Thursday Afternoon Cardinal News And Notes

Mark and Mallory Breslin claim they have the best Card Chronicle wedding photo of all-time. I love the enthusiasm, but the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences will be the ultimate judge of that. They've taken an extreme interest in this site recently. I'm all for it.

Spread check: Louisville by 6.5.

Weather check: partly cloudy with a high of 61 and a low of 43. Chance of rain is still just 10%.

It was a major question mark heading into the season, but Louisville's rushing game is flourishing behind the two-headed attack of Senorise Perry and Jeremy Wright.

--Louisville is averaging 167 yards on the ground through the first half of the season. That is 45.5 yards better than last season, when the Cardinals averaged 121.5 yards on the ground. In addition, they have rushed for more than 125 yards in all six games after running for over 125 yards in six games all of last season. The Cardinals are 11-0 over the past two seasons when rushing for 125 yards or more.

--After recording just one 100-yard rushing game last season, the Cardinals already have five this season. Perry has a team-high three, while Wright has two.

--Last season, the Cardinals averaged 3.4 yards per carry and had just 13 rushing touchdowns. This season, Louisville is averaging 4.2 yards a carry and has 17 rushing touchdowns.

When asked why Louisville is so much better running the ball this year, Perry said, "Because of my great O-line and my great fullbacks, my quarterback making the great checks away from the blitzes so we can get into the open field and burst past the second level. Once you get past the second level, there's no one who can stop us because we're so dominant with our legs and our power."

For those who have asked, Louisville has never started a season ranked No. 1 in the coaches' poll. Their current ranking of No. 2 is their highest preseason status since the poll's inception.

The road to the first Saturday in May is about to begin.

C.L. Brown caught up with Gorgui Dieng during the Big East media day festivities, and asked him (among other things) about the talk that he might have a chance to jump to the NBA after this season.

"The NBA is in my future but I really love where I am right now. I don't let any seconds slide. You never know what is going to happen in life. I just want to enjoy college, have some fun playing basketball and the NBA is in my future. The NBA isn't going anywhere."

And when it does come time to make a decision, Dieng said he would defer to the advice of U of L coach Rick Pitino.

"When I came here, I didn't have a name. No one knew me. I will listen to him. I will do everything he wants me to do. I think he wants the best for me."

The Big East celebrated its media day for women's basketball today, and Jeff Walz's U of L squad was picked to finish third in the league.

Sports Illustrated's Andy Staples has Louisville at No. 24 in his unintentionally hilarious top 25. He does pick up a few bonus points for linking to a pic of Sunny Will. He loses half of those for not linking to that pic on CC.

When Russ Smith gets rapper Lil' B's autograph...

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Russ Smith is going to be excited...

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In the Huddle takes a look at the matchup of Louisville's defense against the South Florida offense.

USF presents a difficult matchup with its multi-faceted offense. Led by senior quarterback B.J. Daniels, the Bulls have eight returning starters on offense from last year, including three linemen. The challenge for the Cardinals will start up front on the line of scrimmage where they will attempt to contain the running game while putting pressure on Daniels without losing containment.

"They're a physical group (offensive line) with some big guys," noted Dunn. "They have a lot of experience and they play hard up front. B.J. Daniels runs a lot and makes things happen. We just have to stay in our rushing lanes and don't give him any creases to run through. We just have to corral him."

Probably the best video on YouTube.


In case you weren't aware, Louisville, Kentucky and Indiana are all going to be very good this year, and they all have fans who are very passionate about college basketball.

South Florida and Louisville are rivals both on the field and in the recruiting game.

"We go up against (them) quite a bit," said coach Skip Holtz, whose team won at Louisville in 2010 and is hoping to end a four-game losing streak this season. "You hear their name quite a bit in recruiting, as we're battling for a lot of the same players. A lot of the players that are here were also recruited by Louisville. You get every school in the Big East coming down here but ... probably Louisville is one of the bigger ones, yes."

The biggest recruiting battleground might be in Miami, where the Cards have not only Bridgewater but 14 other players as well, including receiver Eli Rogers. Some of USF's top signees have come from Miami, including cornerbacks Kayvon Webster and George Baker and defensive tackles Elkino Watson and Todd Chandler.

"They have a strong presence. They put a lot of coaches in the area," said USF assistant Larry Scott, who has also found recruiting success in the Miami area. "They do a really good job of saturating it, which makes you really have to get in there and dig in also and be competitive. It's a healthy competition. We see each other all the time. It's kind of a rubbing of the shoulders when we walk by, but they're a bunch of good guys and they work hard. So do we down there. We get a guy on campus, they get a guy on campus and then you see what happens."

Congratulations to Brian Brohm on somehow convincing his longtime girlfriend Ashley that she should spend the rest of her life with him. I will be stealing embarrassing photos of your wedding and posting them all over this site.

Coach Wats talks USF.


Lindy's previews U of L vs. USF.

Louisville fans, coaches and players have been a little upset by the fact that the Cardinals have recorded just two interceptions so far this season. Well on Saturday they'll be facing a South Florida defense that han't recorded any.

Jim Boeheim:

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Here's the latest on everyone's favorite topic: the Big East and its television contract negotiations.

Magnus negotiated the ACC's reported 15-year, $3.6-billion extension with ESPN. That amount was sweetened when Syracuse and Pittsburgh announced they were leaving the Big East for the ACC. Aresco said the ACC deal was not a "model" for what his conference is seeking.

Magnus said the loss of Pitt and Syracuse did not devalue the Big East. "I think the Big East has done a good job in this fractious time of people coming, people going," he said. "We think they've done a good job in replacing what they lost."

Chicago-based Navigate, which analyzes sponsorship in sports and entertainment, projected a 10-year rights deal between ESPN and the Big East at $1.6 billion.

If nothing else, Mike Aresco seems to be at least saying all the right things so far.

With the unveiling of the USA Today preseason top 25 on Wednesday, Louisville is now one of just five programs with a national ranking in both football and basketball. Florida, Notre Dame, Michigan and Florida State are the others.

A belated happy birthday to the Honey Mustard himself, Mr. Damian Copeland, who turned 22 years young on Wednesday.

Flawless utilization of the Card Chronicle bird mask here.

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Thus I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl, whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core

A little less sold on this one.

U of L is still No. 1 in SB Nation's Big East power poll this week, but the Cards snagged just four of eight first place votes, their lowest mark of the season.

The Cards are up three spots to No. 15 in this week's BlogPoll.

American Style magazine says that Louisville is one of the top 25 United States cities for the arts. They don't say that ranking is largely based on Card Chronicle....but c'mon....that ranking is largely based on Card Chronicle.

A few updates from the tech team on fixes to the site that should have gone into effect this morning:

- Increased the amount the number of recommended and recent FanPosts on the homepage
- Changed the styles to improve scanning of FanPosts and FanShot headlines and new comments on the homepage
- Added author bylines on Articles in the cover
- Added indicator if articles or features are from another SB Nation site when placed on the homepage
- Added article headline to comments on user profile recent activity list for better reply context
- Reinstated the ability for users to add polls to FanPosts
- Reinstated accurate comment counts on StoryStream updates in the cover
- Reinstated ability for authors to add custom captions to photos
- Trending Stories are now relevant to league of the team or sport the blog covers
- Fixed issue with Shift-A keyboard shortcut for comments not working properly in large threads
- Fixed issue with logos that break out of the circle getting cropped
- Fixed issue where new comment count was incorrect on FanShots posted from another site
- Fixed issue with filters not working on FanShot index page
- Fixed Facebook login issues
- Improved visibility of next and previous arrows on photo galleries
- Added correct author names to the FanPosts page
- Mobile optimization improvements

With an extra week to prepare for Vance Bedford's blitz heavy defense, USF has spent a decent amount of time working on its play action game.

"We've been working a lot on the play-action passes," Reiter said. "We're trying not to get cross-faced on run plays so we can have longer runs, which will set up the play-action passes."

Despite their recent struggles, the Cardinals have managed to limit opponents to 114 rushing yards per game, good for fourth in the Big East. Holtz said aggression and confusion are a vital part of Louisville's defense.

"They're very aggressive. They load the box to stop the run," he said. "They have only allowed around 100 rushing yards per game, and they play a lot of man-to-man. They like to send a lot of blitzes and create
confusion."

All four of Athlon's writers like Louisville to take care of business on Saturday. There's definitely not the same "potential upset" buzz brewing like there was last week...and that terrifies me.

Paul Biancardi of ESPN recently attended a Louisville basketball practice and came away with five observations.

4. X factors

Luke Hancock, a transfer from George Mason, has a good basketball IQ with the skills to match the knowledge. Hancock sees the play and can be a facilitator with his passing or drain open shots to stretch out a defense. He knows where he needs to be on the floor and makes any offense function more efficiently. Kevin Ware provides such elite athletic ability with the mindset of a high-level scoring guard. He's been performing well in workouts as Pitino called him a "pleasant surprise." Ware possesses tremendous speed and explosion in the open floor, he can lead the fast break or be the finisher. Wayne Blackshear came to campus with high accolades from high school, but was out most of last season with surgery on his shoulder. He now looks physically strong and his timing is good as he is now ready for battle as he provides perimeter firepower as a big guard type who can also post up and create fouls on defenders.

And finally, CBS likes Louisville over the Bulls by 10.

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