I thought about writing this a few weeks ago. I didn't. I didn't feel the need at that time. After today’s press conference, I think I need to let my thoughts be known.
I know that what I have to say may not mean anything to anyone, but it just feels better to let it out. The following thoughts are my own and have nothing to do with the thoughts or feelings of anyone at 790 WKRD, the station itself, or Clear Channel Media.
Earlier today, Coach Strong criticized the fans for their Card March turnout on Senior Day. I was there when the team got off of the bus that day, but I can understand why attendance was low.
It was 9:45 AM and close to 30 degrees outside.
It was the Saturday of a holiday weekend (the biggest traveling weekend of the year).
They were playing UCONN and the game meant nothing (win or lose) in their quest for a BCS game.
I could go on-and-on, but I think you get the picture. A myriad of excuses could apply.
The turnout was low. The stands were not full. But the fans are not the only ones at fault for this.
The Card March had already been cancelled three times this season because it was raining. If you want it to be a tradition, if you want to base you opinions of the fanbase on the turnout, you can’t cancel it when it rains. Your guys have to play in the rain, why can’t they walk through it?
Noon starts have always had low turnouts in Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. Why? I’m not really sure, but they always have. The Athletic Department knows this, so why do they continue to schedule them? I’ll tell you why, TV. But that game wasn’t even on national TV. If it was, I could understand the decision, but if you aren’t going to get a national audience, shouldn’t you cater to your fanbase? Play the game when you know they are more likely to show.
The team also has a role to play in all of this. In their last game before returning home for Senior Day, the team gave quite possibly the worst effort I have seen since coach Strong arrived in The ‘Ville. If you want someone to support you, give them something to support. Bad games happen, but it looked to me like that team quite before they even got to halftime.
I guess what I am trying to say is this, “Blame for the low turnout does not fall solely on the fans.”
And what does criticizing them get you? How does that help fix the real issue (an issue I agree exists)?
That issue: Louisville’s football fanbase is fickle. Many are there more for the social event than the football game. This is changing, but change is slow.
Louisville is still a growing program. For Coach Strong to compare what happens here to what he saw at Florida, South Carolina, or Notre Dame is laughable on its face. Those are programs with extensive football history and tradition.
They have all been consistent winners for years. Louisville has been consistently inconsistent as long as I can remember. Two or three good years usually follow two or three bad ones.
Does that mean that Louisville can never be where those programs are? That they can never be a consistent winner? No. But Louisville isn’t there yet.
Charlie said he wanted to come here and build a football program. Well, part of that building process is changing the culture. Change not only in the locker room and on the field, but in the stands as well.
This fanbase can go from fickle to fanatical, but that change will not happen over night. And it will not happen for a coach that isn’t committed to the school or the cause.
If you want a commitment from us, maybe you should give us one in return.