Yes in one week I have gone from showing me Louisville Football is back to just showing me something…
The one thing that Coach Strong established again quickly when he took over was confidence and a winning attitude. During his time at Louisville, he had his team believing they could play and beat anybody and anywhere. His teams were world beaters. We’ve got to get that confidence back.
I’ve seen the Cardinals finish just one season with that type of confidence/swagger since Coach Strong left. The 2015 group won 6 of the last seven games including that big win against A&M in the Bowl game. That group finished as world beaters. Hey Coach Satterfield stop giving me excuses and give me some of that.
I’m hoping that the game Friday night brings out more of a winning attitude and spirit from this team. I saw individual plays in the Syracuse game that showed some attitude but nothing as far as the team as a whole. We heard all offseason of a team refocused and a team committed to being better. They came out and did a belly flop. And not a very good one. It sure knocked the air out of me.
This game is another opportunity for this Louisville Football team to show me a winning attitude or any attitude at all. Just show me that you want to win more than I want you to win. Just show me something. Louisville Football fans are back in. We are talking the talk now it’s time for that dog to bark. Or at least yap a little.
By my count, there are 16 guys on the Louisville roster from Florida. Not as many as it used to be but still a lot of dudes from that area. Families are going to be at this game. Grandma is going to be at this game. They are going to know guys on the UCF roster and there are going to be some rivalries playing out on the field.
Games against the Florida schools usually evoke special energy as a result of these personal connections and rivalries. If this team doesn’t respond to this energy on Friday night this might become Chicken Littles Beak preview next week.
Instead of talking football this week, it was everyone telling their version of how this coaching staff and the team have put themselves behind the eight ball.
The Cardinals have lost 3 of their last 5 road games. Now they go on the road again to play a team that has won each of their last 8 at home and been one of the best home teams in the country over the last five years or so. UCF hasn’t lost at home since November 2020 and looks to be on a path to another solid season.
UCF has a big-time playmaker at quarterback in Rhys Plumlee. He is completing 64.5 percent of his passes for 308 yards, 4 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions. He also leads the team with 86 yards and 1 rushing touchdown. The Louisville defense had no answer for the Cuse QB on Saturday. Don’t know how they will contain this guy.
Monty Montgomery leads the Louisville defense coming in with 8 tackles along with Ashton Gillotte with 1.5 sacks. We are going to need to see other signs of life in this unit to contain Plumlee and the Gus Malzahn-led offense. You can bet he wants to score and score a lot.
Speaking of signs of life… Earth to Lance Taylor… Earth to Lance Taylor… 7 points brah? Coming into this season I had no worries about an offense that added two studs during the offseason. The Newcomers Tyler Hudson and Tiyon Evans each performed well in their UofL debut. Hudson caught eight passes for 102 yards, while Evans rushed 13 times for 89 yards, scoring the lone touchdown on a 36-yard rush in the first quarter.
While Malik was just over 150 yards passing with two interceptions and other contributors like Huggins-Bruce and Marshon Ford were a non-factor.
These guys can not be a nonfactor in this game. If we don’t hear our studs names called repeatedly Louisville football will be headed to an 0-2 home opener against Florida State.
This Louisville team might come out like men possessed and still fall short in this game. UCF is that tough at home. But if they give me any type of sign that they believe in themselves it will be a start. We are still waiting for them to start something.
Show me a sign of life Friday night Louisville Football. Go Cards!
Louisville has one of the toughest schedules in college football this season and it doesn’t start easy either. The first game of the year can always be a challenge in its own right but when you have to play a conference game that can be tricky.
It is often the unknown that can be a problem in the first game of the season but with this Syracuse team, it’s what we know about them that says this will be an interesting game.
This Syracuse team has playmakers at all three levels of the offense. A great dual-threat QB in Garrett Shrader who led the Orange last year with 1,445 yards and 9 scores on just 53% passing while also rushing for 781 yards and 14 TDs.
They also have one of the best RBs in the country Sean Tucker who rushed for almost 1,500 yards with 12 touchdowns and 9 100-yard games last season. He is going to challenge the Louisville defense at every level.
Cuse has a set of very capable WRs. Courtney Jackson returns as Syracuse’s leading receiver after putting up 37 catches last season while Damien Alford reeled off 19 YPC last season.
The Cuse will also be sporting a formidable defense on Saturday. Led by a pair of great LB’s. Stefon Thompson and Marlowe Wax combined for 11 sacks while Mikel Johnson had a team-high 110 tackles and 4 sacks in his last season.
They also have a solid secondary that may see a former Cardinal make an appearance. Now on the Cuse roster, Bralyn Oliver is a 6-foot-2, 209-pound defensive back that had yet to play a down for Louisville. He was an early enrollee this past January and was named as the backup free safety behind Kenderick Duncan in Louisville’s pre-fall camp depth chart.
Louisville will have its hands full with this Cuse team in the season opener. But with a solid core of returning players and playmakers added the Cardinals must take care of business. With the renewed excitement around this program, you can’t start the season with a loss.
I mentioned that unknowns can play a big part in the first game of the season. One of the unknowns in this game is how all of the playmakers added to the Louisville defense and offense will perform on Saturday.
On offense, the biggest add in the off-season from the portal is former Tennessee RB Tiyon Evans. This dude ripped off 300 yards of offense and four touchdowns in back-to-back games last October and was averaging 6.5 yards a carry as the Vol’s leading rusher.
Evan’s numbers went down after an ankle injury that eventually shut down his season. If Evans can make the impact most expect it will bold well for the game on Saturday and the season.
Another big add at the skill positions is WR Tyler Hudson who had 1,229 yards, and 8 touchdowns with 19.8 yards per catch last season for Central Arkansas. He helps make up a receiving corps with a ton of potential.
Perhaps the biggest unknown in this game Saturday is the Louisville defense. It got shredded at the end of last season in back-to-back games and folded with its back against the wall all season.
As a result Coach, Satt and staff hit the transfer portal especially hard in the secondary, bringing in Jarvis Brownlee (30 tackles, 2 INTs, 3 passes defended in ‘21) from Florida State, MJ Griffin (47 tackles, 4 passes defended in ‘21) from Temple and Quincy Riley (24 tackles, 5 INT’s, 9 passes defended in ‘21) from Middle Tennessee.
There is not a defensive unit in the country that needs to get off to a good start more than this Louisville group. With the guys added and Yassir Abdullah (43 tackles, 10 sacks in ‘21) returning at linebacker, Ashton Gillette (19 tackles, 4 sacks in ‘21) returning as a solid pass-rushing defensive end, and Kei’Trel Clark (30 tackles, 3 INTs, 9 passes defended in ‘21) returning to the Louisville secondary I feel good about that.
I do think this game is decided by the unknown so haven’t even mentioned some of the known. I know that Louisville has a “cheat code” in Malik Cunningham. But think in this game he will be more decoy than detrimental to the outcome. There have been words between Malik and that Cuse Linebacking Corps… They will have their eyes all over him.
Jalen Mitchell will also be lurking in the Louisville backfield. Back after leading all of the Cardinals’ running backs with 722 rushing yards and 5 TDs last season. I expect a big game from this guy on Saturday. Already proved can put the team on his back.
Other knowns but not mentioned… Louisville has also emphasized improving special teams. I didn’t research this but do expect to see improvement on Saturday. In games like this, this unit could be the difference. And hope to see a solid day from talented WR Braden Smith who returns after an injury-plagued 2021 season. Think he could have a big play or two.
Hope we see a lot of big plays from the guys in the Red chrome helmets. Hope I’m wrong about Malik and he torches those Cuse linebackers for 400 yards and 8 touchdowns to start the Heisman hype. Maybe another leap!
Louisville has always had its way with Cuse. I think they will Saturday.