2008 Louisville Cardinals Football Preview
2007 Louisville Record: (6-6, 3-4 Big East)
2007 Bowl: none
Louisville Head Coach: Steve Kragthorpe (6-6 at Louisville, 35-28 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Jeff Brohm
Defensive Coordinator: Ron English
Louiville's Returning Leaders:
Other Key Returnees: OT George Bussey, G Mike Donoghue, DT Adrian Grady, DE L.D. Scott, CB Woodny Turenne, C Eric Wood
Key Losses: RB Anthony Allen, TE Gary Barnidge, QB Brian Brohm, CB Rod Council, WR Harry Douglas, LB Malik Jackson, LB Lamar Myles, LB Preston Smith, WR Mario Urrutia
The struggles of Louisville were well documented last season. The team ended up going 6-6 and missing out on a bowl game for the first time since 1997. And it might not be that much better this year. Only four starters return on offense and four on defense. However, that might end up being a good thing.
More 2008 Big East football previews:
The offense was not the problem last year and should not be a problem again this year despite the absence of quarterback Brian Brohm, leading rusher Anthony Allen and top receivers Harry Douglas, Mario Urrutia and Gary Barnidge. Hunter Cantwell has waited patiently behind Brohm and is more than just a capable backup. In fact, it would not be surprising at all if Cantwell joins Brohm on Sunday’s next year. Scott Long and Trent Guy will have to take over the bulk of the receptions, but there is plenty of young talent that is ready to emerge now that they are given the opportunity. Replacing Allen, who opted to transfer, is not a huge concern either. Fullback Brock Bolen can handle some carries, George Stripling is a quality player when he is not in trouble and Bilal Powell has plenty of potential. However, redshirt freshman Victor Anderson is the most dynamic runner of them all and could make a huge impact this year.
What can Ron English do with this defense? The former Michigan defensive coordinator is trying to turn things around very quickly after the Cardinals defense ranked near the bottom in every major defensive category in the Big East during the 2007 season. One would think that the defense couldn’t get much worse, but it can. The unexpected early departure of linebacker Lamar Myles to the NFL and the dismissal of cornerback Rod Council leaves huge holes in the back seven. The front four returns Adrian Grady and Earl Heyman, but those two need to stay healthy and consistent if the line is going to save the defense.
The Bottom Line for the Cardinals:
More importantly than the personnel is the mindset of the team. After losses to Kentucky and Syracuse in September, the national championship hopes were dashed. And for a team that expected to be in the mix for a BCS Bowl, losing two games that quickly could not have been good for morale. The offense could get by with talent, but the defense never recovered. If Coach English can change the attitude of the defense, Louisville has enough talent to return to a bowl game.
2007 Louisville Cardinals Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 146.08 (64th in nation, 6th in conference)
Passing Offense: 341.92 (4, 1)
Total Offense: 488.00 (6, 1)
Scoring Offense: 35.17 (18, 3)
Rushing Defense: 165.33 (72, 7)
Pass Defense: 251.17 (87, 6)
Total Defense: 416.50 (84, 7)
Scoring Defense: 31.42 (91, 7)
Turnover Margin: .00 (55, 5)
Sacks: 1.42 (101, 7)
Sacks Allowed: 2.08 (62, 4)
By Joel Welser
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