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Louisville’s Long Road Back

By Jim Johnson
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It’s been almost two years since the Cardinals had an offensive performance like they had today.

Time is constant, but it feels relative. Sometimes, it flies by. Sometimes it crawls. One must imagine, for Louisville, the past year and change has felt like a decade.

It’s been almost two years since the Cardinals had an offensive performance like they had today. The last time the Cards went over 600 yards of offense was November 11th, 2017, against Syracuse, with Lamar Jackson running the show.

That’s a year and ten months. 98 weeks. 686 days.

The last time they scored 40+? The week after that 2017 Syracuse game, at Kentucky.

679 days. 16,296 hours. 977,760 minutes.

That Kentucky game was also the last time they averaged at least 8.5 yards per play against an FBS team.

What a difference a year makes. In the 30,844,400 seconds that felt like minutes, the 514,080 minutes that felt like hours, the 8,568 hours that felt like days, the 357 days that felt like weeks, and the 51 weeks that felt like a lifetime since Bobby Petrino’s Cards faced Boston College a season ago, everything has changed.

Petrino’s offense compiled all of 217 yards that day, at a meager clip of 3.24 per play. Multiply that by three and it still doesn’t reach the 664 mark that Scott Satterfield’s group hit this afternoon.

At the ACC Kickoff, neither Satterfield, nor student-athlete representatives Dorian Etheridge and Seth Dawkins, minced words about what it was like under the previous regime.

“It was sad, really,” Satterfield began. “We just said, ‘you know, guys, we’ve got a clean slate. Whatever happened in the past, forget about it. Everything moving forward is what we’re judging you on -- how hard you come in here and work.’ That’s what we’re looking at. It doesn’t matter about talent. I want to have a great attitude and work ethic. So, ‘Attitude and Effort’ we’ve got in every meeting room in our building. We just kind of loved on them and put our arms around them…”

For he and his new staff, job number one was making football fun again, like it’s supposed to be.

Of course, nothing is more fun than winning. Now, for the first time since that aforementioned Syracuse matchup, Louisville has done that in conference play.

Make no mistake, there’s still work to be done. There will still likely be some ups and downs this season. However, this team is already exceeding expectations. They’re probably already closer to where they want to be than where they were.

That, in itself, is an accomplishment.

It’s been awhile since there was tangible reason for excitement about Louisville football. It felt even longer than it actually took.

For the Cards, finally, the future is now.

Jim Johnson - Editor of Southern Pigskin, Producer of "Three & Out", and host of "Explosive Recruiting" on the Southern Pigskin Radio Network. E-mail: Twitter: @JimJohnsonSP