A Conversation with Myself about Louisville Football

I’m not sure if Q & As are therapeutic. But they should provide me with a helluva lot more satisfaction than blackout games. 
 
“We got beat in all three phases,” Bobby Petrino noted.
 
That all?
 
“You’ve got to give them credit, they are a very, very good football team. I’m really disappointed in the way we played,” He followed up with.
 
You sure that covers it? What was the problem?
 
“I don’t know,” Lamar Jackson responded when asked about why the passing game struggled early on.
 
Anything else from the peanut gallery?
 
“It was beautiful and nothing hurt,” Kurt Vonnegut chimed in.
 
Speak for yourself. 
 
Louisville presented us with many questions as Clemson came, left and blew them off the field. The final score is an afterthought, but if you must know, it was a 47-21 defeat that could have been even worse. In a time with so many questions, a column with a conversation where I ask them only makes sense.
 
Let’s start off on a personal note. 
 
Do I still enjoy football? You know, I’m starting to question that more & more. Saturday was bourbon, tears and hurt. Quite sad. If that’s what football is now, you should count me out. If it includes more bourbon and fewer tears, then we can talk. Until then, football is actually bad and not go
 
Okay, now we’re off. Here’s what you came for.
 
How different would we look at this season had Lamar Jackson not won a Heisman last season? It’s no stretch to say that the expectations this season were based on what Lamar Jackson could do. Before we get too deep into Clemson conversation, I want you to ponder this question. You may not have set yourselves up for thinking they could defeat the National Champions, or you wouldn’t be dreaming of a College Football Playoff appearance. 
 
Many of the frustrations that you will see written about here are simple. Louisville has a Heisman winner. They’ve never had a Heisman winner. If you can’t win the ACC (which appears unlikely now) with him, when can you get there? Is Louisville going to better with Puma Pass at quarterback next season? It’s hard to believe that. 
 
Louisville set themselves up with this expectation. Bobby Petrino talked in the offseason about National Championship aspirations. They’ve paid their coach the elite type of football money. You’re not going to hear any excuses when you’re blown out at home by anyone in the country.
 
Is Louisville beyond getting blown out at home as a program? This is where the serious conversation begins. This is a question that I pondered on a 2 mile slightly intoxicated walk home from the game (Ubers are dumb, GPS’s are absurd). You’d like to think so. Saturday’sthrashing of Louisville by Clemson proved otherwise. It was the worst home defeat in the Bobby Petrino era at home. 
 
Louisville defense gave up 613 yards, the most ever under Bobby Petrino and 7th most as a program all-time. It’s worth noting that in four seasons Charlie Strong had zero defeats by 20 points or more. On Saturday, Petrino suffered his fifth – yes fifth – during his second tenure at Louisville. It’s as important to note that Louisville is facing different competition now. Yet still, it lingers. 
 
Pull up a Webster Dictionary and look for the definition of ‘Bobby Ball’. You won’t find anything about large defeats, quite the contrary. It’s a stat of note. 
 
So you’re saying Bobby Petrino should be taking some heat? Well, that’s a tricky question. Hot seat? No, he’s got ways to fall before we even approach that conversation. Being questioned for the debacle against Clemson? Bringing up the 0-4 record against Dabo Swinney? The 1-8 record against Top 25 opponents? Of course. It’s more than just losing to Clemson. It’s the way Louisville finished in its final three games of the season and combined with Clemson. It’s doing all that with Lamar Jackson. It’s doing that with Lamar Jackson when you’re regarded as one of the top offensive minds in the game. 
 
There are plenty of questions that need asked. 
 
Wasn’t Malik Williams 35 yards on 6 carries good enough to keep feeding him the ball against Clemson? Isn’t the best approach to slowing down a pass rush establishing a run game? How does a team come out so flat and with such little fight on such a major stage with everyone – and I mean everyone- watching? 
 
These are some questions. There are more. I don’t have the answers to them. Good thing I’m not the coach.
 
Have we put too much stock into Louisville beating Florida State last season? Yes.
 
Should we stop talking about it every single time someone questions Bobby Petrino? Double yes.
 
Can Louisville regroup now? The positives now are that Louisville will run through its next two opponents. They are 38 point favorites against Kent State and that may not be enough. Last season Houston took Louisville’s soul and it was shown to close the season. That cannot happen again. That’s the true test for this coaching staff. Fixing issues that plagued you in past seasons is the best way to measure if you’re growing as a program. The next test will be a road game against NC State and then the true measuring stick at Florida State. The schedule still lends itself to double-digit wins. That doesn’t change now.