LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – There was big news for University of Louisville football Monday when Coach Charlie Strong confirmed former offensive coordinator Mike Sanford is off the team. It's the latest development as both the Cards and the Cats continue to struggle on the field and frustrate fans.
Coach Strong is asking fans to come to Papa John's Cardinal Stadium Friday night to give his young team some support against Rutgers. University of Kentucky head coach Joker Phillips is hoping for the same support in Lexington Saturday against Jacksonville State. But after listening to upset fans on radio talk shows, it's hard to say what kind of crowd will actually show up.
Sports Talk 84's Lachlan McLean laid it out for his listeners.
"It is a dismal time for our area teams," said McLean.
Another weekend. Another loss.
"Louisville, Kentucky and Indiana. Who would have thunk that Western Kentucky is like the hottest team in our area right now?" McLean asked.
It's the ugly truth that has local football fans looking ahead again to basketball season in the Commonwealth. One caller said he knew where to put the blame on both teams,.
"It's the coaching because the coaching is pitiful on offense," said the caller.
UK was recently hammered by South Carolina, Indiana University clobbered by Wisconsin and UofL blew a surprising halftime lead at Cincinnati. For now, UK and U of L fans seem most upset.
"Wow, both teams this bad at the same time, it's been a while since it's been like this," said McLean.
Typically, Card and Cat fans can take losing if there's at least, a high flying offense. But McLean said the combination of bad teams and bad offenses is a killer for maintaining enthusiasm among the fans, who are well aware of the seasons problems.
The Cardinals (2-4) are plagued by inexperience, while the Wildcats (2-4) are plagued by the SEC and the loss to archrival Louisville.
Some Kentucky fans are surprised that UK Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart has already given Phillips his support for next season.
"I think they're probably going to keep him another year," one caller said to McLean. "Is it right or wrong? I don't know."
McLean said of some UK fans who can't decide if they're going to Saturday's game against Jacksonville State, "If you're not happy with the direction of the program, maybe you don't show up."
With Keeneland running as its competition, McLean is predicting a record low crowd for the Kentucky game.
"I think some people are going to treat this as a referendum on Joker Phillips and whether they want him to stay or go," said McLean.
As for UofL and its continued staffing changes, it's become a joke for some fans.
"I want to put in my resume for offensive coordinator at UofL," said one of McLean's callers Monday night.
McLean believes Louisville will probably see a better crowd this weekend as fans seem to be more forgiving of Charlie Strong and hopeful for his young team. Even though UK has sold some 40,000 season tickets, McLean said wouldn't be surprised if it's a couple thousand short of that number on Saturday.