Louisville football gets Clemson, Florida State early

Lamar Jackson
Lamar Jackson

It’s going to take a while, if ever, for teams to figure out how to stop University of Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson. A possible lucky break in getting Florida State and Clemson early on the 2016 football schedule.

Yeah, we know Deshaun Watson returns next season at Clemson. We also know he runs in slow motion compared to Jackson. That could be a problem for Clemson against a veteran Louisville defense next season.

Louisville will square off against Florida State at home in week three and travel to Clemson two weeks later.  Get off to a good start this time around and it could be a special season for the Cardinals.

“This another challenging schedule overall,” head coach Bobby Petrino said. “We have six teams who played in bowl games last season and three teams that finished the year ranked in the top 25. We have a lot of work to do before we start playing games, but with an experienced team returning, they understand the challenges ahead of them and know what kind of preparation is needed to be a successful football team.”

Houston is other nationally-ranked team on the 2016 schedule, on the road in the second-to-last game.

UofL will also play Duke, NC State, Wake Forest, Kentucky and Charlotte at home. The road schedule also includes Syracuse, Marshall, Virginia, and Boston College.

The 2016 football schedule:
Date Opponent Location Time
Thursday, Sept. 1 Charlotte PJCS TBA
Friday, Sept. 9 at Syracuse Syracuse TBA
Saturday, Sept. 17 Florida State PJCS TBA
Saturday, Sept. 24 at Marshall Huntington, WV TBA
Saturday, Oct. 1 at Clemson Clemson, SC TBA
Friday, Oct. 14 Duke PJCS TBA
Saturday, Oct. 22 NC State PJCS TBA
Saturday, Oct. 29 at Virginia Charlottesville, VA TBA
Saturday, Nov. 5 at Boston College Chestnut Hill, MA TBA
Saturday, Nov. 12 Wake Forest PJCS TBA
Saturday, Nov. 19 at Houston Houston TBA
Saturday, Nov. 26 Kentucky PJCS TBA
Saturday, Dec. 3 ACC Title Game Charlotte, NC TBA

Something to build on for Louisville football

Youth is an excuse for a while but it gets old quickly.

What a difference between the first and second halves for the University of Louisville defense, going from dominating the Florida State offense in the first half to getting flattened by the same unit in the second half.

The lasting impression from the first 30 minutes was that of a very aggressive UofL football team that had FSU quarterback Everett Golson running for cover. The kind of defense Louisville fans had been expecting from this year’s team, holding Florida State to zero net rushing yards and two field goals.

The letdown was so pronounced that it makes one wonder what may have occurred during the locker room at the intermission. More likely the UofL players were congratulating themselves, expecting more of the same in the second half but losing their edge, forgetting what gave their team a 7-6 lead at the half. Or maybe they were just spent, having exerted so much energy on a hot, muggy day in Tallahassee.

What they demonstrated in the first half was that this is a Louisville team with the potential to compete with top-level teams, playing inspired football, looking like a team capable of running the table the rest of the way. Unfortunately, they gave the impression in the second half that they will be lucky to achieve a winning record this season, much less getting to a bowl game.

Before writing off the rest of the season, however, one should acknowledge that Florida State is a good team with superior athletes, making the adjustments it needed to make in the second half. Dalvin Cook will definitely be playing on Sundays in the NFL, making some professional athletes look inept as well. Expect Florida State to have its way with Clemson and again go undefeated in the Atlantic Coast Conference this season.

Louisville, meanwhile, needs to get over that second half and focus on what is possible. Except for that second half against FSU, UofL was getting better in every game, in a position to win each of them.

What appears to be lacking right now is the kind of vocal leadership provided by players like Lorenzo Mauldin. Someone who set the example, giving everything he had and more, putting his body on the line, demanding his teammates do the same. Those leaders will have to surface this week if they are going to emerge.

Bobby Petrino should have the video for the first 30 minutes of the Florida State game running non-stop in the locker room this week. That’s the kind of effort he needs from this Louisville football team. But for 60 minutes. Every game.

Awestruck Louisville bows to Florida State

All the talk about Florida State’s past successes apparently getting to some members of the University of Louisville baseball team, tripping over their shoe laces in a 13-4 loss to FSU before a record crowd of 6,138 fans at Jim Patterson Stadium.

Even the best teams have bad losses. But this was one that could haunt the Cardinals as the season winds down, needing to prove themselves worthy of a national seed in NCAA tournament play.

Fears that Kyle Funkhouser would continue to struggle in the early innings were confirmed quickly, the UofL junior walking three batters and giving up three runs in the first inning. He would give up three more in the second.

Funkhouser throwing over 40 pitches in the first inning, still not finding his form. Taking too long to get comfortable in recent games. Finally settling down in the third, he would shut down the next eight hitters. By then the tenor of the game had been firmly established.

The pre-season All-American is losing confidence and control at the wrong time, prompting some serious concern about the all-important pitching rotation in the immediate future. The inability of once-starter Anthony Kidston, who was 14-1 in his first three seasons, to find the plate this year further complicates matters.