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Petrino photo: Tim Haag/CardinalSportsZone.com Strong photo: livestream7.com
The Louisville Cardinals had a school record 10 players selected in this past weekend’s NFL Draft. They had the second most of any team, behind Florida State’s 11 picks. Regardless, that looks great for the program. But who do you think should get the most credit? The guy who coached them last season? Or the guy who brought most of those guys to UofL and developed them?
Just for the record, when I refer to Bobby Petrino or Charlie Strong in this, it obviously includes their whole staff as well. Clearly guys like Todd Grantham and Clint Hurtt have a lot to do with the success of those head coaches, but for the sake of time, I will just refer to Petrino and Strong.
Let’s take a look at the 10 draft picks and try to figure out who is most responsible for them getting drafted…
Congratulations to former Louisville and Trinity quarterback Will Stein, who will be continuing his coaching career at the University of Texas with Coach Charlie Strong as a graduate assistant. Stein tweeted the following message last night.
Brace yourself for this. A Charlie Strong-coached team has been accused of running the score up. Apparently, that is what the Cards were doing to Miami in the Russell Athletic Bowl last season, according to cornerback Corn Elder. The following comes from the rest of the article on CanesWatch.com.
“Honestly, I remember them trying to run the score up,” he said. “Just disrespecting us, pretty much.”
After Deon Bush sacked Teddy Bridgewater for a safety on the opening drive, it was all Cardinals. They went up 22-2 at halftime and were still carving up UM’s defense in the final minutes.
“I feel like they were out there talking a lot of trash,” Elder said. “They have a lot of players from here. It was a confidence thing.”
When the Vegas odds came out that Charlie Strong was the 2-1 favorite to land the head coaching job at Texas, I laughed. I said there was no way that would happen. He may leave someday, but Texas is not the place for him. He had turned down Tennessee, we were heading into the ACC, and we had all the momentum in the world. Charlie wasn’t going anywhere…
Well Charlie went. I was shocked, mad, upset, disappointed, felt betrayed once again by a head coach that said he wanted to be here. I wrote all about how I felt soon after it happened. Soon after, Bobby Petrino was hired, and a new chapter was beginning. We would head into the ACC with Bobby, a fresh start for everyone. Things still stung a little bit, because I was just curious how Strong would have done with his guys heading into the new league.
More than 6 months later, things are a little easier for me now. I am 100% excited for Bobby Petrino to lead us into the ACC and do some damage. And on the Charlie Strong side of things, I am fine with his decision. He took one of the top jobs in the country. Louisville is not a traditional powerhouse or football school, and you could tell that’s what he wanted. So he got it, and it was too good to pass up. What made it hurt was buying into the thought that we had found “our guy.” He was going to stay here forever and build us up because he loved it here.
Kevin Ryan of 247 Sports released a Top 10 for new coaching hires from this off-season. The rankings are based on “past performance, fit at the new school, possibility of future success, and other criteria.”
Bobby Petrino was ranked as the 4th best hire. What sticks out if you look at the list is who is ranked as the 3rd best hire: Charlie Strong at Texas. What does this mean? Well, absolutely nothing really. But it’s July and these lists are fun to talk about sometimes.
We all knew watching Calvin Pryor last year that this wasn’t your average Safety. Over and over Pryor would make plays, whether a one handed INT or a monster hit, that would leave us speechless. While we knew he was special I don’t know that anyone grasp just how good Pryor may be. Upon arriving at Jets camp Pryor immediately started making an impact, so much so many people began speculating he could be moving into the starting role. ESPN has also taken notice and in Ashley Fox’s new article she makes the bold prediction that Calvin Pryor will be Defensive Rookie of the Year.
“Pryor’s head wasn’t spinning after his first minicamp. His mouth was running, yes, to the point that second-year quarterback Geno Smith quipped that Pryor had not earned the right to chirp. Yet.
But that is Pryor’s nature, and he is a perfect fit for the Jets. Pryor is, as Jets head coach Rex Ryan noted after selecting him, in the mold of Seattle safeties Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas: big, brash, a vicious hitter with range, who is able to blitz from various spots on the field, and an enforcer for the back of the defense.
“It’s how we want to play defense,” Ryan said at the time, while noting: “Big hits still win games.”
“Pryor played three seasons at Louisville. He started the final seven games as a true freshman and developed a reputation as a hitter, hence the nickname “Louisville Slugger.” As a junior last season, the 6-foot-2, 208-pound Pryor knocked an opponent out of each game of a three-game stretch. He finished his collegiate career as Louisville’s all-time leader with nine forced fumbles. He also had seven interceptions.”
“It is inevitable that Pryor will make big hits. He should be able to create turnovers. He will make plays. And if Pryor does so from the jump, he should add another line to his résumé: NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.”
Whether Pryor wins ROY or not I think we all can agree the “Louisville Slugger” will have the best nickname in all of football.
Well Teddy dominated the first Camps session for the Minnesota Vikings like we all expected. I’d say there will be a few GM’s that wont be listening to Mike Mayok’s advice next season.
Former USC quarterback Max Wittek is a name that we have been hearing for months now. He is transferring from Southern California and the main schools he has been considering are Louisville, Texas, and Hawaii. With Louisville and Texas being two of those, obviously this was of interest. Speaking of that, why don’t more kids consider Hawaii? Wouldn’t that be a fun place to go to college? Anyway…
According to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Wittek will not graduate this spring, but he will in December. Had he graduated this spring, he could transfer with no restrictions and would have had two seasons to play, including 2014. If he transfers after he graduates in the fall semester, he will have to sit out the 2014 season and have only one year of eligibility left according to cbssports.com. That is, of course, unless he decides to transfer to an FCS (formerly Division I-AA) school, in which case he could play in 2014 without sitting out.
Remember the guy that didn’t really care for much media attention while here at Louisville? Not that there was much media responsibility anyway, but it just wasn’t his thing. For his hour long radio show once per week, he would usually do about half of it and then let another coach handle the rest. Surely you remember that version of Charlie Strong right?
Well the Charlie Strong of Texas is now going on a BUS TOUR around the state of Texas. It is sort of like the Cardinal Caravan here. That same Cardinal Caravan that (according to Eric Crawford) made 6 stops last year and Strong was on only one of those stops. He talked for about 20 minutes and then didn’t take questions from the media. I am sure he loves this whole bus tour thing, right?
ESPN.com’s Andrea Adelson was recently in Louisville to take in spring practice and talk to head coach Bobby Petrino. In her article, she talks about how different things are now with Petrino and staff back in charge. At the bottom of this post, there is a link to the original post on ESPN.com that also has the video interview with Petrino. Here is some of Adelson’s article…
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – It is hard to miss the giant poster of Teddy Bridgewater hanging in the lobby of the Louisville football complex, celebrating the Cardinals’ momentous win over Florida in the Allstate Sugar Bowl two years ago.
Bridgewater’s rise was concurrent to the football program’s latest ascent to national prominence, but the truth is he was the most notable player on a defensive-minded football team led by a defensive-minded coach who stressed a physical, ball-control style of football that did not always showcase its talented quarterback.
If you have followed the George Rushing recruitment, you probably have a headache. Rushing was committed to Louisville when Charlie Strong was here. When Bobby Petrino was hired, Rushing decommitted. Petrino and his staff kept recruiting Rushing and he started to favor the Cards again. In fact, it seemed solid a couple weeks ago that Rushing would end up as apart of the class for Louisville again.
Rushing will announce his decision tonight, and it was thought to be down to Louisville, Wisconsin, and TCU. But now it seems that Louisville has been eliminated and Rushing will decide between the Badgers and Horned Frogs. All signs point to Rushing choosing Wisconsin. We wish him nothing but the best.
This is a pretty cool video here. If you read my thoughts on how the Charlie Strong saga went down, you know I was bitter about the situation. But even in saying that, the video of him crowd surfing in the locker room is still one of the best clips ever, can’t deny that.
If you read the title of this post, you may think it isn’t a big deal, just another award for Rick Pitino. Then when I say that the runner-up was Tom Jurich and in third place was Teddy Bridgewater, you may think that this was a poll done on Louisville’s campus. This is actually the Lexington Hearald-Leader Kentucky Sportsman of the Year, and it is voted on by media members in Kentucky. So yes, in a Lexington-based newspaper, the top 3 vote-getters were Rick Pitino, Tom Jurich, and Teddy Bridgewater. Not too bad. Other interesting finishers in the top 10: Charlie Strong and 9th and Russ Smith at 10th.
Top 10 in voting
1. Rick Pitino
2. Tom Jurich
3. Teddy Bridgewater
4. Dominique Hawkins
5. Kenny Perry
6. Makayla Epps
7. Antonio Andrews
8. A’dia Mathies
9. Charlie Strong
10. Russ Smith
Pitino becomes the first person to win this award three times. He also won it in 1990 and 1996. In 2013, Pitino led the Cardinals to a National Championship, was elected into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, had a horse (Goldencents) run in the Kentucky Derby, got a tattoo, caught a marlin, and drank a lot of coconut water.
Your move 2014.
Photo courtesy of sportsillustrated.cnn.com
On Thursday evening it was announced that Louisville defensive line coach Clint Hurtt would be leaving UofL to be an assistant coach with the Chicago Bears. We wish him nothing but the best in the future. Hurtt posted the following message on his facebook page:
“It’s never easy saying bye to people or places that you love. Not in a million years did I think I would ever leave the University of Miami but I also knew that if I was going to grow professionally I had to leave the nest seeing that the U was all that I knew. With the exception of Greg Schiano and Bill Young I had been in the same defense practically for 10 of my 13 years with them as player/ga/coach.
Louisville was the perfect situation, the challenge of rebuilding a program, a sleeping giant to the college football world, a rising head coach that I knew I could learn so much from and a fan base second to none in college football.
These past 4 years have been memories I’ll never forget and relationships that will never be broken. Tom Jurich is as good as gold some may feel me leaving for this opportunity is not right but he totally understood why I wanted this. No different then the reason I came here-to grow in this profession. He respected it and understood I told him this wasn’t a ploy to “hide out” and go to Texas. Lol people really don’t know me if they think I’m a follower. I follow one person and that’s God.
I love Charlie Strong and Vance Bedford but I stated to Charlie long before this is what I wanted to do, coach in the NFL. Toughest part was telling the DL today and I’ll see the rest of the boys tomorrow.
Card Nation I want to thank you for all your support and how gracious you’ve been to my family and I since we’ve been here. We will still be rooting to no end for OUR CARDINALS this season and every season to come after. Good luck to Coach Petrino and his staff can’t wait to see them beat the hell out of every dam body!! #L1C4 #Cardinaldiehardfan!”
This week…..on 55…..
Once again I figured on having a pretty uneventful week. Name a new coach, get our recruits lined up and on board with the new staff and carry on. Boy was I wrong. In this weeks 55 I have so much info I may not be able to put a lot of pictures in, or joke on Shawn during the monologue. (Sorry Pal) From Old friends to new ones and commitments given and taken away, this has been quite the week. So sit down and buckle up because this week’s episode is sure to take you on an emotional roller-coaster of a ride.
So once again, I share with you the 55 most ridiculous things I have heard, had to debate, or just thought about this past week. This is….55
1) Poona Ford de-committed
2) Chris Nelson de-committed
3) BOTH are now considering Texas
4) Thanks Charlie…..glad you are not cut like that
6) Sorry Charlie……
7) George Rushing de-committed from the Cards also as well as Isaiah Ford….hopefully both can find their way back home to the ‘Ville
8) It has been rumored that current Purdue U (PU for short) RB Dalyn Dawkins may be trying to find his way back home. It was a shame that Charlie didn’t recruit the in-state kids more than he did. More on this later…
9) He stated in an interview after being hired at Texas that he was glad to be in a state that has talent to recruit….or something along those lines. Classy move Chuck
10) Almost as classy as what he says during the following interview…..
12) Yep you heard him right, he was job hunting before our bowl game….SMH Read the rest of this entry
Are you serious, Tom Jurich?
I imagine his response goes somewhat along the lines of…. “As a motorcycle wreck, Daryl”.
Of course I was reluctant to the idea of bringing back a former coach of ours. I thought it was just a far fetched joking desire from a broken-hearted Cardnation. I figured we were ready to keep progressing forward with the train that Charlie Strong abruptly jumped off of. And yes, as @the_redbird7 termed it, I’m still ‘smad’ at Charlie for bailing. For the second time in the past year I feel like the girl that got dumped. Once, yes I actually got dumped by my boyfriend of four years and the second time by my football coach of four years. Almost immediately we saw Coach flaunt his new ‘Texas girlfriend’ on the internet. Didn’t you ever watch Spongebob, Charlie?!
This morning, 4* defensive tackle Poona Ford decommitted from the Louisville Cardinals. He is from Hilton Head, South Carolina and had been kind of wavering on his committment anyway. So when Charlie Strong took the Texas job, we knew it would be tough to keep Ford here. He will take official visits to Texas, Missouri, and Oregon now.
Later in the afternoon, Chris Nelson, who is also a defensive tackle, decommitted as well. He is from Lakeland, Florida and is rated a 3* on most sites.
Shake-ups happen all the time in recruiting classes when a new coach comes in, so you couldn’t expect to keep everybody. But with the staff that Bobby Petrino is putting together, our recruiting should be just fine.
This week on 55………….
Time to take a deep breath in and out. This week on 55 I had planned to do a Teddy’s top play version of 55 seeing that he declared and we thought for sure that he was the only guy we would have to mourn this week. Clearly we were wrong. It’s OK though, don’t fret, I have decided to dedicate half to Teddy and half to all the people we have said “He Gone” to this week. When I first started saying “He Gone” it was as a harmless little joke. It has since taken a bigger spotlight in the past 10 days and I will pay homage to that. So once again I share with you the 55 most ridiculous things I have heard, had to debate, or just thought about this past week.
1) Teddy Bridgewater declared for the NFL draft on Jan 1st. Teddy is projected to be the #1 pick in the NFL Draft and will be sorely missed
2) We thought we will be ok without Teddy, Coach and Will can get us through this rough time
5) Calvin Pryor declared for the NFL Draft last Monday. He is one of the hardest hitting guys I have ever seen here. He is projected to go late first, early second round in some publications. Congrats CP3
8) Damian Copeland bypassed his 6th year of eligibility to go pro on Jan 2. I do not see any projections with him in it, but he is a consummate pro talent-wise and I do expect him to be playing on Sundays.
11) Let’s go to basketball for our He Gone-a-thon for a moment. Chane Behanan was booted off the team for conduct detrimental to the team and is currently in Houston getting help and rehab from renowned basketball figure John Lucas. Chane, we at CardinalSportsZone.com as well as all of CardNation wish you the very best.