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

Well, well, well. We are back in the courtroom for a third consecutive year and I am truly shocked that you all keep voting me in as king. I change my cover photo each year to keep things fresh. If you haven’t noticed, this year’s cover pays homage to the only Christopher we acknowledge…Wallace. For those of you completely lost on who that is Google the Notorious B.I.G and then while you’re at it run a search on the Ready to Die album cover.  Special thanks to my photographer and graphic designer Kennisha Fisher of Once Upon A Flash Photography. Look her up and tell her LJ sent you.  Thanks homey for helping me re-create an iconic album.

What a summer it was for the BHK. Let’s see here:
  • Got married to the love of my life.
  • Spent a week and a half in Jamaica trash talking UK and Clemson fans at the bar.
  • Spent the same week being called Rick Ross by the locals and believing it.
  • Had successful back surgery which sidelined me for a month.
  • Spent post-surgery watching each of the Harry Potter movies.
  • Ended the summer by trolling the entire state of Alabama.

As you can see, it was an eventful summer but alas the king has returned.  Back for another season of Cardinal football.  When we last held court (for football) I was roasting that team down the road into oblivion and having an awesome time doing it. Since then we have hired our third defensive coordinator in four years, bid farewell to Cort Dennison who took his talents to Oregon, and saw arguably the greatest Louisville football player of all time get drafted.  We’ve also locked down an athletic director and welcomed an awesome school president. Things are “trying” to get back to normal but you know how it goes. Things never really improve, they just suck less. People write books, sealed court documents are later revealed and you’re back at square one.

Nonetheless, its Cardinal football season and after one of the most brutal dead seasons I have ever endured we finally were able to see the 2018 Cardinals in action on Saturday night against the mighty Alabama Crimson Tide. I decided to stay home instead of heading to Orlando but luckily I had Twitter and bourbon to keep me company. Before we get to the court notes I should add that if you were one of the many Card fans trashing the team last night, just know it was noted. And since the court is now open for questioning for the first time ever, I intend to address it the only way I know how. By embarrassing you.

To the notes:

Any outbursts and you will be removed by the bailiff Jill Blair (@jillybgocards).  Jill, wife of fellow Card fam Jimmy Blair was diagnosed with a brain tumor back in July and after ten grueling days in the hospital she walked out and has been recovering every day, how awesome is that?  I am glad that the tumor was not malignant and that Jill was blessed enough to walk out of the hospital. A lot of us know someone who was not as lucky.  Jimmy is a true friend to the throne and hopefully there won’t be any more health scares for the Blair’s any time soon. You gotta leave Andrea Adelson alone Jimmy, she is a treasure. Don’t make me tell you again.  Besides, we need both of you here for pics like this:


  • Let me first start with the positive before I go all 2017 Boston College/Wake Forest game on you. Married BHK is trying to work on his patience rather than blow a gasket early and then have to edit this to take out all the profanity.  Puma looked good, and for what its worth he looked way better than I thought especially against an opponent like Alabama. At times I marveled at how poised he was with pressure in his face. Granted some of his throws were a tad off or low and he made some mental errors, I think the future at QB for Pass is bright. Plus, dude is a load to bring down.  My favorite moment Saturday was when he dropped perfect pass in the only spot Trey Smith can get it (Ron Howard voice…..he didn’t get it). With more games and more reps, the timing will come.


  • The offensive line played very well.  Bama didn’t record their first sack until midway through the 3rd quarter and although their defensive line got some pressure Puma was elusive at times. Now the 3rd and 4th quarter were a different story as the line seemed to  wear down as the game went on.  But there was a clear difference between this line and the ones we have seen in the Bobby 2.0 era.  Mike Summers has proven to be the offensive line whisperer we all knew he was. Just gotta work with Cole Bentley on getting those snaps up higher.  Cole is our center and I have faith in him but it was very weird seeing him snap the football at Puma’s shins all night. He skipped more than a few which was odd but I am sure that can and will be corrected.


  • Welcome back pass rush!! Have not seen you since (checks calendar and Youtube)…..the FSU game in 2016.  I wish I was exaggerating.  I saw defensive pressure, I saw blitzing, I saw an opposing QB not having all damn day in the pocket.  That was improvement folks, you can bash the defensive performance all you want but to say the defense didn’t show any improvement would be a lie.


  • Our DB’s looked awful vs. Alabama. Countless plays they were either beat one on one or lost in coverage. Jaire is in Green Bay and last I checked he ain’t walking out of that locker room. The safety play was equally terrible. If Alabama’s Jeudy can burn the Cards I can only imagine what may happen against another group of talented wide receivers. This is a problem and has been for the past few seasons.


  • Question for the coaching staff, how hard is it to count player personnel on the field?  One penalty for substitution infraction is okay, it happens. Two penalties for it is a head scratcher but not unheard of. Three penalties are “what the hell is going on?” worthy. But four penalties for having 12 friggin guys on the field is downright “what the f*** is the coaching staff getting paid for????” territory.  I mean for Christ sake do we not have a guy who is up in the booth looking at field? It happened on both offense and defense. Is the ghost of Pete Sirmon still haunting the Schnellenberger Complex. I need answers damn it, I cannot….(remembers vow taken to not go ape**** in Week 1 post)……….yeah, hope the coaches get it fixed. Louisville was flagged 10 times for 93 yards and while the refs missed a few pass interference calls it was still a evenly called game. By evenly I mean the refs sucked for both teams. For the record, that Dorian Etheridge personal foul had to be one of the worse since James Burgess was tossed in the bowl game a few years ago.


  • Welcome back Micky Crum.  He caught three passes for 24 yards which is not a lot but the fanbase as a whole has patiently waited for the return of Baby Shockey.  Crum has dealt with injuries and inconsistent play so it was great to see him get the start.  The tight end group was a bright spot last night as Kemari Averett caught both touchdowns.


  • Running game was…….not good.  Our leading rusher was Trey Smith who earned the start. He finished with 11 yards.  Dae Williams and Colin Wilson are both healthy but could only get 6 yards each. True freshman got Hassan Hall some run late and looked good on kick returns.  I don’t know how much of that was Bama’s defensive line but Louisville only ran 26 times for the entire game. Once the rout was on, it became apparent that Louisville had to start throwing the ball around.  If this continues against Indiana State and WKU then the problem is bigger than we think. Holding a team to 16 yards total rushing only happens when your playing Madden on rookie.


  • Brian VanGorder has a lot of talent on defense and for a moment it looked like he was hell bent on playing all of it.  That defensive took a major hit once Jon Greenard left with an apparent wrist injury. He returned with what appeared to be a cast on his right arm. Now we know the extent of that injury. Once he left it was apparent the defense was not the same. Get well soon Jon, I am still working on getting “Atomic Dog” played at games. Speaking of VanGorder he is too busy to get a haircut and care what you think about it. Besides, this guy is a meme machine that I fully plan to take advantage of this season:

I love it.  Every picture looks like BVG is yelling at a girl across the bar while a sh*tty Aerosmith cover band plays in the background.  In the last pic it looks like CJ Avery told him bangs were only meant for teenage girls and Ole Miss frat boys.



  • All summer we have heard about how complex BVG’s schemes are and how at times it confuses players. There were a few times I heard that sentiment in my head as I watch Bama complete 3rd and long plays as well as deep pass plays. Jerry Jeudy is still scoring at will.  While the defense did look improved, too many times there were flashes of last year’s issues that plagued the Cards.  Arm tackling reared its ugly head. undisciplined football was also present.  I, along with the fanbase will be looking for improvement over the next two weeks in games the Cards should be favored to win.


  • We need more Tutu Atwell and Hassan Hall. I saw the speed the coaches raved about but of course we need more. We need more everything damn it.


  • Shout out to DeVante Peete for making his return from injury on Saturday.


  • Thanks to the always resourceful Kelly Dickey, here is all the true -OR- redshirt freshman that saw game action on Saturday night:


  • I have spent all hours trying to figure out how to address the wide receiver play last night.  Before I start, I am not going to spend this post bashing Dez and others for being confident. I will never bash my team for believing or having confidence in each other.  Bama does not need more praise heaped on their names so kudos for the boys for not bowing down.  But I really expected more than this:


We cannot win with Jaylen Smith catching one damn pass for the game. The bulk of Seth’s yards came when Alabama blitzed and he broke one down the sideline. Dez had a three catches and was doubled for most of the game.  I hate it for him mostly because his media day comments were blown way outta proportion.  He didn’t provide any bullentin board material yet his comments were made out to be trash talk.  His comments were mistaken for cockiness rather than confidence. In the end, people want you to kiss ass rather than believe you can do something. I know our receivers are better and they will prove that as the season goes on.


  • This is exactly why ESPN’s numbers are in the toilet and I have switched to watching Undisputed:

Add that to the list of things Louisville players can’t do.  They are not allowed to have confidence and not allowed to come back and support their former teammates. Yet Stephen A. is still allowed to yell and scream like an idiot each day and rock a hairline that looks worse than Eddie Winslow’s in season one of Family Matters. (google it, it was horrendous).


Alrighty folks. Normally I bang my gavel and we all go home but the BHK is working on patience as well as civility this year. That being said, I decided it does me no good to be king if I never let the people speak. You have questions, I have answers.  For the first time ever, the court is open for questioning:


Dr. Cardinal (@DrColby):  How about that Brooklyn Rivers??

Any body who is responsible for beating that team down the road has my approval. Kudos to her and the Louisville Women’s Soccer team.


Pro V Doc (@TMan_in_TN) : Will UofL fans ever accept the possibility that the football team may never be a contender for a national championship and be happy with 7-9 wins a year and a decent bowl game?

No. Louisville fans will always expect better because we are in a better position. 7-9 wins was great in C-USA. 8-10 wins was awesome in the Big East and American. But now you are in a historic conference and its 10 wins or more. Decent bowls don’t grow fanbases, NY6 bowls and the CFP do.  We are not going to settle for “occasional” wins over Florida State and “almost” beating Clemson.  If you’re not trying to win a championship in any sport, then what is your motivation? Bottom line, if Louisville wants to get better recruits they have to start consistently winning 10 or more games.


The Latch Key Kid (@Tony_It_Me) : How can three (3) different defensive coordinators not teach wrapping up when tackling?

Christ almighty I was wondering the same thing. I remember when Strong and Bedford got here and they had to literally start from scratch. They spent a great deal of time teaching tackling techniques and angles.  Grantham stepped in and it has dwindled from there. Peter Sirmon only taught the defense how to get embarrassed. I will say this VanGorder’s defense in the Bama game did gang tackle and for the most part wrapped up early in the game. That changed however in the second half, maybe earlier. Louisville was rotating a ton of defensive guys in, should never have missed tackles.


@ShawnShawn asks: Will Bobby be back next season?

Absolutely unless he takes another job or goes 0-12 this year. Neither are happening. Folks, Bobby is not getting fired this season. We lost to the #1 team in the nation and if you guys have paid attention Bama has made better teams than Louisville look the same way.

Here’s every opener in the Saban era:

  • 2007: Win 52-6 vs. Western Carolina
  • 2008: Win 34-10 vs. No. 9 Clemson*
  • 2009: Win 34-24 vs. No. 7 Virginia Tech*
  • 2010: Win 48-3 vs. San Jose State
  • 2011: Win 48-7 vs. Kent State
  • 2012: Win 41-14 vs. No. 8 Michigan*
  • 2013: Win 35-10 vs. Virginia Tech*
  • 2014: Win 33-23 vs. West Virginia*
  • 2015: Win 35-17 vs. No. 20 Wisconsin*
  • 2016: Win 52-6 vs. No. 20 USC*
  • 2017: Win 24-7 vs. No. 3 Florida State*

As I said, better teams with more tradition than Louisville have got the Bama treatment. We are not the first and wont be the last.  Consider the source of this ass whoopin. Its definitely not excusable but I think our fans act like we lost to Bayside High or something.


@Teresa_Crosby asks: Why don’t we kick the ball out of the end zone on kickoffs?

Bobby has gone on record as to say he likes kicking it to the opposing team and having his team get a stop on the 20 or 25 yard line. Yeah, makes no sense to me either. Go across the street, talk to Ken Lolla and get a friggin guy who can boom that joker into the stands.


@CharronElliott1: What does the BHK think about last night’s beat-down as well as these past four years w/ Petrino back at UofL?

I think it was expected that we would lose but I never thought we would get rolled by 37 points. I think the offense was prepared but the defense showed the effects of learning three different defensive schemes in four years. I think at times our fanbase expects to compete on a championship level but forgets that we are not Clemson, or Ohio State, or Georgia, or Oklahoma. I think our fanbase forgets that football tradition is created over time and not given.  I think our fanbase has completely forgotten that we lost 9 players on defense and a Heisman QB along with other key players. I think Bobby 2.0 would be great….if we still played in C-USA. I think that Louisville made the right hire but we didn’t consider the conference change.  I think fans want 41-9 Bobby but are not patient enough this time around and rightfully so. I think Bobby hiring family over more qualified coaches was a mistake and it shows on the field at times especially against better competition. I think Louisville players shouldn’t tweet because it has proven not to be wise. I think Bobby’s safe for now but with the talent coming in next year in the 2019 class and with all that we have coming back next year (hopefully) if Bobby struggles to win that can very well change. I think in order to win at UofL Bobby has to make some tough changes to his staff and the way he recruits.  I think until that happens, we will continue to have this question be raised. I think my notion of coaching up talent no longer works, you have to recruit 4* and 5* players if you want to compete in the ACC.

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

Have a seat and enjoy this shot Puma, Mike Summers, and the rest of the offensive line.  Despite what others may say, I was truly impressed by what I saw. Puma never panicked, the offensive line blocked well for the majority of the game, and Puma made some nice throws.  I have seen Bama’s defense make better lines look like a JV squad.   Enjoy your shot, you earned it!.


Person(s) who earned a can of room temperature Natty Light:

Every fan who wrote this team off after one game last night.  Out of respect to The CrunchZone’s owner Mark Blankenbaker I will omit names but trust and believe screen shots last forever.  You guys are the worst type of fans a team can ever have.  My beef with some Louisville fans is that you guys don’t keep it consistent.  One moment it’s Go Cards, the next it fire everyone and start over. Never mind the recruits, or the team who came here to play for Bobby.  You want Brohm huh?  Yeah, he is 0-1 too and lost to Northwestern who is not terrible but nowhere near a powerhouse program. Oh and guess what, Brohm lost to Bama while at WKU. I could be wrong but I think he lost twice.  Brohm has the same amount of marquee wins as Bobby does. Matter of fact Bobby has one (FSU) so there ya go.  If everyone and everything sucks as some of you put it, then why not ditch the program and go be a bandwagon fan elsewhere? You’re taking up a seat in our stadium where true UofL fans reside.  Be mad at the coaches, be upset with Bobby, scream for him to get fired. But it won’t matter who UofL brings in, building a program takes time and patience. A lot of you ditched after one game, we could bring in Belichick and people would bail after a loss. Keep that same energy is all I ask.


And in closing I would like to say it feels great to be back. I enjoy interacting with you each year and it gets better and better.    I am excited despite getting our brains kicked in on Saturday.  I am concerned like the rest of you but I need to see at least 6 games before freaking out.

In addition to that, I would like to announce that the TCZ crew and FDKY BBQ  will be joining the good folks over at Red Rage Tailgate for a massive tailgate during the Indiana State game this weekend. We will be set up in the parking lot at Old Cardinal Stadium beginning at 3pm or 3:30pm. Come on over and meet the crew!  FDKY BBQ will have some food and other sides for ya. If you are feeling generous, simply toss some money in the fireman’s boot that will be set up on the table. All proceeds go towards Crusade for Children.  Red Rage ALWAYS does so much for the fanbase and you can donate some money to them to help with food and drink cost. Donations are not mandatory but you can help a worthy cause either way.

Now if you will excuse me, I have to go find and bait the four Indiana State Sycamore fans somehow.  If we don’t put 50 or more on Indiana State I would be surprised. It’s a Saturday night game in our newly expanded stadium. Show up, drink responsibly, enjoy the ass kicking.

Be cool in this hot city.

Court adjourned (bangs gavel)


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LJ Nesbitt

The BHK. Writer for thecrunchzone.com , 1/2 of the TCZ Podcast. Surviving in the great city of Louisville, in the not so great state of KY. Loui$ville KY thecrunchzone.com

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