I don’t think I have ever seen a fan base cheer after an eighteen point loss, but that is exactly what the Louisville football fans did on Monday. And I completely agree with them. In sports, you will always hear clichés about how not everything is about winning and losing. At the end of the day, those clichés are wrong. It is always about winning and losing. Monday was not “at the end of the day” for Louisville football…it was the beginning of something.
It would be nice if that “something” was the start of the turnaround. The start of Louisville’s rebirth into prominence….I just don’t think that’s the case. It wouldn’t take a football genius to discern the fact that this Louisville team is completely different than last years. The defense didn’t give up fifty to seventy points, the offensive line blocked the opposing team, the defense made the other team punt, and the fans were behind the team from the beginning. The bar was not set too high for this football team but they exceeded every expectation available coming off of last year’s horrendous display of football. As I overheard today, “the players just looked like they gave a shit.” That sums up the 2019 Louisville football season. All the players need to do is go out and give a damn, which all starts and ends with Satterfield. While one game does not define a coach for better or worse, he and his staff impressed during Game 1. He did something that Petrino had lost. The players have clearly bought into his scheme and coaching style. Fans noticed this from the very beginning of the game. Notre Dame scored with ease. For the first five minutes or so…it looked like the 2018 Louisville football team was back; however, Louisville took the ball and punched Notre Dame right back with a touchdown of their own. That alone was more fight than what the team showed for the entire second half of last season.
Now, I wouldn’t even begin to think that Louisville is out of the dark yet. They are still not good. I still would not expect this team to win more than 3 games (I hope they prove me wrong, I genuinely do. College football is better when Louisville is good). As good as the run game looked for Louisville, the passing game is severely lacking. Whether its young guys in the wide receiving core, Jawon Pass just not able to do what his last name says, a combination of both, or something else entirely, Louisville could not throw the ball and does not look like they will be able to in the future. Opposing defenses will load the box and make Pass throw the ball to beat them. Something I do not think he can do. The defense looked leaps and bounds better than last year, but when the bar was set so low that not even an ant could get underneath, I would reserve my excitement for the years to come. There are going to be games where they have spurts of looking like a Division 1 football defense, but more times than not they are going to look like Scott Satterfield brought a time machine with him from the state of West Virginia and set it to 2018.
I’m still not ready to change any of my takes for Louisville football. I still think they win at most 3 games. I still think Satterfield is only a coach at Louisville for 2-3 years before getting fired, or something that is extremely unlikely, leaves for another program because he does so well. This year’s Louisville team will obviously be better than last year’s team but nowhere near where they should be or where the fans will want them to be. It might feel great to go out in the first game of the year and look and simply not look like a peewee football team but there is no way the fans will be okay with merely looking like a Division 1 football team. I still stand by that if Louisville wins 1-2 games this year and 1-2 games next year, fans will be calling for Satterfield to be fired and for Jeff Brohm (barring a complete meltdown of Purdue (yes, I know they lost to Nevada but they are still going to be good)) or someone better to be brought in.
Basketball season is just around the corner…