Kragthorpe: Injury talk can only hurt

Steve Kragthorpe doesn't discuss injuries to his players unless they are of the season-ending variety. And he's got two pretty good reasons why he doesn't.

Steve Kragthorpe doesn't discuss injuries to his players unless they are of the season-ending variety. And he's got two pretty good reasons why he doesn't.

There was a lot of discussion after last Thursday's season-opening, 73-10, victory over Murray State why several players, including linebacker Willie Williams and defensive tackle L.T. Walker, didn't see action against the Racers.

After the game, Kragthorpe wouldn't explain or elaborate on the reasons why Williams and Walker or defensive linemen L.D. Scott and Michael Adams didn't play. Monday, though, Kragthorpe said his team came out of the first game in "good" shape health-wise and that he is hopeful that everyone will be ready to go Thursday night against Middle Tennessee State.

"We're good," Kragthorpe said. "We had no season ending injuries (against Murray State). We've had one season-ending injury to Zach Meagher in training camp. He's going to have to have surgery. So he's out for the year. But other than that, hopefully everybody will be available for Thursday night."

Is Kragthorpe's no-injury talk philosophy unique in college football? According to the Louisville coach, his philosophy is hardly revolutionary.

Steve Kragthorpe's has two good
reasons why he doesn't disclose injuries.

"It's not unique at all," Kragthorpe said. "A lot of coaches in Division 1 football employ the same philosophy. I basically got it from Bill Snyder when he was at Kansas State and there are numerous coaches who employ the same philosophy."

So why does Kragthorpe favor the cloak and dagger approach when it comes to discussing – or not discussing – injuries?

"It's two-fold," he said. "Number one, I have sons that play football and let's say one of my son's sprains his left ankle and I disclose that he has a sprained left ankle. What do you think is going to happen on the first series of the game? They're going to go after his sprained left ankle. So I have a hard time facing a parent if I've given out that information that I would not want that information given out about my son.

"The second thing is the competitive advantage. If we feel like it helps us not to disclose injuries to our opponent by not letting them know who is and who isn't going to play then that's an advantage for us. If they know a certain player is not going to play in the game they can redesign their game plan. But the main reason is I don't want to put these young men in any harm's way and I don't ever want a parent to say to me ‘Coach, why would you have told them that my son had an injured left shoulder? That's exactly what they tried to do was hurt his left shoulder in the first series of the ball game."

And while Kragthorpe won't talk about his team's injury problems, he does pay close attention to his opponent's bumps and bruises.

"That's one of the things that I do during pregame warm-ups," Kragthorpe said. "I'm checking the (opponent's)depth chart, seeing what guys are available and looking for tape – seeing if a guy has one ankle taped and the other isn't, if he's got one elbow taped and the other isn't, or if he's got one knee brace and the other doesn't. You're looking for all those things to hopefully give you a competitive advantage."

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