--By Mike Gilpatrick
--Photo by Jared Anderson
It’s no secret the Louisville Cardinals fan base isn’t happy. The Cards are 2-2; with two close wins against teams that should’ve been blown out, and two devastating losses; one against a team they owned for years. The most recent loss was a 27-3 shelling against Virginia. The Cardinals did not score an offensive touchdown for the second time since Bobby Petrino’s return.
The Louisville head coach claimed responsibility for the offensive meltdown. It was the first time a team he coached did not score more than a field goal in 169 career games.
Petrino is on the hot seat. While Les Miles is on the market, and Jeff Brohm feels like the coach in waiting, Louisville shouldn’t be quick to pay Petrino his nearly 14-million-dollar buyout after one bad season.
The Cardinals are in a transition year. Petrino’s offense was built around Heisman-winning QB Lamar Jackson for the past three years. Both Jawon Pass and Malik Cunningham are fresh starters, and going through growing pains. Both haven’t started games before this season; Pass only had limited action against a few teams last year, but proved he could perform the job.
Like his predecessor, it may take a while for Pass to get used to starting; and the rest of the offense to get used to his style of play- a few of his attempts were on target, but through the receivers hands.
Also, in Jackson’s first season, the Cardinals started out 0-3, against some good teams.
Louisville also is in a transition year on defense. Brian VanGorder had success with Georgia, and in the NFL; but not recently. He was fired from Notre Dame after two seasons at DC. His defensive mentality has been described as having a high learning curve.
While his hire was questionable, it will take time for the defense to show an improvement. They’ve had signs of being more aggressive, and blitzing, which is something Louisville did not have under Peter Sirmon.
So, with time, the team’s play may improve. Louisville is still just four games into the 2018 campaign. There’s time to fix problems. But the clock is ticking. Louisville shouldn’t panic after just four games into a less-than-desired season. But if Louisville doesn’t compete this year, and looks bad for most of next year, it may be time to look at other options.
The clock is ticking, but there’s still time to fix things.