Sidelines with John Clay

Louisville football a national story for all the wrong reasons; more Big Blue Links

Louisville head football coach Bobby Petrino with Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Lamar Jackson. The school admitted Wednesday it received information about Wake Forest’s game plan before a game this season.
Louisville head football coach Bobby Petrino with Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Lamar Jackson. The school admitted Wednesday it received information about Wake Forest’s game plan before a game this season. Associated Press

Big Blue Links for Thursday:

Dirt keeps piling up at Louisville on Tom Jurich’s watch, writes Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports. “Then, however, came a statement Wednesday from University of Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich. It rewrites the definition of NCAA tone-deafness and pretty much explains how college sports got here in the first place. First, recall that the Cardinals were under suspicion for cheating after documents Wake Forest said were “related to their game plan” were discovered at Papa John’s Stadium following the Cardinals’ 44-12 victory last month.”

Louisville fumbles handling of Wake Forest leaks, writes Rick Bozich of WDRB. “I have never encountered anything like the Wakey-Leaks situation: Consider it rogue football espionage that Wake Forest is calling an inside hit job directed by a former Wake player and assistant coach who had access to practice, injury and game plan information and was apparently eager to share it. It’s a national story, one that has tugged the University of Louisville football program into the headlines and ESPN talk show crossfire.”

Bobby Petrino is surpassed as biggest pig by his boss, writes Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to Bobby Petrino, whose actions, words and occasionally erratic motorcycle driving had led me to believe for years that he was the most contemptible individual in college athletics, and possibly the world. Petrino has dropped to second in the official Rankings of the Soulless. He now ranks behind the last person who hired him.”

Just how dirty are Louisville’s hands? asks Luke DeCock of the Raleigh News and Observer. “As bad as it is for Wake Forest to discover a former player and assistant coach turned traitor within the football program, the so-called WakeyLeaks scandal could be even worse for Louisville. We may never know why Tommy Elrod betrayed his alma mater and the new coach who didn’t retain him but was generous enough to give him inside access as a broadcaster. But Louisville knew it was going on, willingly accepted Elrod’s espionage, and kept its mouth shut about it. “

Joel Berry could be game-changer for North Carolina, if healthy, writes Jerry Tipton of the Herald-Leader. “The first question I would have is: Is Joel Berry playing?” ESPN analyst Dick Vitale said Wednesday. “That is key. You take away your catalyst, your point guard. They still are a very good basketball team. You’ve got to respect that. But he is a special player.”

If Sean Woods can’t control his temper, he can’t keep coaching, says the lead on my notes column. “ If the accusations made against Sean Woods prove true, under no circumstances should the suspended Morehead State coach be allowed another job in the profession. WKYT reported Tuesday that the former UK guard faces misdemeanor battery charges in Indiana after two players accused the coach of assaulting them during a game against Evansville. Woods is known to be passionate with a sometimes volatile temper, but there’s no place at any level of basketball for a coach who aggressively puts his hands on, much less strikes players in whatever fashion. “

Mike Sanford returns to Bowling Green as Western Kentucky’s new football coach, reports Brad Stephens of the Bowling Green Daily News. “Mike Sanford’s received two phone calls from Bowling Green at crucial points in his life. The first came nearly seven years ago when new Western Kentucky coach Willie Taggart called the Yale assistant and asked if he’d like to join his Hilltopper staff. The 27-year-old coach, his wife Anne-Marie and their two-week-old daughter Peyton moved to Kentucky, where he spent the 2010 season working under Taggart before moving on to Stanford.”

Eddie Gran has reached verbal agreement on new contract, reports Joe Mossatto of SEC Country. “We want to lock him up and pay him what top coordinators deserve to be paid,” UK head coach Mark Stoops said. Gran makes $650,000 per year. While he’s the highest-paid Kentucky assistant, that makes him the 19th highest-paid SEC assistant — 38th nationally, according to USA Today’s salary database.”

Mississippi State lost at home to East Tennessee State on Wednesday night, reports Michael Bonner of the Clarion-Ledger. “Nothing came easy for Mississippi State on Wednesday night. Schnider Herard missed a putback dunk off the back iron. Mario Kegler missed a putback layup in front of the rim. Quinndary Weatherspoon experienced the most difficulty with a 3-for-14 shooting night - one of the worst of his career in Humphrey Coliseum. Even a defensive rebound became an unachievable feat, which cost the Bulldogs.”

Why isn’t Michael Kidd-Gilchrist a closer? asks Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer. “At least in the short run, Charlotte Hornets small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is defining the difference between a starter and a closer. Kidd-Gilchrist is a big part of this team’s plans, primarily for his wide-spectrum defensive prowess. But in the fourth quarter of a close game, Kidd-Gilchrist has all but disappeared from the rotation, in favor of veteran reserve Marco Belinelli. “

Lonzo Ball is leading an offensive awakening at UCLA, writes Luke Winn of Sports Illustrated. “Alford played at Indiana for Bobby Knight, the godfather of motion offense, and so that’s what Alford coached early in his career. But Knight’s motion was hatched in an era that lacked a three-point line or a shot clock, and gradually became less of a fit for the modern game. As Alford has shifted UCLA away from the pick-and-roll game this year, it’s been to flowing offense that, like the old Indiana teams, involves all five players. But unlike Knight’s Hoosiers, the Bruins have a freewheeling, transition-first approach that, once in the halfcourt, settles into more perimeter-oriented movement inspired by Alford’s affinity for the NBA’s Warriors and Spurs, and made functional by personnel that doesn’t let things stagnate.”

College basketball games on TV for Thursday

  • 7:00 - Appalachian State at North Carolina State (ESPNU)
  • 7:00 - Clemson at South Carolina women (SEC)
  • 9:00 - Coastal Carolina at Auburn (SEC)
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