On U of L

So what about the Cardinals? I didn’t get much into the U of L performance in my column today. Especially on a deadline situation, the ink goes to the victors.

Several wondered what I was drinking to say the game wasn’t as close as the score looked.

I mean it.

UK didn’t play like it, but the Wildcats looked a lot more than 6 points better than UK last night. Some U of L fans wrote in to say, “We gave them the game on a silver platter!” But let’s look at what U of L gave UK.

The turnovers on U of L’s first two touches of the ball were forced.

What U of L gave UK were dropped Mario Urrutia passes. But we’ve seen those for a while. They can’t be called an anomaly. Nor can the penalty that nullified a quarterback sneak touchdown. U of L has been making stupid penalties all season.

In short, until we see differently, those are things that have to be factored in at the moment for U of L.

U of L rushed for 34 yards in the second half. It scored 7 offensive points. It could not effectively stop the running game.

If UK hadn’t gotten too cute with its play-calling, it would have eaten up much of the rest of the first half to lead 22-14 or 26-14 at half. And with the score in the first drive of the second half, the game would’ve had a totally different complexion.

U of L fans can ignore that this outcome could have been much worse for the Cardinals, or that they were pretty fortunate to be so close despite all the problems, but that doesn’t change the fact, or my opinion, which, in the end, is what my column is about.

Now, to some U of L points:

1). The defense wasn’t good, but it was improved. I thought U of L’s defense gave the offense plenty of chances in the third quarter to take the game away. And this despite all that had gone wrong

2). The most concerning failure is the second-half offense. The Brohm sacks. The disappearance of the running game. The missed opportunities. Brohm was good enough. Harry Douglas was out of this world. U of L is a team that puts pressure on the opponent with its offense. Last night, hte offense was purely in catch-up mode, not the Bobby Petrino-trademark attack mode.

3). The offensive management was spotty. Often, the play got in on time, but several times it was too close for comfort for Brohm. Only several times did U of L appear to have its customary tempo and rhythm on offense.

4). The coming week is extremely important for U of L. The team will take care of business on the field against a bad Syracuse team. The question is whether fans will fill the stadium and move forward, or will fall back on support of a new coaching staff in a difficult position.

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13 thoughts on “On U of L

  1. We don’t expect you to be a shill for the home team, Eric. But to announce to the world (and sports writers, voters, nationwide) that the game wasn’t even close–no contest?Louisville–city and university–deserved better from you. (We’ll cut you some slack for the deadline constraints, though.)

  2. Now this is one UofL guy that actually knows what he’s talking about. and ur dirty city called louisville doesn’t deserve anything by the way,

  3. Most subscribers, if polled, would say that Eric wouldn’t have written the column in the same way had he had it to do over again.Some thoughts are better unsaid. He screwed up.Period.

  4. Thanks for the comments, folks.A few thoughts:1. I absolutely believe that U of L was fortunate that this game wasn’t more lopsided. If you watch enough football games, prize fights, or whatever, you know that there are chances to throw knockout punches, and UK had that chance in the first half and failed — most notably on the fourth-down call, but also when it got the ball in U of L’s red-zone after the kickoff fumble and came away with only three points. Now. U of L also had some of those chances in the third quarter. No denying that. But those would never have occurred had UK seized the moment.2. U of L’s first two turnovers were forced. They can’t be called “bad breaks.”3. Nor can U of L’s procedure penalty on the goal line be called a “bad break.” U of L has been committing such penalties in crucial situations all season.4. Ditto for Mario Urrutia and dropping passes.5. One fan wrote me calling the blown coverage on Steve Johnson “a once-in-a-season” mistake. Humorous, since it actually happened twice in that game. Johnson dropped a pass on the very same route, wide open, in the first half. Blown coverages, alas, also have become the norm.6. Finally, I understand being in a bad mood after a loss. But if U of L fans need some kind of validation for “playing close” to UK, then the bar already has been lowered. UK was better in this game in the areas where it has always mattered most in this series — the running game and along the lines. And the fact that the Wildcats could have won this one by significantly more should serve as a warning sign to Cardinal fans who want to acknowledge it, more than as a rally cry for those looking to save face.7. Of course, as Dennis Miller likes to say, “That’s only my opinion, I could be wrong.”8. A special note to Patty — I’m not aware of any poll voters who consult my columns before voting! As always, if you had more than a few minutes to write something, you’d do it differently. I don’t write the headlines and would’ve probably put a different one on this one. But I stand by my basic premise: U of L was lucky this wasn’t much worse.

  5. You can only call Brohm’s interception forced if he threw that ball b/c of defensive pressure.He made a bad throw and the defense capitalized. I would not call that a forced error in favor of UK.How is it possible that the national media can consider Slaton’s fumbles against us last year unforced, but Guy’s fumble was forced?As far as UK possibly winning this game by much more, that really doesn’t matter. This game came down to our defense giving up a 60 yard play with 30 seconds left. That doesn’t mean Kentucky is “much better” than Louisville. It means we have a poor defense.But I’m glad I can count on Louisville’s newspaper to take Lexington’s side.There is a reason why I only read the CJ online, I would never waste a DIME paying for writers who try to play neutral.

  6. Is this some kind of innovative new wave journalistic technique?UK didn’t play like it, but the Wildcats looked a lot more than 6 points better than UK last night. First, I hope it is just a typo. Second, If it is a typo. It still does not make sense. UK did not play like it, but the Widcats looked alot more than six points better than U of L last night.So if they did not play like it. What did they do, use smoke and mirrors?In your other article you spelled “gauntlet” GANTLET. Is this another journalistic technique or do you not have spell check.No wonder more and more journalism jobs are being outsourced to India.

  7. Well, without mentioning names, you’ve also taken a lot of heat from your colleagues today for yesterday’s column. Most thought you had overreached. Some more than others.Anyway, thanks for being a good sport and talking back to the readers.We’ll keep you posted on any further polling data.

  8. Anybody can play the what if game Eric. Your article was stupid and your defense of the article is even more rediculous. Usually like your stuff, but the article read like it was written buy a die hard blue blood who can’t seperate fantasy from reality. If you can dismiss UofL penalties as part of the game then UofK’s history of bad play calling has to be dismissed as well.

  9. The Great Nostradamas Crawford…Based on the column of interest here, and your defense of it, I look forward to the remainder of football season(and the upcoming basketball season). There is nothing quite like reading about a game and basing potential outcomes on ‘what-ifs’. I agree there is no point in saying ‘UL gave the game away’, but in the same way, there is no point in saying ‘it wasn’t that close (implying that UK allowed UL to stay in the game)’ Either way is pure speculation, requiring large leaps of assumed information and adds nothing of real interest to how the game played-out. The argument can be made from either side, so it is only defensible by acknowledging that the other opinion is just as valid (just not one you agree with).

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