Keeping Up With Elvis

Elvis Dumervil continues to do for the Denver Broncos in the NFL what he did best for Louisville on the collegiate level. Through nine games, Elvis has 28 tackles (23 solo), seven sacks (43 yds.), an interception (27 yds.), six passes defensed, four forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. Elvis still thinks he can do much better, as he told the Denver Post this week:

Denver Post: You’ve earned the right to receive double teams now. But in your young career, is there a blocker out there who gives you fits?

Dumervil: I’ve been blessed with the ability to beat blockers. I’ve never had issue with that. My issue in my early years was I’d come in a little too excited and I couldn’t always get the quarterback down. So I learned how to come in with control. My main thing now is, when I was in college I was able to force fumbles. And I haven’t been able to carry that over quite yet, so that’s kind of frustrating for me. My main goal is when I get there, I’ve got to create turnovers. That’s what I’m working on now.

Apparently there aren’t too many blockers giving Elvis fits, or he just didn’t want to answer the question. Is he ever missed or what?

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The U of L Women’s volleyball team saw its 13-game win streak halted Sunday as they lost 3-1 to Notre Dame at South Bend by scores of 30-28, 30-16, 25-30, 30-28. The Cardinals finish the regular season at 20-5 and 13-1 in Big East play.

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The U of L men’s soccer team tied West Virginia 2-2 at Cardinal Park. The Cards finished 13-5-1 on the season. They will find out Monday whether an NCAA tournament bid is forthcoming. Pairings will be announced on ESPNews at 5:30 p.m.

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Darius Ashley Watch

U of L recruit Darius Ashley carried for 85 yards on 14 carries in the first half Saturday as his Cincinnati St. Xavier team defeated Centerville 31-6 in the Ohio state high school football playoffs. Ashley scored on a 13-yarder. He didn’t play in the second half after St. X built a 31-0 first half lead, and substituted liberally in the second half. The unbeaten Bombers (12-0) are No. 1 in Ohio and No. 5 in USA Today polling.

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Rick Pitino Is Calling

Watch for a message from Rick Pitino on your answering machine. He’s making automated calls to all football and basketball season ticket holders. The message is simple: He wants the Louisville section packed during the John Wooden Classic in Indianapolis.

The Cardinals will face Purdue in the roundball classic on Dec. 15 at Conseco Fieldhouse. Tickets are available in five levels for the doubleheader: $65 for lower corners and end zone seats, $50 for mid-club level seats in the corners and end zone, $20 for upper level balcony side court seats and $10 for upper level seats in the corners and end zone. Tipoff for the game is at 3:30 p.m.

No, Rick doesn’t expect a return call. Buy tickets in person at Papa John’s stadium or call 852-5151.

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Wherefore Art Thou Going Offense?

People who closely follow other college football teams have to wonder whether Louisville fans are nuts when they talk about a lack of offense in a game where the Cardinals put 31 points on the scoreboard — or when they praise a defense that gave up 38 points in the most recent outing.

This kind of season will do that to people. Fans want U of L to do well so much that they will contradict themselves, seeing good in bad and bad in good. Who knows what’s up or down after when you’re forced to constantly second guess everything?

Fans aren’t the only ones confused. On his blog, Eric Crawford, of The Courier-Journal, expresses bewilderment about U of L’s offense against WVU:

“Did it do anything tonight that you didn’t expect? Did it do anything that it hasn’t done all season? Was there any indication that anything special had been prepared to counter the WVU defense, or just to surprise it, during a 12-day runup to this game?

“I don’t have to wait for an answer. To all of those, the proper response is, ‘No.’

“The problem I have with this offense isn’t in the plays it runs. It’s in how it is conceived. Nothing seems to build toward anything else.”

Join the club, Eric. Just as U of L fans thought they were becoming pretty savvy about the game, they are introduced to a brand of football totally foreign to everything they’ve ever seen.

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West Virginia Vignettes

You just know that many cynics and doubters among the local fan base were watching in disbelief, having convinced themselves that U of L had absolutely no chance against West Virginia. Yet the outcome was very much up in the air with less than two minutes on the clock. Maybe, just maybe, this coaching staff isn’t as bad as some people seem to believe.

Some impressions from the game:

— The defense has steadily improved as the season has progressed. One got the feeling they were finally getting the hang of it. With the exception of the Pat White escape at 1:36, they seemed to be actually having fun out there for a change.

— Chris Fowler, of the ESPN broadcast team, made an excellent point about the previous head coach over-recruiting on the offensive side. Some key players on the defensive side were offensive stars in high school and had never had to make tackles or disrupt passes. They are learning on the job.

— Rod Council does his job well, as was obvious on the pass deflection that was called pass interference and led to West Virginia’s second touchdown.

— Lamar Myles and Deon Palmer, now that is ferocity! Turned the Mountaineer offense into a bad juggling act at times.

— George Stripling showed some glimpses of why fans thought he would be special before last season. If he sees daylight, he is difficult to stop. However, he dropped several screen passes that could have keyed an upset. Also, he’s never going to run through or over anybody.

— Where was Bilal Powell? Were we just imagining how talented a runner he is or was that just wishful thinking on our part?

— Maybe Brock Bolen didn’t see more action because he was misreading blitzes and missing key blocks, putting Brohm in jeopardy. Let’s hope it was just a bad day. U of L needs his brawn in the backfield.

It’s too easy to nitpick the coaching decisions, particularly on offense where the play calling is much too predictable. One has to give the coaching staff credit for putting U of L in a position to win a game in which all the experts thought they were so outmatched.

Was the U of L defense that much improved tonight or were they merely pumped up with adrenaline playing a top 10 team? The answer to this question could help determine whether the Cards chalk up any more wins this season.

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