All this week, we will be bringing you exclusive write-ups from former UofL football players about the rivalry with UK. We have asked them just their general thoughts about the rivalry, and some mention their best and worst memories. We hope you enjoy these! Go Cards!
Kicking it off this week: Art Carmody!
Kicker: 2004-2007 (Shreveport, LA)
From 2003 to 2006 the goals were the same, to win a conference championship, get to a big time bowl game, but we knew that the start to those goals was by beating the smurfs. It was the first game of the season. It was the focus all summer, to start off on the right track and keep the Governor’s Cup where it belongs. The clock in the weight room would have a count down of hours, minutes, and seconds until we kicked off against Kentucky. It was all anyone talked about. Sure, West Virginia, Cincinnati, and Rutgers would be down the road and stand between us and the BCS, but our first test was Kentucky. In 2003 it was the start of the Bobby Petrino era, to make a statement that we would be keeping the Cup for a few years. In 2004 the win was the start of a Top 10 season, in 2005 it was the start of a getting to a top-tier bowl game, in 2006 it was the start of an Orange Bowl victory. The Kentucky players and coaches would try to downplay it, that it was just another game, that their SEC schedule was more important. We knew though, that if they were to beat us, it would make their season. They could go 1-11, but if that one win was against us than it was a successful year, they would get to keep the Governor’s Cup for a year, it would be something to put on a billboard. That is why the current players battle the heat in the summer, challenging each other, making each link of the team better. Even in 2010 there was a silver lining to the loss at home, something the scoreboard would never tell you. That Kentucky team was supposed to be significantly better than the one the Cards would be putting out on the field, the result of three terrible years of recruiting and inefficiency. The experts didn’t think that it would be that close. The Cardinals stayed in it most of the game, had their opportunities to pull out the win, but even in a defeat Coach Strong and company showed the fans that things were going to be better. That first game was the start of something special, something we wouldn’t necessarily see until the end of the year and through the 2011 season.
That is why September 2nd brings so much excitement. It is the start of a new college football season, the culmination of hours upon hours of tireless work, and the start of something special. There hasn’t been this kind of excitement to the Louisville football season in quite some time. The Governor’s Cup is back where it belongs, and as long as Charlie Strong has a say it is not going anywhere anytime soon.
Here a few of my favorite and not so favorite memories from Kentucky week.
1. Elvis Dumervil introducing himself to the nation with six sacks in 2005, and Teddy Bridgewater introducing himself to Cardinal nation last season.
2. Kerry Rhodes getting two interceptions and running one back 56 yards for a TD in 2004
3. Petrino having the offense take a knee in 2004 and then taunting UK.
4. Spending every minute of spring practice and summer workouts getting prepared to beat UK and keep the Governor’s Cup.
5. The 2006 beat down (Michael Bush) and that Louisville fan in the stands with the Kentucky shirt on and sign that said “We’re Gonna Lose Big!”
6. Seeing Charlie Strong jumping up and down after the incomplete Kentucky pass last season.
And now a few of the bad.
1. The Fight Song (Kragthorpe blasted this on loud speakers during the entire week we played them in 2007 to simulate crowd noise. We still lost.)
2. Speaking of 2007 leaving Steve Johnson wide open. This was one of the few times that I saw a play developing and was just hoping that Andre Woodson would not see him.
3. In 2005 when I shanked a 21 yard field goal right before halftime wide right. I had to deal with that one for two weeks before we played Oregon State. Coach Petrino made my two weeks of practice miserable. We started every field goal period with the ball on the right hash, four yard line. Coach Petrino “politely” told me I would never miss a f*&%ing field goal from that spot ever again.
4. Their billboards. I would love to sit in their marketing meetings to see all of the other ideas that just were not as good as the top choice.
5. 2006. 11:27, 3rd Quarter.
6. Pryor running for a touchdown in 2008.