“ALL RISE!!! Court is now in session. The honorable Bucket Hat King LJ tha Fiasco presiding. Please be seated and come to order”

I believe that history will continue to repeat itself. I believe we are once again looking at Charlie Strong’s first season here at Louisville. I want you to take a look at the similarities between the 2010 and 2019 Louisville Cardinals.

  • Both teams are coming off one of the worst seasons in Louisville Football history.
  • The unbalanced depth chart is a glaring issue for both teams.
  • An energetic staff was brought in by the administration to boost morale and rebuild a once proud program.
  • A highly touted player finds his confidence with the new staff and begin to play the way we all expected as the season goes on.

That last bullet point was for Jawon Pass, the player he is reminding me of is Bilal Powell who struggled to find a rhythm in his first three seasons with Louisville but then exploded on the scene in Strong’s first year. He is still in the NFL and, to date, is Louisville’s last running back to rush for 1,000 yards. While it’s yet to be seen if the same will hold true for Pass, his performance on Monday night was encouraging, and we still see that he has potential to be the guy the fanbase salivated over when he verbally committed.

Welcome back to the courtroom, folks. Another season has come, and with it comes new optimism under a new staff. Gone are the days of dry answers, Harley Davidson jokes, neck brace pics, nepotism, passing the ball with under two minutes to play, and going for it on 4th and long from your own 30 yard line. We are now in a new day with a staff that has proven they can win on both sides of the ball.

As I have done in the past, I continue to incorporate legendary hip-hop images as my cover photo. Thanks to the creative genius of Kennisha Fisher from Once Upon A Flash Photography, we were able to recreate the iconic Vibe Magazine cover featuring Death Row records. Special thanks to my 8-year-old twin nephews Luke and Logan Ward, as well as their brother, my 6-year-old nephew Cornell “Cash” Ward, who looks extremely intimidating for a 1st grader. Thanks fellas. Unc loves ya. Thanks to my sister and bro-in-law Tasha and Cornell Ward Sr. for lending them out to me for the shoot.

The BHK has returned for another season of recaps to get you through until Louisville is once again competing in the ACC Atlantic. While Clemson appears to be light-years ahead of us, one thing is for certain, nothing lasts forever, and that includes losing.

Enough talking – to the notes!

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Any outbursts from the court and you will be removed by the week one bailiff Mark Blankenbaker (@UofLSheriff50). Mark has been known to call Girl Scouts “gutless pukes” because they were out of thin mints, so I can only imagine what he would say to you if you decide to pop off at the wrong time. He has also proven that regardless of the new staff, he still wants all the smoke regarding last season’s FSU outcome:

It’s too early in the season to piss this man off folks, just… just don’t do it. My anxiety is high, and his patience is low.

  • I would be doing a disservice to the fans if I didn’t start off by applauding the defense on Monday. Here is visual representation of my reaction to Ian Book breaking a 37-yard run on the first play from scrimmage
  • My mind instantly went to “awwww sh*t” when it didn’t take Notre Dame any time before they were doing an Irish jig in the endzone. How did the defense respond? They got off the field during 3rd downs. They pressured the QB, they ran to the ball, they were energetic. Last season, the Cards had eleven sacks total; on Monday they had three of them!! There were no big plays, no broken coverage, no running back breaking rushing records on the defense. It was disciplined football, and I am really happy for this group who spent last season being the railed on and mocked.

  • It’s amazing what a new staff and an actual QB coach can do for a guy’s confidence. No, Puma didn’t set the world on fire going 12-27 for 134 yards. But the only thing I wanted to see was him showing some improvement. After the Irish scored within only about 2 1/2 minutes of the game starting, Puma commanded a drive that resulted in his first of two rushing TD’s. He threw the ball away under pressure, he used his legs if the pocket broke down, and he played like he wasn’t afraid to make a mistake. I know folks will want to focus on the errant throws, and obviously the fumbles were gut-wrenching, but I believe we can all agree that this isn’t the same Puma we saw last season. I hope he can build on that. It also helps that you have a coach who doesn’t pull you after one series.
  • Seth Dawkins and Dez Fitzpatrick are far too talented to have only one catch each on Monday. Seth reeled in a one handed catch, and Dez didn’t record a receiving stat until later in the game. That can’t happen. Part of it is the guys need to get open, and the other part is the QB has to realize when they are. The Puma/Tutu connection was great and will score some points this season, but there were a few times Dez was wide open and Pass didn’t see him. There were numerous times that Puma only focused on Tutu and him alone. Frank Ponce will have to work with him to not only notice those guys, but also improve accuracy. There were too many passes thrown low or into coverage.
  • Well, how do you do Javian Hawkins!! I admit, I was a bit puzzled after seeing you were listed at RB1 on the depth chart over fan favorite Hassan Hall, but I will pull my bucket hat down lower and mind my business. Hawkins carried the ball 19 times for 122 yards. One of those should have been a touchdown but it appeared Javian tried to juke a defender at the end and got tripped up. We have heard about the speed of the Florida youngster for a while now, so I was really happy to see it on display. Due to the former staff’s incompetence he was hardly used last season and still has four years of eligibility remaining. Thanks Bob!
  • Hassan Hall rushed 11 times for 69 yards (nice), and he didn’t start. I assume we will see a heavy dose of Hawkins and Hall on Saturday against EKU. Louisville has the talent and speed to surprise some teams this year. But it’s up to the staff to keep that creativity flowing. The film is out on Louisville, and its only a matter of time before teams realize we probably won’t beat you through the air.
  • Marshon Ford played a hell of a game and proved why he deserved to be placed on scholarship. The former Ballard Bruin who now plays tight end for Louisville caught two passes for 43 yards. He was inches away from hauling in a potential game changing catch from Tutu Atwell. While Jordan Davis serves out his second game of a two game suspension, we should see a healthy dose of Ford this weekend.
  • The offensive line played extremely well, and the fact Louisville was able to gain 249 yards on the ground is proof of that. Also, Puma was sacked four times, but it seemed as if the Notre Dame defense was unable to get to him until the fourth quarter. Dwayne Ledford has done a great job coaching this bunch, and I know Dave Scull is still beaming about this group as he reads this.
  • Since last season, we have heard there were no talented players left on this roster and all that hope was lost. I saw enough in the 60 minutes of play to say that is complete BS. I hate moral victories – a loss is a loss – and Louisville has still not tasted victory in nearly a year, but with this staff, I am confident that it won’t be long until Louisville is back.
  • Being a black male, I know how it feels to be painted with a broad brush, so I try my best not to judge or do the same to anyone else. BUT……Notre Dame fans are exactly how I imagined they would be in person: arrogant, misinformed, privileged fans who are still eating off the glory days of their 1988 Championship season. I blame NBC and Digger Phelps. Notre Dame is the mediocre guy who hangs out with all the good looking, popular people, and the only reason he is allowed to do that is because his dad created dental floss or some sh*t, so they are billionaires. Notre Dame has done nothing in nearly 30 years other than be blown out in BCS bowl games and have us believing in a players fake girlfriend for the sake of a feel good story. May they lose every game for the rest of the season. (**Disclaimer, the views of LJ tha Fiasco do not reflect the views of The CrunchZone or the TCZ Podcast……..but they should)
  • If you’re a visiting fan at any stadium be it Cardinal Stadium or Lambeau Field, please take care of all personal hygiene issues before taking your seat. I sat sandwiched in between one fan who smelled like boiled skunk anus and another who’s breath could only be described as Orbit: Port-a-Potty. I literally kept looking for a port-a-potty each time he would talk. FFS get it together.
  • For as much hell as I have raised regarding the horrendous 3rd down music, I was not only pleased by the new selections but also the fact I couldn’t hear it due to the crowd noise. Fans were ready to explode.
  • I’m really trying to be positive today but this Deion Branch thing is really irking me. I don’t mind honoring former players and especially ones that were Super Bowl MVPs… but you mean to tell me there is not one Louisville shirt or jersey in the city that can fit Deion? A few years ago he showed up to a Louisville event wearing all purple during a blackout. Last night he had on black……… and gold…. and then he jumped on a box with a huge button (still need someone to explain that to me) while smoke billowed out of the bottom. Give the man some Louisville apparel, or don’t honor him at all. Love you, Deion, but I cannot sit back and watch you come out in a Cross Colours outfit and not say anything.

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At the time the court will now be open for questions and comments from the fanbase:

T Luck (@JukeJointTony): Fumbles… Do you think we can get a grip on them, (pun intended), or an Achilles heel for our beloved squad?

Securing the football is a team’s number one priority. You don’t want to turn the ball over to a good team, and Louisville did just that 3 times on Monday. I firmly believe that if we go into halftime tied or up 17-14 then things go differently in the second half. Turnovers were a huge issue last season, and I believe it will get fixed quickly especially this week in practice.

Eathy Clark (@eathyuofL): Not really a question but…. Damn is it fun to be a Louisville fan again!?

It was until Deion showed up dressed like he was on the set of Step by Step. I am joking; it felt good to be excited about this team and the season going forward.

Danimal (@Lord_Chewie): What was the third down music vs Notre Dame and what would you make it?

As I said above, the crowd noise made it difficult to tell what song(s) were being played. I did hear “Who Run It” by Three Six Mafia, and I am totally fine with that, as well as the others (whatever they were). As long as it wasn’t that damn piano riff.

Jimmy (@jrnall2) LJ, big fan. My friend @OhNoCoop has been in a bit of a funk ever since The Big Bang Theory got cancelled. He spends most of his days moping around, listening to Luke Bryan and drinking Zimas. Can you tell a joke to cheer him up?

UK football. That’s it… that’s the joke. Now go be great.

Tanya Cowan (@CardsBballfan): Is it too much to ask for a little patience as we work through early season mistakes and miscues? Time was not built in a day! Go Cards!

Neither was Rome, Tanya, but I will settle for time. Sorry, I had to get you for that typo. To answer your question, I think the majority of the fanbase understands what happened to this program and how it won’t be a quick fix.

8bit Bo Jackson (@8bitbojackson): What was the consensus on the ND crowd?

The ones in my section sucked, but there were some pleasant ND fans that I encountered throughout the day.

J’Aunna (@Jtrue_beauty): I have a few questions…One, how the hell did a fan manage to get a yorkie in the stadium?? And two, after the performance displayed in the opener, do you think we’ll be back bowling ?

I don’t have all the answers, but I really need to know how this was pulled off.

And don’t give me that service dog sh**; this dog is still using puppy pads. If we are allowing dogs in the stadium that are not servicing people, then I don’t want to hear any complaints when I show up with weed and bourbon this weekend for EKU. To answer your other question, I still need to see a few more games before I see this team winning 6 games. Ask me in October.

@VilleVsWorld: Am I crazy to think we could win the next 5? Confidence should only grow after the next two. I say we definitely come away with three of those but don’t see why it can’t be all of them.

EKU, WKU, FSU, BC and Wake. Louisville could either be 5-0 or 1-4 in that stretch. It’s not unheard of, but let’s just see how they do this weekend against EKU and on the road in Nashville and Tallahassee. We are razor thin at key positions, and I am afraid that an injury to a starter could derail a ton of things. It’s not that far-fetched, though, but I would be shocked if we did.

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Person(s) who earned a shot of top shelf liquor this week:

  • Jawon Pass
  • Javian Hawkins
  • Hassan Hall
  • Dayna Kinnard for being awarded a scholarship
  • 3rd down music
  • Dave Scull’s cooler and chicken eating skills
  • RRTG and Collision Course Crew – thanks so much for having us!
  • Chrissy Banta’s camera skills
  • Bryan Brown and Dwayne Ledford
  • Reggie Bonnafon making the 53-man roster
  • Hot showers after severe swamp a**

Person(s) who earned an 8 hour road trip in a car with no a/c or working windows with boiled sewer Notre Dame fan

  • Fumbles
  • Deion’s blackout shirt
  • Those individuals who didn’t give Deion a Louisville shirt prior to his appearance
  • Blackout games in September
  • Blackout games in general (Its time to retire this tradition for a few seasons)
  • Joey Galloway. I hope you heard the booing. That was me.
  • Ian Book hitting a cheerleader with a football
  • Fans leaving early with the game still in reach
  • Fans complaining about fans leaving early (people have kids and jobs, I understand)
  • The former staff

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And in closing, I am sticking to my 5-7 prediction, but as I said in the beginning of this week’s edition, I feel strongly that this team is going to overachieve just as the 2010 Cardinals did. I would not be surprised if they grind out 6 wins, just as I would not be shocked if they go 3-9.

I do feel confident that missing out of Brohm was a blessing in disguise. Just enjoy this team and their effort, and try to enjoy this season which is something none of us were able to do in 2018.

See you on Saturday.

Be cool in this hot city.

Court adjourned (bangs gavel)

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LJ Nesbitt

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