Pushing Past the Penalties

Jody Demling hosted the “The Early Birds” morning radio show on 790 WKRD for two years. Now, the former Courier-Journal high school and recruiting writer keeps busy by running CardinalAuthority.com, the UofL fan site in the Scout.com family. Demling still hosts “The Cardinal Insider” each week day from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on 790 WKRD, and you can also hear him filling in during UofL football and basketball broadcasts.

Do you miss not having a morning radio show?
I miss not having a morning radio show, but I don’t miss having to get up in the morning if that makes sense.

How big of an adjustment was that?
It was huge. I told Howie Lindsey, who is hosting that show now, that he’ll feel the adjustment. This time of year it’s not as big of a deal, but once football comes and you’re at a football game – I remember being at the Florida State game, writing my stuff and doing videos and being there until 2 or 3 in the morning, and then getting right back up at 5:30 the next morning and having to be on the air and be coherent for a few hours. That’s the thing, it’s not just that you’re up – you have to be coherent and actually think clearly for three hours.

Jody Demling.

Jody Demling.

You have seen this UofL football team a lot during the spring, how good are they?
I think the defense is the strength. I think the defense is way further along than I’ve ever seen a defense in spring, and they still don’t have some of their parts. Devonte Fields, Trevon Young and DeAngelo Brown were out for a few days. With that said, I’m also very impressed with the offense because of the different things that they’re doing – some of the stuff that we see that we didn’t see last year.

What is different about the offense?
Lamar Jackson throwing the ball down the field. Reggie Bonnafon playing all different positions. I think Traveon Samuel is going to be a breakout guy this year. While the defense is further along and I think is the strength, the offense has been impressive because I think they’ve come so far this spring.

Will Lamar Jackson, at some point in his UofL career, be a legitimate Heisman Trophy contender?
I think he definitely will. I think he’ll do enough this year to create that excitement, and really it all depends on four games this year for Louisville. If UofL can win three of their four biggest games – and I’m throwing the last two with Houston and Kentucky in there with Clemson and Florida State – if they can win three or four of those games, I think he puts himself into a category nationally where he can be a Heisman guy.

How severe do you think the penalties will be from the NCAA for the men’s basketball program?
I think, in my opinion, unless something else comes out, unless there’s something else we don’t know or something else that they find from here on out, I think we’ve seen pretty much everything. I do think there will be some kind of suspension, something going forward that says, “You can’t do this again and if you do, it’s going to be even harsher than the penalties that you have self-imposed.” I think that we’ve seen most of the penalties that we are going to see.

How restrictive are the self-imposed penalties as far as recruiting?
The official visits are not a big deal. They’ve only used an average of nine the last five years from what I understand. That’s not a big deal; plus, if you’re losing a scholarship, you aren’t going to have a bunch of visits anyway. With the 30 recruiting days taken away, I think that will be a factor. Coach Pitino doesn’t really like to recruit in April anyway. He’s not big on that. It’s so far out, and so many things can change. When they changed that rule, he wasn’t one of the guys that was in favor of it. For them to take out this April, while it is a big deal, in the grand scheme of things, they only have one, potentially two, scholarships in the 2017 class. They are ahead of the game. They know who they want.They’ve got the guys targeted. They’ve told those guys, “We’ll see you in July.” It’s not any of those guys are not going to come to Louisville because they’re not there in April.

How good is V.J. King, and how much of an impact will he make next season?
I thing V.J. King, on last year’s team, would probably have been maybe the second or third best player on the team. I think next year he’s got a chance to be the best player on the team. There’s going to be that freshman adjustment.

In your opinion will Chinanu Onuaku be back?
I think Nanu will come back so that will make him the best, but I do think V.J. has got a chance to be one of the best players on the team. He has a chance to be one of the best freshmen that we’ve seen in Rick Pitino’s tenure here at Louisville.

The team this season was better than most people thought they would be, with Deng Adel, Donovan Mitchell and Ray Spalding improving, Onuaku and King potentially. Do you expect them to be better next season?
I do, and people forget about Puerto Rico. These freshmen now are not just freshmen. They actually have an extra period there where they went through practices and those Puerto Rico games. So by the end of their freshmen year, they were technically, on their clock, already into their sophomore year. This class is more advanced than any class we’ve seen because of that trip. It came at the right time. With that said, they’ve got to make improvements in the off season, and I think that Deng, Ray and Donovan, they’ve got a work ethic that’s way up there as well. VT