What Will Kragthorpe Do?

Signs that weekends are soon to center on pigskin:

kragthorpeleo.jpgThe football coach starts to appear on magazine covers of non-sports magazines, HEAT, player scrapes with the law are in the news, and guys talking about fantasy aren’t referring to sex. Some local oblong-ball related stuff:

* Our sister site, PageOneKentucky, broke the story that U of L’s JuJuan Spillman has some ‘splainin’ to do about an incident early this year in which he was involved in an auto accident, was subsequently arrested for DUI and was found to have about a joint’s worth of pot in his car. He had a court appearance this week, and must be back in court Sept. 21. Some say Spillman is the fastest Cardinal, who made a name for himself as a freshman when he returned a kickoff against Rutgers for a TD. 

No doubt the U of L family would have preferred Spillman’s legal troubles stay out of the news, but both the C-J and WHAS-TV jumped on the PageOne exclusive. U of L said Spillman had already been disciplined internally, but added that any further penalty would not be handed down until the case is decided in court. Will he be able to elude a suspension once his fate on the case is decided?

Which brings us to a question about the new coach not mentioned in either of his glowing cover stories in LEO or the Louisville Sports Report this week — how will the coach react when his players inevitably get in trouble?

Kragthorpe has already shown he’s willing to take a chance on players with checkered pasts, as long as they’re promising talents. He recruited Willie Williams, until now more famous for his string of arrests in high school than for anything he did on the field in a season at Miami. In Tulsa, Kragthorpe was hailed for running a “clean, no-nonsense operation” in the local paper. He seems to be willing to give Spillman the benefit of the doubt as well, but I wouldn’t want to be the next Cardinal to see his name on a police blotter.

Cover Boy

Kragthorpe’s the natural subject for the first football issue of the Louisville Sports Report, which is operating under new ownership since a court case earlier this year settled a dispute between the paper’s founder, Ron Steiner, and his former business partner Jack Coffey, who is now the publisher. The fan rag is distributed through U of L to a number of boosters and on newsstands. The first issue is slicker than its predecessor, but regular readers will miss Steiner’s coverage, including his “Likes and Dislikes” column.

Steiner, meanwhile, is writing the column in near obscurity for Louisville.com. A beloved figure on campus, Steiner has suffered with some health issues in the last year, but is spot-on in his knowledge of the Cardinals. Let’s hope he recovers and returns to the press box soon. Steiner’s work also appears in the Voice-Tribune, and he is the Red behind the Red and Blue Review show on cable.