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How did Louisville Improve on Offense Last Season?

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Cardinal Football Improved Offensively in Second Half of 2014

Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

In the last article, we rated the overall offensive performance of the FBS teams and Louisville did not look all that great. At www CFBRatings.com a lot of emphasis is place on efficiency and consistency of offenses and defenses. How did Louisville look?

Overall, the Cards ranked 90th overall when adjusted for strength of schedule. As the analysis of Louisville was broken down game by game, a very surprising shift in performance occurred. The charts below illustrates some significant improvements in the second half of the season and it was literally like a switch had been turned on… as I have been told by many it was Devante Parker’s return. I can safely say it is verified that his presence on the field and the learning of the others made a big difference in performance.

CONSISTENCY

EFFICIENCY

The yardage improvement per drive was over 11 yards. This is significant, as the measure of consistency for the Cards went from 117th in the nation the first half of the season to 45th the second half. That is the 4th best improvement in the FBS. With efficiency, it was as significant. In terms of offensive efficiency, Louisville went from ranked 112th to 39th in the first half of the season to the second half.

What this shows is a couple of things: 1. Yes, Devante Parker made a difference it would seem. (How could he not make a difference?) 2. The Cardinals could have an average offense and still win games with the defense playing the way they did. Kind of like the LSU-Alabama type teams of 2007.

After looking at all aspects of this. One of the largest deficits the Cardinals faced was field position. The defense did a miraculous job of starting in 119th ranked in field position and finished 16th…. No one was better. The difference is the special team’s play which took the great defensive finish and allowed the offense to start from an average field position (69th best).

Looking at the run game, it marginally improved in the two halves of the season. First half: 2.98 y/att (119th); Second Half: 3.65 (96th).

The passing game improved significantly after Parker’s return. The most significant difference in the efficiency was the big plays…..which will help most definitely.

By month of the season here are the following big plays of 20+ yards per game:

September: 5

October: 4.2

November: 7.7

Clearly, as the season progressed, the big plays were more in line with the Petrino-style offense.

Question to Cards fans is who will emerge as the big play receiver?