Just when the University of Louisville had turned the corner and begun to pick up steam, wide receiver Scott Long has gone down with a season-ending knee injury, and the Cardinals again will be scrambling to plug a major hole in their offense.
Long’s value to the team can’t be debated. In his first truly healthy game, he had five catches for 134 yards and two touchdowns in the program’s biggest win of the past two seasons against South Florida.
With long, the offense was at its most multi-dimensional.
And we’ve seen it without him. U of L can still field a potent offense, but Long gave it something extra.
Because of this injury and a number of others, whatever the Cards accomplish this season — or don’t — will have to be viewed through a prism of injury. It’s an extraordinary stroke of bad luck for second-year coach Steve Kragthorpe, who seems finally to have his team rolling his way.
It needn’t spell the end of U of L’s rejuvenated Big East Conference hopes. They still have plenty of offensive weapons. But for a team whose biggest weakness coming into the season was depth, these injuries have had an undeniable impact.