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Tag: Louisville football

Petrino making most of Louisville’s short week

September 29, 2014 0 Comments

No Monday press conference for Bobby Petrino, not with less than four days to prepare for the game at Syracuse on Friday.

Not a lot of time to work on the deficiencies but Petrino is fixated on eliminating some suicidal tendencies on the offensive side of the ball. “We have a tough schedule at the end of the season so it’s important we improve, and execute without hurting ourselves,” he said Saturday. “The first thing you have to do win a game is not beat ourselves. We’ve got to get rid of the turnovers, take care of the football, and get better technically. I like the way we ran the ball late in the game but we have lot more than one thing to do. That’s the problem.”Bobby-Petrino-1-8-14

The last thing any University of Louisville fan expected from a Bobby Petrino-coached team was one struggling on offense but who could have anticipated DeVante Parker or Michael Dyer getting injured, a major drop off in efficiency at quarterback, or the lack of effectiveness from a veteran offensive line?  Coupled with a new coaching staff and a different offensive philosophy, there was much to absorb for a unit that was largely content with consuming the clock last season.

Petrino appears to have been gifted with an extraordinary defense that has given up only 14 points per game. Of the 70 points yielded thus far, 66 of them have been the result of turnovers. Extraordinary really, considering the Cardinals lost nine starters on defense. But then this is the “light” part of the schedule, with the toughest tests yet to come.

Whether the defense is strong enough to keep Louisville in games while the offense continues at sputter remains to be seen. But we do know that Petrino is aware of what needs to be done and will make the best of the short week.Give him four days, and he will make the most of them. It’s becoming more and more obvious that living up to own expectations is a long-term effort.

Expect another grinder at Syracuse for now.

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The ACC has announced that the Louisville-Clemson game will be at 3:30 p.m. for Saturday, Oct. 11. The game will be televised on either ABC, ESPN or ESPNU, with a final decision coming after the outcome of games this weekend. In other words, UofL needs to win at Syracuse and Clemson has to win at North Carolina for the telecast not to be relegated to ESPNU.

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Nora Kiesler, a 6-foot-6 center from Louisville’s Assumption High, has verballed to play her college women’s basketball at Purdue, starting in 2015. Her name was mentioned in connection with UofL recruiting but not often. She was also scheduled to visit Kansas and Michigan State.

Louisville defense dissects Wake Forest in 20-10 win

September 27, 2014 0 Comments

Another grinder against a lower tier Atlantic Coast Conference team, the University of Louisville football team’s 20-10 win over Wake Forest Saturday in front of 51,463 fans at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.

Similar to a number of games in the American Athletic Conference last season, the sleep-inducing, slow-motion yawners, Saturday’s game reminiscent of the challenges Charlie Strong faced getting points on the scoreboard. Maybe he wasn’t so conservative after all?

Brandon Radliff

Brandon Radclliff

If Bobby Petrino, oft described as an “offensive genius” is having the same problem, there are some things to be worked out. And it could require some time, like maybe a recruiting class or two. The UofL coach admits the offensive unit isn’t performing at a high level, something painfully obvious the last three games.

“We kept killing ourselves,” Petrino said of his offense after Saturday’s game. “We’re still a work in progress.”

He gave thanks for having an impressive defensive effort, UofL allowing Wake Forest only seven first downs, converting only two of 16 third down attempts, and only 100 yards of total offense. Lorenzo Mauldin would tie his career high of three sacks and Gerod Holliman would make his sixth interception this season.

Reggie Bonnafon, stepping in for the injured Will Gardner at quarterback, was more than adequate despite a number of rookie mistakes, including a fumble on his one yard line allowing Wake Forest to score its only touchdown. Nice to see some mobility for a change, Bonnafon escaping several breakdowns in protection, turning some broken plays into gainers. He would be credited with 46 yards rushing while completing 16 of 32 passes for 206 yards.

Remember Brandon Radclliff, the hard-charging 5-foot-9 redshirt freshman listed as the fourth-string running back? Lots of fun to watch in mop-up duty up to now. He would finally get his chance Saturday and he would make the most of it, gaining 130 yards on 17 carries and two touchdowns.

Leading rusher Dominique Brown would get pulled early after gaining a net total of one yard on three carries, and fumbling one of them, giving the ball to Wake Forest. Michael Dyer would carry 14 times for 41 yards.

Not quite living up to the season’s expectations thus far, but UofL will be 4-1 going into Friday night’s game at Syracuse.

Added incentives for Bonnafon and Louisville’s offensive line

September 24, 2014 2 Comments

Expect Reggie Bonnafon to be behind the ballsnapper when the University of Louisville football team takes on Wake Forest Saturday. Will Gardner is on crutches, hasn’t practiced this week.

Seemed to be just a matter of time for Bonnafon when it became evident that Gardner has had issues moving his team’s offense . The porous offensive line wasn’t helping him much, but his lack of mobility was obvious and may have been a factor in the injury that sidelined him.

Reggie Bonnafoon

Reggie Bonnafoon

What the offense needs right now is a more resilient quarterback, with the instincts and speed to counter the constant blitzes that will be thrown at UofL by opposing defenses. Whether Bonnafon is that person remains to be seen, but he exhibited those qulaities during his senior year in high school. Trinity consistently plays a good schedule against strong competition, a factor that will work in his favor.

In his first high school start at quarterback against a strong Tennessee Ensworth team, Bonnafon completed 16-of-24 passes for 215 yards and a touchdown in a nationally televised game. Later, against Indianapolis Carmel, he competed 18 of 22 passes for 283 yards and two touchdowns while adding  another 62 yards on 15 carries for an additional two scores on the ground.

In first game at UofL, Bonnafon rushed for two touchdowns and passed for another against an inferior Murray State team. However, he was ineffective in the loss against Virginia the follow week, unable to move the ball at all for two quarters. His first game against a serious oppoment had to be a real eye opener.

Two days later his father died, a man who probably saw every single game in which his son had participated. Reggie said last week he was dedicating his career to his father and he will be focused. A whole new perspective for him, new ways of looking at things, knowing what his dad wanted for him.

“When I come back, I’m coming back harder than ever,” Reggie told the Courier-Journal. “I’ll play for him.”

Coach Bobby Petrino has yet to confirm that Bonnafon will start, but he’s probably just keeping the Wake Forest coaching staff guessing. The guess here is that Petrino may have already made a decision to go in another direction before the game ended at Florida International.

The offensive linemen, who were unable to protect Gardner, is hearing all the criticism, much of which has been coming from the coaches during a grueling week of practice.Protecting the quarterback is their No. 1 responsbility and they’ve already lost one. They had better be highly motivated or they risk having every week be hell week the rest of the season.

Plenty of motivation to go around if Reggie Bonnafon makes his starting debut.

Adidas goes extraterrestial for Louisville football against Florida State

September 22, 2014 7 Comments

Screenshot 2014-09-22 10.59.33

The uniforms the University of Louisville football team will wear against Florida State would make the Cantina characters in Star Wars jealous.

Halloween Eve don’t you know? Don’t be surprised if Chewbacca and Hans Solo aren’t staggering around on the party deck, along with Jabba the Hutt, Darth Vader and Greedo.

Greedo

Greedo

Adidas tells us the uniform is the only true compression uniform system in the industry, with Shockweb fabric fitting tighter to the body, making players more difficult to tackle. “Techfit Shockweb is lighter, helping to make the player fast and increasing his range of motion to support the athlete’s performance at the highest levels.”

The grey uniform will feature camoflauge accents and a chrome red Cardinals logo. A large, Old English “L” covers the chest of the compression base layer, while the jersey will feature lightweight, carbon black lettering and numbering outlined in bold red.

Heavy stuff for purist football fans who are more interested in good football than gadgetry and gimmicks. But probably the ultimate for a younger generation of players and fans who seem to put as much stock in the apparel as they do in personalities and talents of the people who are the game changers. The more they tamper with the shoes, the gaudier the look, some basketball players resembling clown with their clodhoppers.

Sprintframe cleats.

Sprintframe cleats.

Adidas says the shoes for the uniform come “with the lightest cleat in the game at 6.7 ounces. The cleat has a Sprintski upper with Shockweb reinforcement and a Sprintframe plate that provides maximum acceleration and multi-directional traction.”

All the extra advantages could offset some of the deficiencies in the UofL offense, which will be helpful if Florida State is still No. 1 and undefeated when it comes to Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.

 

James Quick makes leap from potential to indispensable for Louisville football

September 21, 2014 0 Comments

Took a while, but James Quick may have arrived.JQ

Quick was not a quick study, making only six catches and some memorable drops during a disappointing freshman year last season. Disappointing because he was a five-star recruit, an elite propect, expected to be an immediate threat.

Flash forward to the fourth game of his sophomore season, a week after he was involved in a muffed punt that led to Louisville’s only loss this season.

Fortunately for the Cardinals, Quick had a career day against Florida International, with seven catches for 174 yards and two touchdowns. He added 61 yards on seven punt returns for a total of 235 yards for the game.

Quick couldn’t have chosen a better time to emerge. Despite the 34  points on the University of Louisville’s side of the scoreboard, the offense was struggling, managing only 12 yards rushing and 324 yards passing.  He wants the ball, demands it, and he’s going to be seeing a lot of more of it this season.

His highlight video against FIU, courtesy of the ACC:

Holliman steals spur Louisville’s 34-3 rout of FIU

September 20, 2014 0 Comments

One long game, a trying experience, prolonged by a mix of inclement weather and inconsistent football.

The University of Louisville’s offense is the opposite extreme of the defense thus far. The ultimate success of this year’s season is likely be more of a reflection of Todd Grantham’s direction than Bobby Petrino’s hallmark.

UofL’s 34-3 win over Florida International was much closer than the score indicates, with the final outcome largely influenced by two consecutive Gerod Holliman’s interceptions. 2-Louisville-vs.-Florida-International

Until Holliman made his first pick of an Alex McGough pass, taking it 32 yards to the end zone, the UofL offense was struggling. Thanks to the lack of much protection from his offensive line, Will Gardner was running for his life again.

Holliman would then make his second consecutive interception of the day, and Petrino was ready to pounce on the shaken FIU defense. UofL would tack on two more touchdowns in the final two minutes and seven seconds, taking a 28-0 lead to the lockerroom at half time.

Despite completing two touchdown passes, Gardner was still feeling his way out there. Lacking much mobility, he’s still getting passes deflected, going down too easily, and giving up the ball too often. Still not taking advantage of his size, more mannequin than macho. His deficiencies are made worse by the fact that he’s not getting much protection from his offensive line.

James Quick, meanwhile, is going in the opposite direction, gaining confidence, taking advantage of his five-star capabilities, finding gaping holes in the FIU defense, scoring two touchdowns on 74-yard and 37-yard pass plays.

Gardner failed to get up following his final sack with six minutes remaining in the third quarter, and no information has been forthcoming.

Louisville’s Mauldin over loss quickly, not concerned, wants to move on

September 15, 2014 3 Comments

Lorenzo Mauldin

Bobby Petrino doesn’t have to look far for leadership on defense.

Although Lorenzo Mauldin claims he’s not a verbal leader, he’s obviously the one that gets his teammates fired up — whether it be in the pre-game huddles where he’s yelling and dancing around or during games when he’s aggressively attacking opposing quarterbacks.

Mauldin said he put the Virginia loss behind him immediately after the game. “You can’t think about your losses,” he said during Monday’s press conference. “You have to keep moving forward.”

He seemed to suggest that the first road game may have been an eye-opener for some of his teammates. “Some guys are going to be under little bit more pressure than others,” he said. “You have to keep telling those guys you have to overcome the losses and step up next time.”

Mauldin was pleased with the way the defense played, allowing Virginia a total of only 280 yards offensively. “Our defense is always going to fly around to the ball. We’re a fast, aggressive defense and I’m very pleased with the way we played.”

Leadership seems to come naturally to him. “I like to lead by example. Just keep a smile on your face. Don’t worry about the down points.”

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Petrino wasn’t pleased with the offensive preparation for the game, sensing a lack of intensity last week, his comments suggesting there may have been a lack of respect for Virginia.

He said the quarterback usually gets more than his share of the blame but he felt there was a letdown at all 11 positions during the actual game.  “We had a good opening drive but then we basically had two-and-a-half quarters where we weren’t operating and executing and doing the things that we need to do.  When you watch the video, it’s all 11 guys … Part of it is our protections and our breakdowns. Part of it is our routes not being where they’re supposed to be or our not getting ball there. When you’re not executing the way you should, certain things show up play after play.

“Defensively, I thought we played well. We shut down a lot of things but we did give a couple of big plays that wind up haunting you at the end of the game.  We put our defense in a lot of bad situations but the defense did a good job of keeping them out of the end zone, getting turnovers and making a lot of really good plays.”

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The UofL coach said he has not heard anything from the conference about the pushing and shoving that occurred at the end of the half, resulting in off-setting penalties. Doubtful any further action will be forthcoming.

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Contrary to what most of us thought we saw on that fumbled punt return, Petrino said James Quick actually ran into Michaelee Harris — not the other way around — knocking the ball loose on a play that could have locked up the win. “Quick did a nice job overall. He made a couple of nice returns. He continues to get better.”

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Before the press conference, Petrino announced that Reggie Bonnafon’s father, Wallace, had passed away early Monday, the coach requesting prayers for the family.

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