All posts by JP Diehl

WakeyLeaks, not a Louisville Problem

Another day another scandal here at the University of Louisville. Luckily this one is not a university problem.  The WakeyLeaks scandal (if you can even call it that) is a Wake Forest problem. It is not UofL’s job to inform the team when one of its radio broadcasters is handing out offensive game plans to the opposing teams.  Is there integrity involved? Yes. And should Lonnie Galloway have gone straight to Bobby Petrino and told him what just happened? Sure.  But that still doesn’t mean it’s UofL’s problem nor should this even be a talking point for UofL.

Virginia Tech has come out and also stated that the same man, Tommy Elrod, gave them plays back in 2014, and Army said it received plays twice from Elrod in 2014 and 2016.  No proof has come forward to show that any of the teams used the plays to their advantage. Judging by the first three-quarters of the UofL vs Wake Forest game I would’ve guessed Wake Forest had UofL’s playbook by the way it locked down Lamar Jackson and company.

UofL’s response to the allegations was strong and swift, and sent a message that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated on this team, which is good.  Though it’s not a problem. The fact of the matter is that Galloway did accept plays knowing good and well what could happen if he got caught.  The suspension of Galloway for the Citrus Bowl is the correct punishment, focusing on the individuals’ actions rather than making an entire team suffer.

Take notes UofL Basketball.  The $25,000 fine, which is the maximum fine under ACC bylaws, seems a bit lofty especially without proof of the plays being used and the fact that the plays were more handed over than requested.  That being said, UofL will just accept the fine because big school, big money, and go about preparing for LSU in the Citrus Bowl.

All in all I believe this situation was handled well by all parties and the punishments are to the correct degree.  This is one of those instances that this may be a story now but until more information is found or another angle comes into play, this should all be over and forgotten in a months’ time.  It also helps that this is happening at the same time as the Joe Mixon tape (the tape is extremely graphic, viewer discretion advised) being released. I’m guessing that tape will continue to get a much larger uproar.

 

Image:FlickrMedia

Overconfidence Killed the Cards

As one of my favorite Youtubers Spencer Owen would say, “That was a misery compiler!”  UofL once again came out and disappointed us against a subpar team who the Cardinals should have easily dispatched.  Blame who you want, but at the end of the day a loss is a loss and that goes for the whole team.

With losses now to two unranked teams (thanks, Memphis), Louisville will surely plummet out of the top 15 and possibly out of the top 20.  A team that started with so much promise and college football playoff hopes just a mere two weeks ago is now just another above average team. Where did it all go wrong?

First off I’d like to give Kentucky the credit they deserve. The Wildcats had every right to just accept the idea that losing this game was inevitable, but instead they came out guns blazing and took it to the UofL defense.

Last week I said we would have to watch out for the dangerous rushing attack of UK, and though they did rack up 243 rushing yards, no individual broke 100 yards on the day so that was a win for the defensive line. Unfortunately the secondary decided they didn’t want play football and gave up a whopping 338 yards on 16-27 passing from Stephen Johnson, who just last week against Austin Peay went 5-9 for 101 yards.  Now one of the three bombs he threw for touchdowns was undoubtedly luck with Lamarques Thomas pulling up with a hamstring injury. This injury freed up Garret Johnson for a pitch and catch touchdown, but like they say sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.

Then, at the beginning of the fourth quarter with the game tied at 31, Dorian Baker should have been called for offensive pass interference  but instead made a spectacular grab to take a seven point lead in the fourth.  But these are just 14 of the 41 points that the Wildcats scored against the UofL defense.

The real culprit as to why the Cardinals lost this game are the Cardinals themselves.  The big difference in this game was turnovers. UK finished with two and UofL had four, including a costly fumble by Lamar Jackson that eventually lost the Cardinals the game.  And even though Lamar did throw for 281 and had 171 yards rushing, he had three interceptions to add to his costly fumble.

Jackson will still win the Heisman but this was definitely a game he will want to forget.  But not all the blame can be put on Jackson, once again we saw a Cards offensive line that couldn’t keep pressure off the quarterback, though only allowing 1.5 sacks they disrupted the rhythm of Jackson and forced him to run more than he would’ve liked.  And though Jackson did fumble and give Kentucky the last possession of the game, that possession started at their own 10 with 1:48 left in the game. Austin MacGinnis did have to kick a 47-yard field goal to win, that’s still no excuse for why the Louisville defense couldn’t get a stop on 3rd down and let Kentucky drive down the field and get into field goal range.

These last two weeks are a lot like saying, “fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.”  Houston fooled the Cards when they came out with more tenacity and never let the Cards in the game.

With UK the Cards have no one to blame but themselves, they knew it was a rivalry and still they just couldn’t get the job done. Petrino has some thinking to do to get this team sorted out before its bowl game.

 

Photo: Wikimedia

Louisville Fans, Don’t Give Up Now!

Imagine a world where you don’t have the front-runner for the Heisman trophy playing quarterback for your team who has led your team to 9 victories this season and hopefully a 10th next week.  Imagine never being ranked in the top 25 let alone the top 10 this entire season and imagine having more open seats in the stadium than filled seats.  Finally imagine your season being over already and you having nothing to play or cheer for. Well welcome to the reality of 45 FBS teams that are currently bowl ineligible and most likely will remain that way heading into the final week of the season.  What I’m trying to stress is that even though Louisville may be out of playoff contention, but their season is far from over and needs to be recognized as one of the most successful Louisville seasons in recent years.

Since 2006, Louisville has only won double-digit games 3 times.  In 2006 the Cardinals beat 3 ranked teams and finished that season with only one loss. In 2012 (aside from beating #3 Florida in the Russel Athletic Bowl) and 2013 the team had high win seasons with incredibly sub-par opponents (thanks, Big East). The 2013 Louisville team never played a ranked opponent so when you have now NFL elite quarterback Teddy Bridgewater taking the snaps you are expected to do as well as the Cards did that season.  Now this season has been filled will numerous big name opponents with Florida State currently ranked 17th, Clemson at 4th and Houston who will definitely be ranked after this week.  Though this year the cards have soon to be Heisman winner Lamar Jackson,  these are still very big games two of which were road games in prime time adding to the already harsh environments.

Now of course for the 2016 Cards to become the 4th double digit win team in the last 11 years for the program, they still need to beat the University of Kentucky.  Last week Kentucky dismantled winless Austin Peay 49-13.  Kentucky is now bowl eligible for the first time under Mark Stoops so this is already a successful season for the Wildcats but what would put the icing on the cake would be if they could knock off the mighty Cardinals who they haven’t beat at Papa John’s stadium since 2010.    Kentucky has a 3-pronged rushing attack spear headed by Benjamin Snell Jr. who had 152 yards on 14 attempts also scoring 2 TDs on the day.  The Cardinals must take this rushing attack seriously or we may see a possible repeat of last week’s failure.

With double-digit wins looming large on the horizon for the Cardinals now is not the time for the fans to turn our backs on our team.  Petrino’s team has fought tooth and nail to get to this point and found ways to get through adversity.  Now it’s our turn as fans to show our support for our team. We need a packed house when the other team from Kentucky comes to town to show that Louisville fans and its team will not lie down and will continue to fight till the end of this season.

 

Photo: FlickrMedia

 

Why Lamar Jackson Will Undoubtedly Win the Heisman

The Heisman race this year has been more competitive and talked about than in recent years because of the amount of standout athletes that have taken their talents to the next level in college football. While all the contenders have their cases as to why they should win, at the end of the day there is one man who stands above all the rest: Lamar Jackson.

Lamar Jackson is a freak of nature, and no one else can be compared with him, not this year, not last year and not for many more years to come. Statistically speaking he is a literal record breaker, both at the FBS level and at the university level. After the game against Boston College Jackson now becomes the first player in UofL history to break 1,000 yards rushing at the quarterback position. He has also broken the total offense record at UofL previously set by Teddy Bridgewater. With 47 touchdowns on the season and one regular season game left plus a bowl game, Lamar could be on pace to come close to the FBS record for most touchdowns in a single season set by Colt Brennan in 2006 with 63. If we do a little math that’s averaging eight touchdowns per game to tie the record. For most quarterbacks it would be a crazy number but with the talent of Lamar Jackson anything is possible.

These last two games and next week’s game also play a huge factor for Lamar’s Heisman chances because all three of these teams have winning records going into their games with Louisville, Wake Forest and Houston are already bowl eligible with Kentucky needing just one more win (over Austin Peay) to get there. This is important because out of the nine teams that UofL has played already only two are bowl eligible and one of those (Clemson) was a loss.

So, with these last two games and next week’s game coming up against teams who are above .500 (Kentucky should be 6-5 after this weekend) this will prove to be Louisville’s toughest stretch of games so far. Lamar may have not had the most dominating performance against Wake Forest but 145 yards passing and 153 more on the ground and a touchdown is still a decent performance against the 44th ranked defense in the nation. The real test for Jackson was against the 9th ranked Houston defense last night. Jackson ended with 211 yards passing and 33 more rushing as well as a touchdown in the hopes of all but solidifying his Heisman campaign.

To put this all in perspective let’s look at another dual-threat Heisman winner, Johnny Manziel. Manziel had 5,116 yards for his 2012 Heisman winning season and 46 touchdowns. On the other hand, Lamar Jackson, with one game left in the season, has 4,476 yards and 47 touchdowns. That means that, with one game left this season, Lamar already is responsible for more toushdowns than Manziel, even if he may fall just short of Manziel’s total yardage. If that’s not enough then why not look at another similar quarterback, Cam Newton? Newton had 4,369 yards and 51 touchdowns for his Heisman-winning season. So with one game left Lamar would need four more touchdowns to tie Newton’s number and is already ahead of Newton in total yards.

In conclusion, Lamar Jackson’s season has been by all standards incredible and a pleasure to watch. Unless some monumental collapse were to happen in this last game, Jackson is still the front-runner for the Heisman and will stay that way all the way to the ballots, even without a shot at a national title.

 

Photo: Wikimedia