U of L football: Measuring success

We’re a little more than a month away from the start of football practice. And a little less than two months from the start of a University of Louisville football season that looks like none other in the past decade.

Expectations, I would say, are lower right now than they’ve been since John L. Smith’s first season in Louisville.

Cardinals coach Steve Kragthorpe is under increasing pressure to perform. While U of L athletic director Tom Jurich has said this is not a “make-or-break season” for the third-year coach, I don’t think any reasonable observer thinks that the program can maintain its broad base of support if another team melts down to finish near the Big East basement.

So the big question heading into this season is, how will improvement will be measured?

As a columnist, it’s a question I have to ask myself. Because you want to be fair, even if you wind up being critical.

I understand that some of this can only be answered after seeing a little bit of the personnel once it is assembled and in one place next month.

But there is, for each fan, and certainly for me, and you would think for Jurich, a checklist in place. It may not be written down, but it is in mind.

My question today is: What does your checklist look like? If you’re a U of L football follower, what items are on that list that must have a check mark beside them come season’s end if you’re going to be satisfied or at least encouraged moving forward?

I’ll be honest. My checklist isn’t complete. I have five or six things in mind that need to happen for this season to show signs of success even if the record remains sub-.500. I will, certainly, offer my list in print, however, before the start of the season.

But I’m interested in as many thoughts as I can get. You can email me by clicking here, or just respond in the comments section of this blog.

So, let’s have it. What’s on your checklist?

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33 thoughts on “U of L football: Measuring success

  1. For me, personnel is not going to be a big part of this equation. This is his third year which means his recruits are juniors and third-year sophomores now(not to mention all the upperclass jucos). So most of the players are his guys.And any claims about lack of numbers or depth are also Kragthorpe's responsibility because he's the one who booted all those guys off the team in the first place.This is Kragthorpe's team. If he can't win with his own roster and he couldn't win with Petrino's roster then what good is he?

  2. I haven't thought of a complete list. However, one thing very much on my mind for UL is improvement in the skill positions; wide receivers, running backs, and quarterback. We've seen serious degeneration take place there, and I don't see how overall improvement can come without improved play at the skill positions. And frankly, I am skeptical we are going to see that with inexperienced QBs. But, that's my wish list for UL.davidm

  3. I'd say a second way to measure improvement in UL's football program is improvement in fundamentals such as blocking and tackling. Arm tackling, especially, is a way to measure improvement on the defensive side of the ball. This is something which can be taught and if it doesn't show up by year 3, it's probably not going to show up, period.davidm

  4. In addition to (1) improved skill position play and (2) improved basics especially tackling on defense, I'd say a third way to measure success will be if UL's fans show some unity and start pulling the team together instead of apart. If attendance holds or even improves, that would be a good measure of success.davidm

  5. How about players in position? How about a game plan that is real plan, and not panicky reaction? How about special teams that do not give away at least 9 points a game? How about a coaching presence that instills confidence in the players? How about a single game where the players execute a well designed, thought out plan that shows planning beforehand?Forget wins and losses, how about a gameplan?

  6. First Kicking absolutely has to improve and improve immensely. Last year we could have used some girl soccer players at the school that could have kicked better.We had the finest kicker that the school will probably ever see, but we should have had something in the wings.We desperately need a hard nosed never give up quarterback that keeps on plugging.Defense did look a lot better last year and hopefully it will continue to improve.

  7. 1)Better coaching2)Improved technique and fundamentals. 3)No more blown assignments- that means improved game preparation.4)Improved kicking game.5)A more effective passing attack.6)More big special teams plays- Blocked kicks, returned punts7)Less predictability with the play calling.8)More blitzes, unrelentless pressure on the QB.9)More passion and emotion from players and coaches10)Less excuses, blaming, and finger pointing from staff and administration.Go Cards!!Bryan M.

  8. Eric, here's my checklist: 1. Win the three "must win" games – Indiana St., Arkansas St. and Syracuse. (Being the victim in two of SU's three conference wins over the last two seasons is unacceptable.)2. Win at least two of the six "winnable" games – UK, UC, UConn, Rutgers, Pitt and S. Miss. Be competitive in the other four.3. Be competitive in at least two of the three remaining road games – WVU, S. Florida and Utah. 4. Avoid a repeat of the Rutgers game. (that was beyond a blowout)A minimum of five wins this season, coupled with no more than one blowout, certainly would not be cause for great celebration, but would reflect tangible progress from last season.

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