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Call of Duty Trips Louisville, Says Strong

An inability to keep to convert on third down, two painful turnovers, one missed interception and costly penalties seemed to be the primary factors behind Louisville’s 21-14 loss to Pittsburgh on Saturday. But to Charlie Strong, the Cardinals lost the game before it was even played. The game was over, according to Strong, on Tuesday — the Cardinals lost the moment Call of Duty 3: Modern Warfare hit the shelves at video game stores in Louisville. Preparation time, therefore, took a backseat to Xbox and PlayStation.

Honesty is so refreshing, isn’t it? And here come the jokes: Rick Perry got his Call of Duty early, just before his gaffe at the Republican Presidential debate last week; Kentucky football got its copy in September; America got its copy in mid-2007; the Redskins got theirs in 1993. The last joke, painfully, is my contribution.

Honesty is refreshing, but this goes a little too far: Strong, in only his second year with the Cardinals, violated the central tenet of coach speak. Don’t tell the whole truth. Tell the truth, but don’t tell the whole story.

Your team wasn’t prepared? That’s not O.K. in the big picture, but it’s O.K. to admit. “I didn’t get my team ready to go.” Get ‘em next time, coach. “The team seemed distracted.” Well, that’s on them. Better run ‘em at practice this week, make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Your team lost its mental edge because of a video game? You keep that one under your hat, coach. Your quote runs like this: “The team didn’t seem to have its mental edge.” It cuts off after that; if you have any feeling that a video game actually forced your team to lose its mental focus, well, save that for the locker room.

This was an instance of coach speak gone awfully, terribly wrong. And Louisville: come on. Seriously? The Cardinals, 3-1 in the Big East entering Saturday’s game against Pittsburgh, took the field knowing that a win, combined with a Cincinnati loss to West Virginia, put them in the B.C.S. driver’s seat.

And that’s the bottom line: playing video games may have cost Louisville millions of B.C.S. dollars. That’s not going to make the Louisville brass happy. At least Strong learned a valuable lesson — or a few valuable lessons, actually.

Electronic bans can extend beyond Twitter. Strong may revoke his team’s cell phone privileges, television privileges, driving privileges and video game privileges. In addition, here’s guessing Strong sticks to platitudes — our guys played hard, we’ll take it one game at a time, give 110 percent — over the next few weeks.

Painful. Maybe a little embarrassing, even if this isn’t something that will hang around for more than a day or two. But at least that video game is supposed to be pretty good, right?

You can also follow Paul Myerberg and Pre-Snap Read on Twitter.

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  1. Lee says:

    So that’s what happened to my Gators!! I knew something just didn’t add up. Now I can sleep at night.

  2. Woodysc says:

    But the game doesn’t release in Pittsburgh until next week? No (video)gamers in Pitt?

  3. Dave says:

    To be fair, Paul, Call of Duty 3 IS a great game…

  4. BobJ says:

    One way I prevent myself from taking college football too seriously is to remind myself is that all we’re doing is watching a bunch of kids running around playing a game. They’re really good at that game, but they’re still just a bunch of kids. More evidence.

  5. [...] Charlie Strong, I don’t think I would have said [...]

  6. HamDawg11 says:

    So I’m thinking UGA must not have many gamers according to their performance against Auburn on Saturday, they seemed to be pretty focused.

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