beating Eastern Kentucky next Saturday doesn’t change the course of the program. Finding a way to beat Central Florida won’t necessarily either but it could help in keeping fans engaged. Unfortunately, I feel like I already know how this season might play out after watching last night’s shellacking. And in presumably knowing that, I’m struggling to stay interested at a level that I’m used to.
I’ll continue to watch, I’ll continue to hope and I’ll continue to how support where I see appropriate. My fear is that others may not do the same.
Only time will tell how this chapter of Louisville Football plays out. For Scott Satterfield’s sake, he better hope that Cardinal fans stay mad and don’t put the book down.