It’s been a minute since I got to do one of these things!
CardinalStrong over at Card Chronicle was warm enough to do a Q&A with me and you can find my answers to his questions here and follow him on Twitter @Cardinal Strong
Now let’s get into it shall we?
BSD: What’s been the biggest difference from week 1 to now?
CS: I feel like back in early September we were having a lot more rain and the pollen count was slightly higher than what we’re seeing toda-..oh, you mean football wise?! My bad. This team is in the process of like a 10 month growth spurt. Since Satterfield arrived on campus each month things are have been progressing slowly as they rebuild confidence, rebuild attitudes, implement the new offense, new defense, etc. Against Notre Dame Louisville was still trying to figure things out and were running a bit simpler offense than what we’ve seen the last couple weeks. Another big factor was that QB1 (Jawon Pass) hasn’t seen action in over four weeks (foot injury) so Malik Cunningham and Even Conley have been sharing the load. The offense is growing each week and having three guys with over 100 yards receiving last week proves the air assault is becoming more and more of a threat to counteract the ground game.
BSD: Who do you look for to make an impact in this game on each side of the ball?
CS: Look for Javian Hawkins to continue his punishment of defenses on the ground (112yd/g). Lots of folks praised Louisville’s passing game last week against BC but Hawkins dropped 172 yards on their defense, his third 100-yard game this season. He has speed to burn and is much harder to bring down than his 5-9/182lb frame might imply.
On defense, I called out Rodjay Burns (OLB) last week and I’ve been high on Chandler Jones (CB) but this week in particular, look for Khane Pass to make some plays. The senior safety has been flying all around the field for a few weeks now and since one would assume Jamie Newman is going to sling the ball around he’ll have some opportunities to make a play or two.
BSD: What’s been the most concerning part on both ends of the ball?
CS: Until last week it was the passing attack. And honestly, one game doesn’t prove much. Malik Cunningham threw for 288yds and third string QB Evan Conly dropped another 140 on BC, but I’d need to see a similar performance this week to feel better about the development in the passing game. They have talented wideouts, just need to get them the ball with a chance to make a play.
On defense, as scary as it sounds coming into this game, the secondary needs some help. They have been giving up big chunk plays and many of them are due to blown coverages. A good sign as one would assume its easy to fix, but a bad sign that six weeks into the year it’s still happening.
BSD: What realistic expectations did the Louisville faithful have coming into this year, and how do you think they finish?
CS: I polled the Card Chronicle readers this summer (shout out to those degenerates) and the consensus was somewhere around the 4-8 or 5-7 mark. I called out 5-7 myself and honestly feel pretty good about it right now. Sitting at 3-2 the Cards will likely be favored in at least two more games this year and I’d guess a spread within 7-10 points for another two. A win this week would make the “we’re going bowling this year” lunatics from the summer sound not quite as crazy as they did in June (although the tin foil hat didn’t help with the argument).
BSD: How big does the base/yourself think this game is relative to the rest of the schedule
CS: Big in the sense that a win here really does make a bowl game realistic, but not so big that the season is crushed if they lose it. This will be the first night game on the road for this team and I’d assume the BB&T crowd will bring the noise….ya know, for those who passed on the Dixie Classic Fair.
BSD: Lousiville wins if they come out and do what?
CS: Spread the ball around, create a threat in the air early, and then pound the defense on the ground with Hawkins, Hall, and Cunningham. I think they need another 250yards in the passing game to have a shot at winning.
BSD: on the other hand what can they not do if they want to win this game?
Turnovers. It’s an easy answer but Louisville is 90th in the country right now in turnover margin (-2). It’s not so much that the offense coughs it up often, but the defense is just not forcing that many to counter it (they got their first INT of the season last week). A couple turnovers would be deadly to any shot they have to pull the upset.
BSD: Who scares you the most on the Wake Forest team?
CS: The Demon Deacon, hands down. Dude stares at you as if he has no soul, he never shows any expression of emotion on his face, and he rides a Chopper. I ain’t messing with that top hat terror.
BSD: Lastly, who wins, score, and why?
CS: I’ve gone back and forth on this one a few times. I think Louisville is playing better but Newman scares me. I think he can pick on the secondary a little and make small mistakes turn into big ones. I do believe Louisville can score on the Wake Defense but it will come in big plays and they’ll have very few long sustained drives. I think the Cards keep it close but give up a couple crushing plays in the 4th to seal it for Wake. Deacons 35, Cards 24.