By Tom Stosberg

Sportswriters and opposing coaches think the University of Louisville football team will finish no better than eighth in the Big East this season.  Oh, the doom and gloom of it all.

But there is hope. I’ll tell you what it is as long as you promise to keep it a secret from anyone who roots against U of L.  You see,  the hope is based on one asset the Cards have that I have yet to hear a single soul mention.


An interesting concept, and here’s how it could work.  First, Louisville’s new offense is designed to work mostly on speed. The passing game requires that the linemen hold the rush for no more than a couple of seconds because it’s a “speed” offense in which the ball is out extremely fast.  This could be lethal IF the Cards can master the execution before the first game.  And two speed backs, Victor Anderson and Bilal Powell, need only a few inches of daylight.


Moving Darius Ashley to cornerback was a great move.  Besides his raw speed, Ashley is both intelligent and teachable.


Now comes the critical part of the concept  – defense.  Success this season rests on the shoulders of four  rotating defensive tackles: Tim High, Randy Salmon, Greg Scruggs and one more yet-to-be-decided fourth D-Tackle.  If ( and that is a huge “if”) this group is successful at holding down the middle of the defensive line, then wonderful things can happen because of the aforementioned speed.

U of L has excellent speed at every defensive position but not a whole lot of depth. They could be dangerous from the edges. Rodney Gnat, Malcolm Tatum and William Savoy are three defensive ends with excellent speed. Moving Darius Ashley to cornerback was a great move.  Besides his raw speed, Ashley is both intelligent and teachable.

If the other CB, Johnny Patrick gets his head back on straight, the Cards would really be able to “bring it from the edge” for the first time in over three years.Linebackers Brandon Heath, Dexter Heyman and C.J. Peake all have experience and guess what else – speed.  At safety, Terrence Simien is the real deal and he can fly.

Defensive Coordinator, Vance Bedford, is well aware of how speed can cover a multitude of sins.  Bedford’s very young and inexperienced defensive backfield at Florida last year performed extremely well last year, proving that Bedford knows how to teach.

Go to practice at 5:30 p.m. Friday and watch these kids. It’s the last open practice. Strong and Bedford have them flying to the ball. They might not be as skilled, knowledgeable or experienced as they are going to be, but they are incredibly focused on doing whatever it takes to please the coaches because the players like, respect and believe in them.

For now, that attitude and just plain speed might enough to do surprising things for our Cardinals.

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By Tom Stosberg

Tom Stosberg and his wife, Linda, also an active participant on this site, have been U of L fans for nearly 40 years. Tom is self-employed by MarketFit, Inc., an outsource marketing advisory. Tom worked in radio, television and advertising for 35+ years. His web site is located at

10 thoughts on “Speed may be a potent ingredient in Louisville’s recovery”
  1. Speed is great, but it only goes so far, especially on defense. You have to be able to tackle effectively…and last year’s Cards had significant problems with that.

    You also have to be able to create a pass rush and although speed helps with that, you still need guys who can “blow up” the opposing offensive linemen and break up the pocket.

    What this team needs, more than anything and especially on defense, is guys who can make plays and assume leadership. We’re in the right direction with the coaching staff and skills. If the players are speed possesed, all the better…but right now I’d settle for some guys who know how to wrap up a tackle and power their way past linemen to create havoc in the opposing backfield.

    1. Paul, I don’t think Tom would disagree anything you said. He was pointing out that we do have a positive ingredient that is being overlooked. Even with all the speed he mentioned, there is more. Jacques Caldwell, a wide receiver, is the fastest guy on the team with 3.3 speed in the 40.

  2. Caldwell is the guy I want returning kickoffs if he’s good at catching the ball. That takes some skill with a bunch of people charging at you.

  3. I loved Caldwell last year and was mentioning to people that if he got a chance to prove himself down the road…look out.

    I understand what you are saying, too…Zagnut. I just want to see some guys out there that are going to slobber knock a few opposing players. If they’re quick also…all the better.

    I rememeber fondly the days when UofL had Campos, McCloud and Frost at linebacker. Coach should show a few films of those three taking care of business. I was afraid to even go to the concession stand when those guys were suited up…LOL

  4. Good job Charlie bring up the speed factor. You may want to check on Peake. We are hearing he is gone.

  5. heard yesterday that Peake needs to clear up some grade problems, but not yet….gone.

  6. There does seem to be quite a bit of speed on this team. Too bad our former coach was too slow. On second thought, maybe not such a bad thing.

    1. He had some really terrific likebackers too, Hiner, and he didn’t capitalize on them either. Did you notice that no one on defense seemed to know where they belonged on the field? Bet that won’t happen this year.

  7. Great write up Tom, thanks Speed + Technique (which we know the coaches are working very hard at) will create opportunities for us- oh and then their is ATTITUDE & Belief! I am looking forward to getting the season underway.

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