BOZICH | Louisville fumbles handling of Wake Forest football lea - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH | Louisville fumbles handling of Wake Forest football leaks

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Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich released a statement about the Cards' football program interactions with a Wake Forest radio analyst. Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich released a statement about the Cards' football program interactions with a Wake Forest radio analyst.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (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.

Wake Forest released a statement Tuesday saying Tommy Elrod, a member of Wake’s radio team, has attempted to provide confidential game information to opposing teams since 2014, including Wake’s visit to Louisville Nov. 12.

U of L athletic director Tom Jurich countered with a statement Wednesday afternoon saying that Lonnie Galloway, the Cards’ offensive coordinator, has been friends with Elrod since 2007. 

Jurich said that Elrod and Galloway talked the week of the game and that Elrod told Galloway about “a few” plays that Wake ran. Jurich said Galloway shared the information with U of L defensive coaches but that none of the plays were used in the game.

Finally, Jurich said this: “Any other information that may have been discussed was nothing that our staff had not already seen while studying Wake Forest in their preparations for the game and the material was not given any further attention. I’m disappointed that this issue has brought undue attention to our football staff as we prepare for our upcoming bowl game.”

I’m also disappointed — disappointed that Galloway didn’t tell Elrod to get lost.

Disappointed that somebody at U of L did not call Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson to tell him there was a rat operating inside his program on the radio crew.

Disappointed that Jurich believes this is The End of this escapade and that he essentially said this is no big deal. Get back to worrying about LSU.

Disappointed that folks at Louisville are speaking through statements instead of answering questions about something that cuts directly into the competitive integrity of the game — and yes, I know that on a night when Louisville was favored by 34 1/2 points, Bobby Petrino’s team had to rally through the fourth quarter to win, 44-12.

Maybe the final score was not affected. Galloway’s behavior was (at best) unsportsmanlike and (at worst) cheating. Call me naive, but is it too much to ask somebody to do the right thing here?

U of L football support people howl if media members stand too close to the shrouded fences at football practice. Why? Paranoia. The staff is afraid somebody might see and then share something they’re not supposed to see.

But it’s no big deal that the opposing radio guy shared information with Bobby Petrino’s top offensive coach?

That’s hilarious.

What ACC commissioner John Swofford, Jurich, Wake Forest athletic director Ron Wellman and every team on the Demon Deacons’ schedule should want is a complete investigation and commitment to transparency. 

Silence isn't golden. Silence creates a vacuum, a vacuum filled with suspicion, speculation and questions about an unfair playing field.

You know who loves unfair playing fields? Gamblers.

Outline the damage. Assess the blame. Clear the innocent. Suggest remedies. Protect the integrity of the game.

The game deserves more than Petrino’s statement that he “had no knowledge,” of the situation, a nuance that raises more eyebrows today that it did when Petrino said it last month.

I asked a college football coach how valuable information like this would be. This is a coach who told me in college football head coaches routinely dispatch program assistants and student managers to search opposing locker rooms for information after visiting teams complete day-before practices.

“There are coaches who look for any scrap of paper they can find, in the locker room, along the sidelines, on the field,” the coach said. “They have guys dive in and turn the opposing locker room upside down.”

Next question: Would this information have legitimate strategic value?

“It depends on the information,” the coach said.

“If it was just formations and tendencies, not really. Any good coaching staff is already going to have that just by watching film. You know what the opposing team is going to do. You know their personnel. That’s standard stuff.”

This is what is not standard stuff: Specific game plans. 

Many coaches routinely script the first five, eight or dozen plays. Win the toss. Take the ball. Go to work.

“If you knew the first eight plays or so, obviously that’s a pretty big advantage,” the coach said. “If you know the first play is a run over right tackle, you’re going to be set up to stop it.

“Your guys have to make the plays but that’s a pretty nice edge.”

But offensively? Defensive coordinators do not script plays. They react to plays. Where’s the advantage on the offensive side?

“If you knew a team was working on a specific blitz package, putting their linebackers or safeties in a specific spot you could work with that,” the coach said.

“That would be cheating. You could get a competitive advantage with that. You wouldn’t want that.”

Actually, Atlantic Coast Conference should not want any of this. Neither should the University of Louisville. Players, fans, coaches, involved schools and everybody who loves college football deserve better.

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