Cardinals’ Kragthorpe Quandary

This is about the state of Louisville football and coach Steve Kragthorpe’s future roaming the sidelines at Papa John’s. Honest. But first, I must analogize. So let me use myself as an example.

Stay with me here before you scoff.

I’m a fairly decent fellow. I strive to be honest, pay my bills, pay my taxes, be respectful to friends, neighbors and strangers, obey traffic signals and have a developed a spiritual side. I mow the lawn. I know my aggressive personality turns some people off. Others find me funny. As with most things it life, the positives and negatives mostly balance out.

I understand the process of writing. I love words (and use far too many big ones).

Yet I’m but a run of the mill writer. Every once in awhile I fashion a sentence, even a paragraph or two, maybe even a whole column that are above the norm. But never anything truly extraordinary. As much as I’d like to write a novel, I never have. As much as I’d like to write like those I idolize — Hunter Thompson, Charles Pierce, F. Scott Fitzgerald — I know that I don’t. And never will.

Which brings me to Steve Kragthorpe.

U of L’s coach is an eminently decent fellow. A little tight, more than a might measured in his words and interactions, falls back on coachspeak too often, but he seems a decent, likable fellow. Honest, spiritual. I also believe he is a student of the game of football, and knows a lot about it. Probably more than the majority of coaches.

Yet, having observed him in the press room and on the sideline and during practice, and being well aware of the lack of success of his Cardinal teams, I must admit this . . .

. . . Steve Kragthorpe is no Howard Schnellenberger. He is no Bobby Petrino. He is no John L. Smith. I’m sure he aspires to be as successful as Bobby Bowden or JoPa or Frank Beamer. Yet every bit of evidence we have indicates his coaching abilities are closer to those of Ron Cooper.

It doesn’t make him a bad person. It simply means he’s a middle of the pack guy. Kind of like most of us. Even those of us who feel compelled to aspire to greatness.

There is nary a line on Kragthorpe’s resume here at Louisville, which leads to any conclusion other than Louisville football will be mired in mediocrity should he remain the coach.

As I’ve said any number of times before, I hope I’m wrong. But I can’t find a thing to hang my hat on to believe otherwise.

I am not alone.

During this rivalry week, with UK coming up Saturday, I have talked with any number of really loyal, long time, bleed red & black U of L fans. They are torn. They privately wonder whether the program won’t be best served if this season falls apart. Starting Saturday. They don’t want to root against Louisville. They will not root against Louisville. But they admit it won’t be such a bad thing if Kentucky batters Louisville on Saturday, because it could be a catalyst for change.

And please don’t write and tell me these people are obviously not real Cardinal fans. I won’t hear it. Because it’s not true. Some of these folks have been going to games since U of L played at Parkway Field. Some just joined in during the John L. and Petrino eras. They travel to away games. Their basements are adorned with pennants in school colors. They donate for the right to buy seats. They arrange their lives around Louisville games.

I’m not talking about all Louisville fans. Only the very large cross section I’ve talked with in the last couple weeks. To the man and woman, they are torn. They want this season to be a success. They want Kragthorpe to lead U of L back to the upper echelon. They simply don’t believe it will happen. And they fear that four or five Ws this season will mean another for Kragthorpe. Or more.

It’s a sad state of affairs. Truth is a victory over UK might only exacerbate the situation.

For Louisville football fans, these are depressing times. Times of inner turmoil.

It’s just damn sad.

– Seedy K

3 Comments

  1. CardsLady
    Posted September 18, 2009 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    C.D. – what YOU said. :(

  2. cbcard
    Posted September 18, 2009 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

    I want the Cards to go 12-0, make that 13-0. But I don’t think SK is the guy for us. So if we lose, and I repeat that I don’t want to, I want us to lose by bundles hoping that will lead to a coaching change.

  3. Bill Donnelly
    Posted September 19, 2009 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    Sad, but true. I too pull for the Cardinals, however I think Krags is way over his head.
    He would probably make a great coach at someplace like Bellarmine.

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