Last year, going into the Governor’s Cup game, UofL was coming off a low. They were destroyed on national TV by Houston. They hadn’t really been playing all that well. UofL fans thought we would just waltz into PJCS, crush UK, and move on to a good bowl; maybe even the Orange Bowl. None of that happened. We saw a 3 game losing streak to end the year.
This year, we feel the same way. The difference is we are justified in the feeling. Bobby Ball 1.0 appears to be back. UofL is rolling right now after 2 blowout wins against Virginia and Syracuse. They played their most complete game this year against Syracuse.
The defense got all kinds of turnovers. Syracuse could not move the ball against them. Jaire Alexander was playing like the best CB in the nation.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – There is a different feeling around the University Louisville football team heading into its rivalry game against Kentucky on Saturday at Kroger Field.
Last season, the Cardinals were coming off a disappointing 34-10 loss at Houston and beaten in every phase of the game.
Following a pair of dominating victories over Virginia and Syracuse, the Cardinals feel good about themselves leading into the 30th meeting of the Governor’s Cup.
UofL football meandered through much of this season like a lost puppy trying to find its way home through lonely streets and alleys. They looked great at times and looked horrendous at others. Sometimes within a single game they could look like world beaters and then like broken men.
Inconsistent play was a problem for the offense. It was a combination of player focus and disjointed play calling. For the defense, horrid fundamentals and bland play calling consistently made the defense look like an electric fence with the power turned off. The problem for the team and coaching staff as a whole was there seemed to be a lack of fire. Players and coaches sometimes looked like they’d rather be anywhere, but on the field. It obviously showed in an undisciplined and unfocused approach to the game at hand.
Head Coach Bobby Petrino, sophomore linebacker Jon Greenard, senior linebacker James Hearn, senior running back Reggie Bonnafon, freshman running back Dae Williams, junior wide receiver Jaylen Smith, and junior quarterback Lamar Jackson all sat down with the media after the win against Virginia. Listen to what they had to say below.
James Hearns and Trevon Young spoke with the media after practice today.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Dominant is a subtle way to describe the University of Louisville football team’s performance in last year’s victory over Florida State.
The Cardinals’ offense registered 530 yards and tallied 21 second-quarter points, while the defense accumulated five sacks, one interception, limited the Seminoles to 2 of 13 on third-down conversions, and stifled Florida State to 284 yards of offense.
Louisville heads into Saturday’s afternoon matchup with a 4-3 mark following rare consecutive losses, including a heart-breaking 45-42 decision against NC State, aiming to repeat that performance.
The day started with the jersey ceremony for Card forever Anthony Floyd. Then Card forever, Eric Wood, spelled out the C-A-R-D-S cheer. Louisville scored early and looked good because Boston College entered the day scoring 16.3 points per game and were 121st in the country in scoring before Saturday. But the Card defense gave up 45 points, 555 total yards (364 of those rushing yards). AJ Dillon ran for more yards (272) than any other Louisville opponent had before. Lamar was 19 of 39 passing for 332 yards and 2 passing touchdowns. He rushed for 180 yards on 22 carries and scored 3 rushing touchdowns. Dez Fitzpatrick finished with 7 catches , 127 yards and a touchdown.
Here are some pictures of the day…
For much of last season, the Louisville defensive line was a force to be reckoned with. It is no secret that the end of the season collapse affected all aspects of the team, but the defensive line remained stout. Entering this season, Louisville will be without Devonte Fields and Deangelo Brown, both of whom were lost to graduation. However, the returns to this group far outweigh the departures.
Trevon Young had a monster 2015 season. The horrific injury he suffered in the Music City Bowl that season sidelined him for all of last year. Young and Fields were a 2 man wrecking crew that year, which left a spot to fill on the opposite of Fields. James Hearns was the man who stepped in, and he more than filled that role. Hearns stole the show, leading the team in sacks with 8 and forced fumbles with 5. Hearns enters this season as a rising senior with very high expectations. As mentioned earlier, Young had a terrific 2015 before his injury in the bowl game. He amassed 8.5 sacks and forced 2 fumbles. His healthy return this season keeps that front line dangerous on the edge accompanied by Hearns. Both players are seniors this year and will look to improve their draft stock, as well as, pursue an ACC crown.
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia
For today’s entry of The Barbour Shop, I’m going to give you all a list of Top 10 things to do and see while in Indy. However, the list comes with a puntastic UofL twist. Obviously time and dollars dictate you probably won’t be able to visit every place, but you can always pick which one or ones you want to visit. Let’s get started.
10) Hinkle Fieldhouse:
Yeah, it’s not basketball season yet, but Hinkle’s history makes it worth a visit. UofL is the unofficial owner of Hinkle as they have won their last 3 meetings with Butler there.
I had the pleasure of attending U of L football media day and I took my camera. We at CSZ had the privilege of talking with all the coaches and many of the student athletes. We will be posting all the interviews very soon. I can’t seem to put into words what this experience was like, so you can just browse through the pics I snapped and try to get a feel for yourself. I also took a few pics of the progress of Papa John’s Cardinal stadium expansion. I hope you enjoy… Read the rest of this entry
The names you hear coming into this season when talking about pass rushers are James Hearns and Drew Bailey. I would to take this time to remind you that they are both phenomenal players but they will have help. Welcome back Trevon Young. Trevon sat out all of 2016 due to hip surgery but he is back and healthy. Before his injury in the Music City bowl, he had 10 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks and 1 interception. Stacy Thomas is as solid as they come. He took over for James Burgess Jr after a terrible targeting call in that infamous Music City bowl. Since then he has been nothing short of amazing. Also look for guys like Chris Williams, Jonathan Greenard, Amonte Caban, De’Asian Richardson and Henry Famurewa to contribute this year. Read the rest of this entry
Yesterday we got to hear from head coach Bobby Petrino for the first time since National Signing Day last month, and we came away with a few interesting tidbits thus far.
Cornerback Shaq Wiggins and offensive lineman Chandler Jones will both be transferring for the University of Louisville. It is unknown whete they will heading, but we wish them both the best of luck.
Cornerback Alphonso Carter has been suspended from the team. Last month, he was found to have a loaded gun in his possession with no license to carry after he was pulled over for running a red light.
Wide receiver Jaylen Smith and outside linebacker Jonathan Greenard will miss all of spring ball due to both of them in recovery from surgeries. Smith had surgery of stress fracture in his foot while Greenard had hip surgery.
On the positive side, Petrino announced that defensive end James Hearns has fully recovered from his surgery and is now a “full go”. Henry Famurewa is still in partial recovery, but will see some action on the practice field. Trevon Young will also see some work on the practice field after missing all of last season with a hip injury.
The fine folks at The ACC Digital Network are at it again. The accolades are piling up for Sophomore QB Lamar Jackson. If you watch TV or listen to the radio you may think this is a one man team. Lamar would not want it that way. Very humble, classy and easy going, Lamar has indeed been the spark the Cards need this year. But it brings up the question: Is this a one man team? The answer is a very resounding no. The Cards have a smothering Defense, great O-line (That felt good to say), great special teams and a balanced rushing stable and it seems like just about every wide receiver has a TD. That is balance. In this video The ACC DN gives you the video evidence to back up my claims. (facts) Enjoy!
Last Season: With Lorenzo Mauldin leaving for the NFL, Louisville recruited former Big XII Defensive Player of the Year Devonte Fields to replace him. While Fields struggled in the first half of the season to find some rhythm, he eventually led the team with 10.5 sacks last season, including 7.5 in the final three games against Pitt, Kentucky and Texas A&M. Keith Kelsey led all Cardinals with 106 tackles, and Louisville saw a bevvy of linebackers come in and have a major impact on the team. Louisville also saw Trevon Young have a nice spurt of 8.5 sacks in a four-game stretch, as the linebacker group became the strongest group in Louisville’s defense.
James Burgess is the lone starter gone from last season’s team, now signed as an undrafted free agent by his hometown Miami Dolphins. Keith Brown and Nick Dawson-Brents, who Louisville saw used in a reserve role last season, both transferred to Western Kentucky.
This Season: It goes without saying that this is not only Louisville’s strongest position on the entire team, but this may be the strongest linebacker group in the country.
As mentioned, Devonte Fields leads the group as the main edge rusher for Louisville. Fields has the potential to be yet another first-round pick for the Cardinals; the senior has strong hands at the point of attack, and has some great agility to sidestep pass blockers. Fields has received a lot of praise as an All-American and All-ACC candidate, and could be in for an outstanding 2016 season if he stays consistent for all 12 games.
The other edge rusher remains a mystery to most. With Trevon Young sitting out the 2016 season due to a hip injury suffered in the Music City Bowl, James Hearns will be the guy to replace him. Hearns was a highly touted prospect when he signed with the team in 2013, but hasn’t quite cracked the starting lineup due to so much talent at the position the last three seasons. He got a lot of playing time as a reserve last season and got to audition for his role, after Trevon Young was injured. Hearns has also lined up as a 3-4 defensive end, so it’ll be interesting to see if Todd Grantham will occasionally move Hearns there in certain blitz packages and get more speed from reserves like Henry Famurewa and Jonathan Greenard.
Keith Kelsey and Stacy Thomas are the starting inside linebackers, and both figure to be solid All-ACC candidates. Kelsey is an outstanding tackler, and a consistent, reliable playmaker for Louisville’s defense. Kelsey is a solid leader and has been an all-around threat for Louisville. It will be interesting to see what Kelsey does this season without his fellow “Bash Brother” Burgess, but most fans are excited to see what Stacy Thomas has to offer as his replacement. Thomas had an impressive showing in the Music City Bowl, and possibly stands as the X-factor for this defense after being a special teams ace. He was thought to miss a couple games to start the season, but he recently returned to practice and is ready to go for Thursday’s game against Charlotte.
Even if injuries and transfers left the linebacker position without more players, the team has amazing depth in their two-deep lineup that will allow them to compete. Henry Famurewa and Jonathan Greenard are two guys that could see more time as edge rushers this season; both were highly touted . Amonte Caban and Isaac Stewart are two young, impressive linebackers who could spell Kelsey and/or Thomas this season, and they figure to be the future for Louisville at the position once those two graduate.
Gary McCrae, who was featured in the Netflix hit documentary Last Chance U, signed with Louisville after failing to qualify academically for Georgia. McCrae is a guy that could see time this year as a reserve, but this is a very deep group and most of the incoming players may see a redshirt this season.
Football season is still over two months away but it’s on my mind everyday. I recently received an email for the University ticket office that stated my request for Clemson tickets was approved and would be mailed at the end of August. I felt like a six-year-old on Christmas morning upon reading that email. Football has always been my first love even though I have come to enjoy Cardinal softball since I started covering it for CSZ. You should really go to a softball game. It’s a great time and you will be pleasantly surprised with the product on the field. Read the rest of this entry
Here is the next of the Spring Football breakdowns by the fine folks at @UofLFootball. This one is for the Linebacker position. 1st team All- ACC Keith Kelsey and the national leader in tackles for a loss, Devante Fields, leads this vicious LB core. James Hearns and Trevon Young complete the LBC (Linebacker Core) and there’s no drama there. We will have a position by position breakdown here on the site leading up to the start of the regular season but for now let’s feast on this video! (Click on More)
From ESPN.com’s Andrea Adelson, who talks about the different defense that Louisville will play this season.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — There are holes to fill across the Louisville defense, one that quietly ranked as one of the best units in America a year ago.
But that is not the only reason this group is undergoing an entire overhaul during the spring. Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham has changed the base defense to a 3-4 and started shifting players around to positions better suited for them. The lone returning starting lineman from a year ago, Lorenzo Mauldin, will move to outside linebacker, filling a hybrid rush end role that will better utilize his athleticism.
Sheldon Rankins, a backup defensive tackle the last two seasons, has emerged as a leader at end but can play nose guard, too.
“He’s been dominant,” Grantham said.
Plenty more moves have been made: B.J. Dubose, who has played end and tackle, has found a home at end this spring; Redshirt freshman James Hearns has moved from linebacker to end; redshirt freshman Chucky Williams is leading the charge to start at one safety spot after starting his career at cornerback.
According to this article from goupstate.com, 2014 defensive back Kendall Randolph, from Tallahassee, Florida, has a top 3 of Louisville, Miami, and South Carolina. Randolph is a 4 star prospect on Rivals.com. They rank him as the 11th best cornerback in the state of Florida and the 20th best player overall in the state!