Hell in the Hall – Louisville Sports Blog

Dedicated to the joyful noise of the Card faithful

It’s Official: This is the Season of Pain…. FIU 24 – Louisville 17

Posted by frankpos on September 10, 2011

Last week’s game rang the alarm bells.

And this week’s game confirmed the emergency.

There was very, very little improvement between this week’s team  performance  and last week’s.

Yes…..This is the season  of pain  .  The year we must pay for the THREE years of non- recruiting under Kragthorpe.

Josh Chichester stepped up big, with a career night of 6 catches for 111 yds. But it went for naught, as the lack of O-Line production for a second straight week doomed the Cards.

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You thought we could avoid all pain…. after all those abysmal years?

Charlie Strong and his staff are so good they made you forget that, didn’t they?

Jeremy Wright explodes over a tackler--but the Louisville running game found few holes, and avg 'd less than 3 yds/ carrry...

(BTW-  Sam Hunter took pics for Hell in the Hall,  and here is the link to his full set of over 200 pics of the game    http://www.flickr.com/photos/fpos/sets/72157627511394589/detail/. They are also on the right sidebar—>>)

But there’s less than a handful of Petrino recruits remaining now.  And Charlie’s– and Clinnt’s– recruitment wunderkinds are all babies, relatively speaking.  It’s amazing really, that we probably will only pay one year for the three lost ones.

What to do?

The problem is not Will Stein, it's the O-Line. Stein steadied himself after the early Pick 6, and threw for over 300 yds and two TDs and no further INTs, hitting on 30 of 43 passes.--while running for his life most of the time, since he was sacked 6 times! It was, in retrospect, a truly heroic effort, spoiled by poor line protection and production with the running game.

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In the post game presser, there were no answers to that.  None at all really besides the most vague cliches about “improving”.

In fact, the most depressing thing about this presser compared to last week’s was Coach Strong’s demeanor, and overall tone and posture.  As a professional business consultant by day, I observe things like that.

Coach Charlie Strong presence seems everywhere. And his fire fuels the Cards...but after a second week's dismal performance, his embers were burning low in the post game presser.

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Last week he was clearly irritated, but in charge….. body language -wise, and eye contact-wise when answering questions.  This week– he honestly looked and acted beaten.  His tone was not irritated.  It was more like:  “Acceptance of the fairly sad reality that faces me and my team this year.”

His posture was less erect, his speech volume more subdued, and his talk was now peppered with phrases to try to eliminate any expectations for this season.  And when answering questions, he avoided much direct eye-to-eye contact.   All not good things to see in your leader.

Devante Parker flashed more signs of brilliance with 2 more circus catches....

....including this one near the end of the game somehow between two defenders.

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It is hard at this point to scan the remaining games and see any sure wins .  We might eke out 1-3 more W’s….but that still means BAD losing season , so gird for it.

That’s how I see it now.  Charlie and his staff proved me wrong last year.  They hopefully will this year.

But I never saw  this “look” in Charlie last year, like I did tonight.

He knows… and we now do too.

This is that season….

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Hey, look! The Ladybirds are here to make us all feel better....

A few notes and observations:

  • T. Y. Hilton is the real deal.  A true triple threat at receiver, running back, or wide receiver.  And he burned us with over 200 yrds receiving …by the 3rd qtr.      Interestingly, they never ran him as a running back all night –he just was a decoy in those situations.
  • FIU’s QB and punter were very solid–as was their whole team.  In fact, it was visually obvious–they were just simply a better team, top to bottom than we are now, particularly with their much greater experience,  with 16 returning starters from their triumphant Bowl team last year.
  • *************************************************************************************************************
  • In the first half, when they had us crushed 21-3, they had only 32 yards of total offense–outside of the 74 and 83 yard pass plays to Mr. TY Heisman.
  • Will Stein may be Sunny and capable. But they better start giving more snaps to Bridgewater, if we lose to UK.  This is a bit of a lost season, and if things get out of hand… we might as well bring in the future.  He looked good on his ONLY series tonight.
  • Heck, even a baton twirler stopped by too to say hi..

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  • I’m sorry– but Coach Sanford’s play calling is too formulaic for this O-Line weak  team.  He has to build in more creativity –why not?– when clearly, his O-line can not open holes for our VERY good running backs this year.  Ya gotta change a little man– go  60%-40% pass/run, or even more passing.  And more play action on key downs–hell, run the wishbone if you have to!
  • What was probably most disappointing in the big picture is that the coaching staff and players all knew this was a big play team, with a true star in Hilton that makes most of those big plays.  Yet we did not do whatever it took to shadow Hilton sufficiently until he had burned us out of the game. That is a knock on the D coaches as well as the players.
  • On to UK… a game that I believe we will win by a 3-7 pts, IF  Stein and the Cards stay steady in the early going.
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