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

You best start believing in a losing season…….you’re in one!!!

I’ve attended a lot of football games over the years, and I keep each ticket stub as a souvenir.  It was something I started back in college and it has continued ever since.  I have witnessed seasons that ended with BCS wins. I have sat through seasons that ended with embarrassing 49 point losses to Rutgers.  I was at the last game at Old Cardinal Stadium to see Louisville blow a huge lead and finish the season 1-10.  Lamar’s ill-fated fumble happened right in front of my section, as did Nyquan Murray’s game winning touchdown from last week. I say all that to say this….I have never seen a Louisville team embarrassed at home like they were on Friday night.

It’s not like Georgia Tech had a dominant defense, or a crazy creative playbook.  The Yellow Jackets didn’t have a dominant Heisman contender on offense.  GT had not won an ACC road game in 3 years.  Similar to Louisville, they had not beaten one meaningful opponent all year. The ran left, ran right, ran up the middle, then repeated those three plays. They ran the same three plays all night and passed the ball TWICE.  They ran the same predictable offense so much the fans began calling the play before the ball was snapped.  And yet, Brian VanGorder’s Louisville defense couldn’t stop it. Not one time.  The only time G-Tech’s offense was stopped was when the game ended.  No punts,  12 passing yards, and 542 rushing yards for your trouble.

Those are the types of numbers that cause AD’s to make a decision on coaching futures. This game will surely cost Louisville thousands of fans for the final 3 home games. And it will most definitely cost Louisville some donor support if it continues.

Let’s get to the notes in what has been one of the darkest days in Louisville football since Rutgers hung 63 on us back in 2008.


Any outbursts and you will be removed from the courtroom by the fans who stayed the entire game on Friday.  There is something to be said about a group of people who have already paid for a babysitter to stay at a blowout game.  When you’ve decided to ride out a humiliating loss rather than go pick up your kids, you are the real MVP.

  • Let’s start with the good. Puma Pass played a good game finishing 23-35 for 299 yards and 2 touchdowns.  He didn’t commit any turnovers and seemed to find open receivers all night, except the times where he was running for his life which seemed to me like every single snap.  He still has happy feet in the pocket but he seems to be improving some each week.  He also threw a ball away rather than take a sack so that alone is praise worthy.  I hope Puma continues to get better. Clearly Nick Petrino’s experience as a high school quarterback and grad assistant before becoming a QB coach is starting to pay off in the sixth game of the season.
  • Once again, our offensive genius head coach couldn’t decide on a running back and started Trey Smith after Hassan Hall had a great game the previous week.  Smith rushed 5 times for 32 yards and a score while Hassan Hall finished with 5 rushes for 23 yards.  Those are the types of numbers that the 3rd string running back puts up in the 4th quarter of a blowout, not an entire game.  I really like running backs coach Kolby Smith but its hard to ignore there has not been a dominant running back since Brandon Radcliff graduated.  Part of that is injuries, part of that is the offensive genius’s play calling, a lot of that is offensive line play.  4 of 5 backs have fumbled in 6 games. And again……still searching for the speed in speed city.
  • The wide receiving corps had an eventful night lead by true frosh Tutu Atwell who was finally allowed to be a part of the offense.  Tutu finished with 4 receptions for 79 yards and two touchdowns.  Dez 6-Patrick made another appearance after scoring on a 42 yard touchdown.  Jaylen Smith (3 catches for 42 yards) Seth Dawkins (2 catches for 21 yards) and Devante Peete (2 catches for 45 yards) were all effective. It’s just too bad the defense couldn’t stop Tech’s offense long enough for any of this to make a difference.  Lonnie Galloway’s group had struggled with drops and inconsistent play previously but for this game (and vs. Florida State) they looked like the most polished group on the field…er….besides G-Tech’s offense.
  • There is no more good to talk about. Let’s get to the dismal part of the notes.  What in the hell has happened to the offensive line?  I nicknamed Mike Summers the offensive line whisperer for his amazing work on offensive lines in his career. But I saw Louisville’s line get destroyed countless times throughout the game. Look at this:



This does not resemble an offensive line with veteran leadership.  It resembled at times a monkey making sweet, passionate love to a football.  I am not even sure Tech blitzed that much during the game, their defensive line was able to do what they wanted when they wanted. I vividly remember screaming for someone, anyone to block.  Perhaps the offensive line whisperer has lost his voice and mojo.  Mekhi Becton and Lukayus McNeil play well together but we are 6 games in and the rest of the line continues to be a question mark.  It feels that the staff is still  looking for the right combination to play.  I expect indecisiveness from my 5-year old nephew when I take him to buy a toy, but not from coaches who make hundreds of thousands to put the right group on the field.

  • We heard all summer that Brian VanGorder would best prepare the Louisville defense for the triple option attack that G-Tech was sure to bring.  We heard a bunch of damn lies.


The only thing VanGorder prepared us for was a Friday night/Saturday morning roast session by the hands of Delta airlines and the G-Tech twitter account.   VanGorder makes…..excuse me….steals nearly a million dollars to coach the Louisville defense.  For the defense that we saw on Friday night we shouldn’t even pay VanGorder in gum.  I wouldn’t pay him in Kohl’s cash after that poor showing.   The triple option is not easy to defend, I am not saying that it is. What I am saying is,  when a team runs 4 plays the entire night and not once could you stop it, that says a lot about your ability as a coach and/or make an adjustment.  This ain’t Notre Dame Brian.  Just because you had success a few years ago doesn’t mean you will be able to duplicate it.  What I saw was a lazy game plan and absolutely NO adjustments whatsoever.  It was like the Xbox controller for Louisville died each time they were on defense.  And it wasn’t that Tech was picking up 3 yards each run. Oh no,  they were picking up chunks of yards on the ground on 1st and 2nd down.  As a matter of fact,  they were only in 3rd down situations 7 times on Friday….they converted 6 of them.  Tobias Oliver averaged 12.9 yards per carry on only 8 attempts. He finished with 103 yards and 2 scores.

Jordan Mason averaged 6.0 yards on the ground and finished with 78 yards and a score.  Taquan Marshall, a former running back and converted QB, finished with 175 on 23 attempts.  3 guys for Tech had two scores a piece.  To hell with watching film and trying to get better.  VanGorder should probably start watching the job market to see if there will be any defensive analyst jobs opening soon. Louisville has now been blown out for the third time this season and we are in the first week of October.  But hey, no worries. We’re gonna practice hard and get better right Bobby?

  • Paul Johnson is my type of a-hole.  He used a past grudge as motivation for this ass kicking.  When a team runs the ball 65 times and does not let up even when the game is out of reach you know you have pissed some folks off.  Forget bringing Johnson’s offense into the 21st century. Judging by VanGorder’s facial hair and inability to have a decent defense since Bush’s first term I would say he is the one that needs to come into this century.


  • I knew we were in for a long night when the team ran out of the tunnel.  There was no energy, no eagerness. Just a slow brisk jog out of the tunnel to an applause.  I thought I read too much into it but then the game started.
  • You know what sucks the most? We have waited and waited to have a home slate like this for years.  4 games in, no noon kickoffs yet, great times for tailgating, perfect weather for the past three home games, getting FSU in a down year.  And we are wasting all of it.
  • What I am about to type is all speculation on my part. These are not facts by a long shot. This is clearly me being hypothetical and thinking out loud.  Here goes:   We are about to lose a ton of players due to transfer.  When you’re losing like this, you have to think some guys are going to start looking elsewhere.  I think of guys like Corey Reed and Justin Marshall who were two highly recruited wide receivers that cannot even get on the field this season.  I think of Colin Wilson who was a guy we begged to come here a year ago and now we barely see him get more than two carries.  I think of  Chris Taylor-Yamanoha who was a highly regarded wide receiver out of California who can only see the field on special teams.  I think of Keion Wakefield, the local kid who chose to stay home to play for the Cards.  Josh Johnson is still recovering from injury but if he had been 100% healthy there is no guarantee the offensive genius that is our head coach would even find him, he is just now remembering that Dez Fitzpatrick is still on the team.  All this talent on the offensive side of the ball, way too much talent to be sitting at 2-4.   I couldn’t imagine an offensive commit sitting at home watching Louisville thinking “yeah, I want to play in that offense….they use 10 different running backs and only throw to one receiver the entire game”.
  • Lets continue with the harsh reality. Your defensive line is having to rely on JUCO’s each year to survive since our defensive line coach can’t seem to recruit any.  We host recruiting weekends only to get embarrassed in front of potential commits.  Our recruiting class is currently ranked 12th out of 14 teams in the ACC.  We currently have the 58th best recruiting class in the nation, down 27 spots from last season. Louisville had finished top 40 in the nation the previous three seasons.   There are no more “recruit 2 and 3 stars and coach them up”  statements to be made.  We are coaching our 3 and 4 star talent down to the point that they are glorified walk-on’s.  That may be a bit harsh but there is nothing to sugar coat these days.  May not have been the best idea to put your son as the QB coach when he has not played competitive football since starring at Trinity.  Take a look at this nugget from the uoflsports.com website:

Prior to joining the Louisville coaching staff, Petrino was a student assistant at Western Kentucky during the 2013 season, where he worked alongside the quarterback coach and the offensive staff.  Petrino began his collegiate coaching career as a student coach at the Arkansas in 2010-assisting with the development of the quarterbacks as the Razorbacks finished 11-2 overall including a win in the 2011 Cotton Bowl.

So, you start as an assistant to the QB coach and staff and then five years later you’re the quarterback coach at the University of Louisville.  Five full years of being an assistant to an assistant and now you’re in charge of QB development?  We are getting Michael Scott results from our quarterbacks because we have the assistant to the regional manager Dwight Schrute-Petrino running the show…..

  • Puma never sets his feet when he throws. It’s like watching a guy play Dance Dance  Revolution when he is in the pocket. Surely our offensive genius of a coach along with his “qualified” QB coach sees this in the film study.  I could be sitting in the last row of the flight deck and see it.  Stealing money never looked so easy.

Bobby 2.NO,  you can’t say this when you hire your third defensive coordinator in 4 years:

“With over 30 years of coaching experience, Brian has coordinated defenses in the National Football League, and at the highest level in college football. He’s an outstanding teacher, a great communicator, and has displayed the ability to develop players at every level.

And then say this after the worst loss in Cardinal Stadium history:

“We made every call we had (defensively)….we emptied everything in the game plan. GT didn’t do anything offensively that we didn’t prepare for. That is just what they do

NO!!! That is not the answer you give when you are stealing 3.9 million a year from the university.  That is not the answer you give when you sign a guy who was not coaching anywhere to a contract worth nearly a million dollars. That is the excuse you give after you get your ass kicked in Madden.  Only thing is, there is no reset button in real life.  No worries though, just keep practicing and getting better right coach?

  • Never a good sign when Khane Pass and Dee Smith are leading the team in tackles each game. They play safety if you’re wondering why that is bad.


And now we open the court for questioning.  I will also allow the people to make personal statements if they do not have questions:

Dan (@Lord_Chewie): Seriously, We never looked that bad under HWSNBN. Young teams can force a good team to punt at least once. We can not let the coaching staff blame this on the kids they recruited. This is on them. If we have to keep Bobby, he needs a whole new staff.

I agree. We did however look this bad when HWSNBN was here. See the Rutgers game in 2008. 63-14 bro,  49-0 at halftime.   A full 10 years later and we are right back where we started.

ChadinHaddonfield (@Chadinthe502): Our third down music should be the theme from Titanic.

Well, one thing is for sure. We have been taking on water since the Houston game in 2016.  The iceberg has long torn holes in this ship. We are literally the guy hanging on to the back of the boat staring at Jack and Rose as the ship slowly sinks.

Go Cards (@JTWard831):  If Bobby keeps his job, how many assistants does he have to fire? I’m thinking Kolby Smith, Nick Petrino, Secondary coach at least.

If I were Bobby 2.NO I fire my QB, WR, and Secondary coach first and foremost.  I look into my offensive line coach and see where the issue is.   I fire the defensive line coach off the fact that against the worst offensive lines (FSU) they still cannot produce a sack.  Family or not, that can’t happen.   But, I am not Bobby and in reality NO ONE wants to work for him.  Bobby is filling his staff with family because there is no other option. If we want better assistant coaching we have to hope they can somehow marry into the Petrino family.

Durag Jesus (FlourishorDie): Can we get some better WiFi in the Stadium?!

My lord, I hope so. I can’t get any reception on Denny Crum overpass let alone the stadium. Though I was able to tweet and text freely in the 3rd quarter once the crowd started leaving in droves.

Tammaland (@TheTammaland):  I am sad LJ.

Teflon Tammy is my agent and never gets sad.  This is a a-hole of a season.

Shawn Williams (@Coach_SWilliams):  Why did our DC switch to the 3-3 stack after not stopping the run with a four front?

Because when you get to go from being an unemployed coach to having a contract paying you nearly a million and when there is no other defensive coordinators that are willing to work for your boss you can do whatever the hell you want.

MarriedOnlineMan (@MadOnline247):  Where is the bourbon?

It’s on deck fam. I got a few bottles that are dying to be cracked open.

runteachdat (@RPack1): Has there been another expansion of a stadium that led to a dud of a season like this one? 

Pack-man, my friend, the only other dud of a season that I can think of is Levi’s stadium, home of the 49ers. I don’t think San Fran has had a winning season since it opened.  The fact that I have been able to see the Adidas logo in the Three Stripe Zone during each home game this year is an issue. They expanded the stadium they had trouble filling when it was 55,000.  Only issue is they didn’t upgrade the coaching.

Halloweenhead 8BBJ (@8bitbojackson):  Will Puma ever hit a guy in stride?

He hit Tutu Atwell on a beautiful touchdown pass in the first half.  He is starting to look better each week but the defenses he will soon face will get better.  My issue with Puma other than his happy feet and staring down receivers is his timing. He either throws the ball behind the receiver or 5 feet in front of him. But hey, what else would you expect from a guy who is coached by Dwight Schrute.

Bond (@pbond1001): Are we being punked??????

I think you meant pimped.

Kyle #BeatBC (@UofLfan78): Looking at remaining games, Wake is most winnable game left, but they could very easily lose them all at this rate. I’m at a loss for what has happened.

I appreciate the optimism but where are you seeing a winnable game? There are no more. We struggled through both of them.  You barely won a winnable game against WKU that without a blocked field goal and a missed field goal you lose. You had a winnable game against FSU and your coach decided to muck that up.  You had a winnable game against G-Tech and your defensive coordinator lost all ability to stop 3 plays.  Louisville is staring squarely at 2-10 bro. I really hope I am wrong, I truly do. But I have seen nothing to suggest otherwise.

Sam Kustes (@SK_L1C4): So……how’s life?

Good. Marriage is awesome so far, my surgically repaired back is feeling better and I am finally able to resume lifting weights without pain.  Work is work,  I am thankful for my job though.  My family is doing well, no issues there so thank God for that.   My dog is a pain at times but I would lose it if we lost him.  Louisville basketball is making me forget all about the last 3 years and I think I can finally mention the UVA buzzer beater loss without vomiting.  Things are trending up.

Justin Soforo (@JustinSoforo): This is the game that switched my fan attitude from rage to apathy. I never thought I’d say this in my lifetime, but my remaining football weekends this season are only for watching Syracuse. It’s like that.

I was wrong…….this is Defcon 1.


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

Tutu Atwell. We finally got to see you do what we knew you could. Just too bad it happened in the one of the worst losses in Louisville football history. Looks like you and Puma are developing some chemistry on the field and hopefully that continues.  Also, any fans that stayed seated till the end of the game, I applaud you for doing what thousands of us couldn’t.


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

Brian VanGorder, this sh*tty beer is for you.  I shouldn’t have to explain why.   Bobby 2.NO , take one as well. If this is truly you tanking for 14 million then take the entire case and save me the keystrokes.  Mike Summers, love ya coach, but Puma is still running for his life as I type this, have a warm one on me.



In closing, the Louisville Football games are now a mere outing rather than a contest. This isn’t fun, this is now something for fans to do before it gets cold outside. This is abysmal and its something that the fans have had to go through when we were sure better days were ahead.  Two seasons ago we were #3 in the nation.  Now were not even #3 in the state of Kentucky.

I am not a fan of firing a coach mid-season. I am fully aware that we cannot afford to pay Bobby’s buyout.  But I am terrified to think what can happen if we don’t make a coaching change at season’s end.  If you owned a restaurant and you knew the service and customer support was going to get worse before it got better and the first chance to get out of contract was still several years away. Would you pull the trigger and somehow find the money to get out now, or do you stick it out and have a few down years to save a buck?

If I am Tyra,  I am cutting my losses as soon as the clock hits zero in the Governor’s Cup.  Burn em all….

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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