Knot in the Cards: Louisville seeks forward momentum

USA Today

The University of Louisville began and ended their season the same way; losing big to a ranked team which put up 50 points.

With a sea of blue, it looked like a UK home game Saturday as the Card’s season ended with a 56-10 beat-down at Cardinal Stadium.  Defeats came regularly this season and consequently, culminated into the firing of head coach Bobby Petrino after a 2-8 start.

Two more losses followed under interim coach Lorenzo Ward, but the team clearly quit on the program this year. Now, the task for athletic director Vince Tyra is to hire a new coach to breathe life into the program. After years of unrest with Louisville’s sports empire, Petrino was the last remnant of former AD Tom Jurich’s era. The 2018 Cardinals ranked worse than 100th in offense and defense. They had major flaws at every position and didn’t place anyone on the All-ACC team. Clearly, there’s work to be done everywhere.

Louisville finished 2-10 with its worst record since 1997 and some dubious statistics that go much further back than that. It was one of the worst seasons by an ACC team since the merger took place. The Cards gave up their most total yards-per-game since 1985. They allowed their most points-per-game since at least 1962. They were the first Power Five team ever to give up more than 50 points in five straight games. This team was historically bad. Now, another blow to the Cardinals may have taken place.

Though Jeff Brohm has deep ties to the community and the school, he seems happy coaching a Boilermakers squad bound for its second consecutive bowl game. “I want Louisville to do what’s best for them,” Brohm said after Purdue beat Indiana 28-21 on Saturday. “I’m a fan. But right now, I’m the coach at Purdue and this is where I want to be and I like it here.” Since mid-season it seemed certain Brohm would come, but now that’s undetermined.

1. What do the Cards do now?

The players woke up Sunday morning with no head coach, no practice schedule, no bowl game and no direction. They’re in charge of themselves regarding classes and conditioning. Then, the rebuilding process starts. The Louisville football program needs to step back on the field and get this dumpster fire of a season behind them.

2. How does Louisville recruit?

Undoubtedly, this is toughest job. For the time being, Louisville is shorthanded when it comes to recruiting. Without a head coach, it’s an unenviable position with less than four weeks left until the early signing period. Athletic director Tyra is up against the clock to bring in a new coach who can secure the 2019 recruiting class along with creative efforts to fill a coaching staff in short order.

3. How long before we see new faces?

The most pressing position is quarterback, where Louisville could seek a graduate transfer. Puma Pass and Malik Cunningham both had roller coaster seasons. The small, outgoing senior class doesn’t offer a ton of flexibility, but without many recruits on board for this class, it could leave spots for transfers coming as late as August.

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