2009 Louisville Cardinals Football Preview
2008 Record: (5-7, 1-6)
2008 Bowl: none
Coach: Steve Kragthorpe (11-13 at Louisville, 40-35 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Steve Kragthorpe
Defensive Coordinator: Brent Guy
Other Key Returnees: LB Antwon Canady, WR Josh Chichester, S Dan Covington, WR Trent Guy, LB Brandon Heath, WR Troy Pascley, DT L.D. Scott
Key Losses: RB Brock Bolin, LB James Bryant, S Bobby Buchanan, OT George Bussey, QB Hunter Cantwell, DT Adrian Grady, DE Earl Heyman, CB Woodny Turenne, C Eric Wood
Louisville headed into 2008 with high expectations. It did not take long for those expectations to blow up in their face. The Cardinals ended the year winning just one conference game and have missed out on a bowl game for two years in a row. That is bad news for Coach Steve Kragthorpe. The program better at least show signs of turning around quickly or he will be squarely on the hot seat.
The offense did not have too much to be proud of last year, but Victor Anderson was one of the few exceptions. The 5-9 freshman came out of nowhere and rushed for 1,047 yards and eight touchdowns. With a mess at the quarterback position, the Louisville offense will rely on Anderson to do a lot for this team. The skill positions are also set at wide receiver where Doug Beaumont returns after catching a team high 62 passes for 750 yards. Beaumont is a fine receiver and should be the leader of the unit once again, but there is potential in Josh Chichester if he can find a way to be consistent and Scott Long if he can stay healthy.
The defense was nothing special last year and that was with coordinator Ron English. English gave some life to an otherwise average group and now he is the head coach at Eastern Michigan. Making matters worse is that the front four is entirely gone and the entire unit will suffer if the line cannot get pressure in the opposition’s backfield. This is a team that ranked 106 th in the nation in sacks last year and that gave the rest of the conference all day to throw over the Cardinals defense. That will happen again if young defensive ends like sophomores Greg Scruggs and William Savoy cannot consistently get into the backfield.
The Bottom Line for the Cardinals:
In the end, it is always about the quarterbacks. Hunter Cantwell only had one year to show off his stuff and he was a disappointment. Now the job falls to a whole slew of signal callers. Justin Burke and Adam Froman are the likely candidates to earn the starting job this fall, but Zack Stoudt had a good spring and is not giving up on the fight. Coach Kragthorpe does not plan to name a starter until well into August, but the winner of the quarterback derby has to keep the interceptions down and find a way to get the ball into the hands of Louisville’s talented playmakers.
By Joel Welser
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