CRAWFORD | Sports Page Live: Pre-show notes and research - WDRB 41 Louisville News

CRAWFORD | Sports Page Live: Pre-show notes and research

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Every Wednesday at 10:30 a.m., Rick Bozich and I sit down in Studio 1 at WDRB Media World Headquarters on Muhammad Ali Boulevard to do a 30-minute live webcast. You might think we just wing it.

Most weeks, you're right. When basketball or football is full swing there's little time to put a ton of thought into things, but we both like talking sports so it's a natural thing to sit for 30 minutes and run through our thoughts on what's going on, and to answer any questions that come across.

This week, we're going to endeavor to give you a little more behind-the-scenes access. The following, I guess you could call show prep. I try to jot down a few thoughts, at least, on the topics we'll be talking about, so I've at least thought about what I might want to say during the course of the show.

We don't really have any production meetings where we plan things out. But we do have a fantastic production team, led by Jen Keeney (Twitter: @jenkeeney, follow her), which makes the webcast look far more polished and slick than we deserve. On Tuesday, either Rick and I will write an opening script. (The webcast open -- the first minute or two -- is scripted. The rest of the time, it's just two guys talking.) Also on Tuesday, our sports guys will pull any highlights we've asked for and any interviews we might use. Given all that work, on those rare occasions when I can find the right camera to look into, it might even look like Rick and I know what we're doing.

As well this Wednesday, if you follow either Rick or me on Facebook, you can watch the 10 minutes or so before the webcast, just to see what goes on in the studio leading up to the show.

The first minute or two is scripted, otherwise, we're just talking. It always goes by faster than you would expect, even for 30 minutes of commercial-free talk.

If you can't watch it live, you can always watch it on-demand at the WDRB website. For those of you who faithfully watch and submit questions every week, it's very much appreciated!

The following pre-show notes aren't in any kind of narrative form. They're mostly a series of list or thoughts, some of which might make their way into the show, some of which won't.

For more pre-show nuggets, you can read Rick Bozich's Monday Muse column, and check out his piece on five Louisville players to watch in its Spring Game.


            - Spring Game is Saturday at 1

            - Last scrimmage: Lamar Jackson completed 3 passes of 50 yards or more, to three different receivers (Jamari Staples 55, James Quick 54 yards)

            - Petrino after last scrimmage (I thought it was the first day we had some big plays throwing the ball down the field. Some of our protections allowed us to do that. We needed to finish some of those drives, but the defensive line made some big plays on fourth down.")

            - L.J. Scott got praise from Petrino

            - Josh Harvey-Clemons, led the team in tackles, while Chuckie Williams and Alphonso Carter recorded interceptions.

            - The offensive front still isn't stopping penetration from the defensive front. Short yardage plays continue to be a problem.

            - Reggie Bonnafon recorded a 43.5 inch vertical jump in the spring. (Not bad. But Darrell Griffith's vertical was 48 inches.)

Additional Louisville notes

            - We expect a contract extension for Petrino to come at any time (5 years, $20 million?)

            - Word spreading that the school is ready to announce the go-ahead on Papa John's Cardinal Stadium expansion


            - Kentucky's spring game is Saturday at noon, after the school didn't have a spring game a year ago because of stadium renovation. It will be televised by the SEC Network.

            - The third scrimmage of the spring was a bad one for the UK offense.

            - New offensive coordinator Eddie Gran said: "It was absolutely awful,” Gran said. “There was no juice. That’s coaches’ fault. That’s everybody on our side of the ball: You’ve got to get them ready to come out.”

            - Stoops says the offense has been "too hot and cold" in the spring.

            - One concern: Leadership. It was a problem with last year's offense and hasn't yet been fixed in the spring.

            - Drew Barker is the presumed front-runner at QB. He says Gran's pro-style offensive scheme is more complex than the "Air Raid" attacks of the past couple of years.

            - What's up with Lamar Thomas? He's gotten more media attention through one spring season than he got in two seasons at Louisville.


            - NCAA caps number of bowl games at 41 for the next three years. Could be a decision that impacts WKU or UK in search of bowl games, but obviously the right thing to do with the number of 5-7 teams with postseason chances the past couple of years.

            - No satellite camps. And Jim Harbaugh didn't like it. His quote to "The image that comes to my mind is guys in a back room smoking cigars, doing what they perceive is best for them. It certainly isn't the best thing for the youngsters. It's not the best thing for the student-athletes. You've got a guy sitting in a big house, making $5 million a year, saying he does not want to sacrifice his time. That is not a kindred spirit to me. What most of these coaches are saying is they don't want to work harder."

            My view: Harbaugh is just mad that a recruiting advantage is being taken away from him. It's not enough that the football program earns in the $90 million range.

            - No laptops or tablets in the coaching booth. NCAA originally was going to allow this, now will delay it till next season to consider the additional costs, and potential unforeseen circumstances.


            - Rick Pitino said Tuesday in a radio interview with Bob Valvano that the NCAA's investigation into his program is "pretty much almost over."

            - Is it fair to say that it's all over but the crying?

            - Louisville added scholarship reductions and recruiting restrictions to the self-imposed postseason ban it handed down in February. The question is: Will it be enough?

            - I doubt it. I would expect the loss of at least one more scholarship, and perhaps other NCAA sanctions.

            - Rick Pitino's NCAA fate is yet to be determined. He said he can't say when he will meet with the NCAA, but sources tell WDRB that has not happened yet.

            - Is it almost over? There are 2 more bad days coming for Louisville. The first when they acknowledge the violations they have found. The second when the NCAA announces what additional sanctions, if any, it will level.

Other college basketball:

            - Skal Labissiere meets the public at the Outlet Mall in Simpsonville, selling autographs for $25 a pop.

            - CBS/Turner re-ups its rights deal with the NCAA Tournament through 2032 for an additional $8.8 BILLION.

            - Twitter has extended its rights to leak out the entire bracket illegally for free.

            - Troy Williams has declared for the NBA Draft, Rick Bozich thinks he's in to stay.

            - A tough couple of days for Tom Izzo. They lose the nation's top recruit (Josh Jackson, went to first two years of HS in Detroit) to Kansas, and lose freshman Deyonta Davis to the NBA Draft (he will sign with an agent).

Too-Early Top 25s

            - Everybody has them. A recap of what they look like so far.

            - SB Nation: Duke, Kentucky, Villanova, UNC, Louisville (IU 14th)

            - ESPN: Duke, Villanova, Kentucky, Kansas, Louisville (IU 8th)

            - CBS: Duke, Kentucky, Villanova, Kansas, Xavier (IU 12th, UL 20th)

            - SI: Duke, Villanova, Kentucky, Oregon, Kansas (UL 10th, IU 11th)

            - USA Today: Duke, Kentucky, Villanova, Oregon, UNC (UL 16th, IU 18th)

            - Yahoo: Duke, Kentucky, Villanova, Kansas, Michigan State (IU 9th, UL 11th)


(A little bit on some of the more interesting colts)


            - Fifth choice in the last future pool, at 13-1

            - Won Louisiana Derby, worked 5f at Churchill on Monday

            - Has won 4 of 5 races

            - Has run just twice this year, both times at Fairgrounds

            - Has a win and a fourth in two races at Churchill (4th came in Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club, on a sloppy track)

            - Will go in the Kentucky Derby off an eight-week layoff

            - Has good tactical speed, sits just off the pace

            - Trained by Steve Asmussen, who has had two of the great thoroughbreds in recent years -- Curlin and Rachel Alexandra -- but hasn't won a Derby. He is nominated for the racing Hall of Fame this year.



            - Clear favorite, 3-1 in future pool

            - Unbeaten 2-year-old champion, record 7-0-0

            - Traveled from the West Coast to win Florida Derby with ease

            - I'll Have Another team - Doug O'Neill, J. Paul Reddam, Mario Guttierez

            - In seven races, has never been passed by another horse

            - His 7-furlong time in his 3-year-old debut in the San Vicente at Santa Anita was the third-fastest time in the race in 61 years (1:20.71).

            - He drifted out, was on the wrong lead and had a Beyer of only 94 in the Florida Derby, but still won easily.

            - Florida Derby was the first time he'd run around two turns. He handled it well, but some question whether it's enough.


            - Sire was Eskendereya, a Kentucky Derby favorite who never got to run in the race because of injury

            - Trained by Bob Baffert, who returns from his Triple Crown campaign with two Derby contenders

            - Finished second in Saturday's Santa Anita Derby, after an impressive kick by Exaggerator.

            - Before that, had two firsts and two seconds, all in stakes races.

            - He didn't like the wet track at Santa Anita, didn't like having mud in his face, but still passed tired horses to finish second.

            - Watching his training at Churchill, to get a feel for how he likes the track, will be important.

            - Gets a Hall of Fame rider in Gary Stevens, looking for his fourth Kentucky Derby victory. He would be just the fourth rider to win four Derbies, and the first to get there since Bill Shoemaker on Ferdinand in 1986. (All-time leaders: Eddie Arcaro 5, Bill Hartack 5, Bill Shoemaker 4, Stevens and six others with three).

            - Baffert, with four Derby victories, can become just the second trainer ever to win five (Ben Jones)

            - Baffert also is tied with Wayne Lukas with most 1-2-3 finishes in the Derby with 10.



            - Trained by Keith Desormeaux, ridden by his brother, Kent Desormeaux. The Louisiana brothers will be a major storyline in this year's race.

            - His kick to finish the Santa Anita Derby in the slop was a thing of beauty. He was 15 lengths off the lead midway through the race.

            - Comes from far off the pace, which can be problematic in the Derby field of 20 starters.

            - Kent Desormeaux, like Stevens, is looking for his fourth Derby victory.

            - Has lost twice to Nyquist, including in last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile

            - Is a son of the champion Curlin

Others: From AP Top 10

Mohaymen (Kiaran McLaughlin, Junior Alvarado): Brings resume of five wins in six starts to Derby. ... Finished fourth in Florida Derby in last race.

Cupid (Baffert, Martin Garcia): Rebel winner heading back to Arkansas for final prep this Saturday. ... Won last two starts after two career-opening losses.

Destin (Todd Pletcher, Javier Castellano): Will come into Derby with eight weeks between races. ... Won Tampa Bay Derby on March 12.

Outwork (Pletcher, John Velazquez): Won Wood despite slowest time in history of race. ... Gives trainer a second Derby contender. ... Last Wood winner to take Derby was Fusaichi Pegasus in 2000.

 Lani (Mikio Matsunaga, Yutaka Take): Stays on list off UAE Derby win last month. .. Arrived last week at Churchill Downs. ... Bred in Kentucky, races in Japan.


            - Cats-Cards baseball in Lexington Wednesday night. Louisville pounded WKU on Thursday to help erase the sour taste of losing a series at Florida State over the weekend, included a rough outing for Kyle Funkhouser, who gave up eight earned runs in 3 1/3 innings, walked four, struck out four, threw 87 pitches, 10 of the 20 batters he faced reached base, and it was a day to forget in a 16-5 loss, one of the few straight-up clunkers we've seen from Louisville in recent years.

            - UK must be serious -- it canceled a scheduled game with EKU Tuesday night and held a news conference instead. The Wildcats have played four SEC series and won them all, they're at 2nd place in the SEC and ranked ninth in the nation. Louisville is ranked No. 6.

            - Records: Louisville 24-7, 10-5; Kentucky 22-9, 8-4.

            - Pitching matchup: UK LHP Zach Logue (1-0, 4.02 ERA) vs. UL So., RHP Kade McClure (6-0, 2.31 ERA)

            - The LOUISVILLE BATS open their home schedule Thursday night, the beginning of a 10-game homestand. Looks like the weather will be ideal for most of it, and they deserve it. The Bats have played just 2 games this season, after having four straight postponed by inclement weather.


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

ERIC: Hello and welcome to Sports Page Live -- I'm Eric Crawford, he's Rick Bozich and this is the fastest 30 minutes on the Internet, or we refund the money you spent to watch.  Some might call this time of year a lull in the local sports calendar -- but those people would be wrong.

RICK: Yes they would -- check out our rundown for today. Spring football games this weekend at Kentucky and Louisville, Derby Classic basketball is in town, the Derby picture has come into focus, and there's basketball, with a new round of self-imposed sanctions in place at Louisville. And of course, when in doubt, we have baseball. The Bats open their home schedule Thursday night, and Kentucky and Louisville square off Wednesday night in Lexington.

ERIC: And, as always, the highlight of the show is your input. You may shoot us questions live in the chat on your screen, or hit us via Twitter, I'm @ericcrawford, he's @rickbozich. Rick, I'll get us started: For two years, the University of Louisville offense has been a work in progress. The defense has continued to define this team in the post-Charlie Strong era. But now coach Bobby Petrino has Lamar Jackson back as a sophomore, he'll have Reggie Bonnafon working out in his new hybrid role for a full offseason, and he has another year of his guys under his belt. Does this spring game begin to turn the page to the kind of Petrino offense that everyone has been waiting for?

RICK answers, and we're off and running.

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