Short answer - Yes, Yes, No and Hope So.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The writings & musings of Jeff Nunn do not necessarily reflect those of CSZ.
On Saturday, we will honor our senior class that has won 32 games over a four-year span and will make its fourth-straight appearance in a bowl game. The game against Syracuse at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium is set for a 3:30 kick off and the seniors will be honored prior to the game. Louisville officially announced that a total of 14 seniors will walk on to their home field for the final time as a player. I hope that every fan gets in their seat early to show their appreciation for these student athletes. Also, during the game, former University of Louisville quarterback Stefan LeFors will become the 23rd football player to have his jersey honored.
The seniors as listed on the Louisville roster at GoCards.com include;
- Reggie Bonnafon
- Drew Bailey
- Trumaine Washington
- Ronald Walker
- Chucky Williams
- Zykiesis Cannon
- Malik Williams
- Jack Duane
- Stacy Thomas
- Jeremy Smith (I would assume he gets another year with a medical redshirt)
- Ryan Beltach
- Tyler Polston
- Charles Standberry
- De’Asian Richardson
- Trevon Young
- James Hearns
- Javonte Bagley
There will also be 2 players who, we can all assume, will play their last home game as a Cardinal on Saturday but will not be recognized as part of the ceremony. Junior’s Lamar Jackson and Jaire Alexander will both likely be entering the NFL draft after the conclusion of this season. Neither have officially stated their intentions as such but we are all intelligent people here so let’s just assume they are leaving but selfishly hope they return for their senior year. I won’t be mad either way. According to mock drafts, Lamar is listed as high as the 2nd pick (1st QB) and as low as mid second round (5th QB). Jaire is listed as high as 19th and as low as third round. Jaire’s father told the Courier-Journal earlier this year that if Jaire is likely to be a first or second round pick that he would enter the draft. If not, he will return for his senior season. Jaire has been injured most of the year but that hasn’t hampered his draft stock as he is still highly coveted by the NFL.
If you believe rumors or message boards then there is a slight chance that head coach Bobby Petrino could be taking his talents to Knoxville next year. Those rumors have been circulating since the loss to Boston College. It was rumored (but not confirmed) that he had visited the University of Tennessee during the week of that game. Then the team had a disappointing performance and grumblings of how the team had already quit on him were growing louder. Then the Florida State game happened. Watching Petrino celebrate with his team in the locker room sure didn’t look like a team who quit on their coach – or a coach who is leaving. Petrino’s Monday press conference, after the FSU victory, was one of the most upbeat and positive press conference’s he had ever given (or at least that I had attended). He sure didn’t sound like a coach who was getting ready to make a career move. Then when asked about the Tennessee job this past Monday, Petrino gave the typical coach speak answer that didn’t really leave anyone too confident about his return. Petrino said “I don’t really worry about it.” It’s also worth noting that when Louisville fired athletic director Tom Jurich, it cut Petrino’s buyout for taking another job in half, from $8.5 million to $4.25 million.
As for Mr Sirmon – His future employment had better not be left up to the fans or else he will be needing a realtor very soon (might I suggest Doug Budd with Red Edge Realty or Brian French with Keller Williams). I don’t believe that the much improved game against Virginia saved his job. However, 2 more performances like the last game, accompanied with 2 victories, might just be enough to keep Sirmon as a Louisville resident.
Louisville’s current overall defensive ranking is 69th (nice) out of 129 FBS schools. They also rank 62nd in sacks, 51st in tackles for loss, 88th in third down defensive conversion percentage and tied for 61st in interceptions. Those stats from NCAA.com are just not acceptable for a Louisville football team. Keep in mind those stats don’t tell the whole story because they include non power 5 games vs Kent State and Murray State.
Peter Sirmon is making $950,000 annually under a three-year contract. That’s $350,000 less than what Grantham made and Grantham had the defense in the top 20 about every year. I’m just saying (No, I don’t want him back but I want better out of our defense).
If I were a betting man, I would wager that Lamar and Jaire will be playing on Sunday’s next year and that Bobby will still be patrolling the sidelines at PJCS. I think Tennessee will go in a different direction and I truly believe that Petrino doesn’t want to leave Louisville because of his family. I also believe the only reason he even entertained the idea of leaving (if he did) is out of anger that Tom Jurich was fired. I truly believe he is a changed man and loves Louisville. Sirmon is the one that I wouldn’t place a wager on until I have more data. My hope is that he is relocated in the witness protection program but I would not be shocked if he remained in his current position.
Regardless of what we want or what will happen, I ask of you to please brave the elements and be in your seat early to show your appreciation to our seniors. They deserve it. Thank you!
As Always, GO CARDS!