The column I wrote today suggesting a truce is needed between a segment of U of L’s fan base and its football administration wasn’t one I was too eager to write. In fact, it went through several rewrites, from a version that dealt more with administrative responsibility to one that ultimately dealt more with fan issues. It’s tough to achieve balance in the space provided, and having made many of the points I have about Kragthorpe and Co., I wound up dealing more with the fan issue today.
Fans aren’t to blame for any of this, and I went out of my way to say it. But I also think it’s the truth — if large numbers of them walk, the program could be damaged beyond the current state.
Anyway, I’m aware that suggesting a truce without some tangible suggestions as to how is not the best way to go. So in the spirit of assistance, a few suggestions for baby steps on getting this thing started.
Fans: Maybe some could stop telling those fans who try to support the current coach to “put down the Krag pipe.”
Kragthorpe: Maybe he could stop adding “y” or “ie” to the first names of his players (i.e. Matty, Dougie), thereby making them sound like minivan-riding Pop Warner kids. (NOTE: If he refers to Vic Anderson as “Vickie,” the truce is dissolved.)
Fans: Will continue to purchase tickets, come and tailgate and remain in their seats as long as they are physically able to stand it.
Kragthorpe: Will beat Syracuse.
Fans: Will consider that some problems (particularly injuries) Kragthorpe has encountered were legitimate hindrances to a better season.
Kragthorpe: Will consider that while quitting is contagious, losing is too.
Fans: Will stop attacking an athletic director who brought to them an Orange Bowl, the Final Four, the College World Series, higher graduation rates, gender equity, state all-sports supremacy and new facilities in every sport.
Jurich: Will not belittle the fan base that paid to achieve all those things.
As I told a couple of emailers this morning, I have no dog in this hunt. Sports columnists, my colleague Mike Bianchi from the Orlando Sentinel has famously said, simply sit on a hill and watch the battle, then ride down when it is over to bayonet the victims.
But as I see it, there’s a vested interest in U of L and its supporters to keep from coming apart at the seams. And both should recognize it.