clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Wednesday morning Cardinal news and notes

New, 146 comments

Katherine "Katie" Frances Winkler, born in Chicago to parents Joe and Kara, arrived just in time to see her favorite player, Traveon Samuel, show out on the big stage against Clemson.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

—Spread check: Clemson by 3.

—Jaire Alexander’s father says his son won’t play against Clemson unless he’s 100 percent. Apparently he’s not 100 percent at the moment, which is not the best news for Saturday. That young man had a fairly large impact on last year’s game.

—A breakdown of all 11 of Clemson’s sacks against Auburn and how they went down.

—The Sporting News likes Clemson on Saturday in yet another heartbreaker for U of L.

These ACC Atlantic powers played a thriller in Death Valley last season, and we expect every bit the same in a “Blackout” at Papa John’s Stadium. This is a chance for Lamar Jackson to solidify a second Heisman Trophy run, and if he can do it against this ridiculous Clemson defensive line, we’re all ears.

Clemson wins 31-27 and cover the spread

— looks at the matchup that everyone is talking about: Louisville’s offense vs. the Clemson defense.

—This commercial is bad ass.

Let’s gooooo.

—It’s set to be a huge recruiting weekend for U of L. Dave Lackford over at Rivals takes a look at all the high-profile recruits who are expected to be in attendance for Louisville-Clemson.

—The Clemson Insider says that, contrary to what you’re hearing on radio and television, Louisville is more than just Lamar Jackson.

Wide receiver Jaylen Smith leads the ACC with 17 receptions for 300 yards in just two games. He is averaging 17.6 yards per catch. Then there is freshman Dez Fitzpatrick who has eight catches for 173 yards and three touchdowns.

Seth Dawkins has seven catches for 101 yards and running back Malik Williams had 149 yards in last week’s win over North Carolina.

“They are really good, and they added a new one,” Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables said on Tuesday. “Dez Fitzpatrick, he is a redshirt, a kid from Ohio. He is a really good player. Jalen Smith, in particular, they have an excellent group of receivers. They are all big, really, big. You will see in pre-game.”

Jackson’s weapons don’t just compliment him, but they find a way to get open too when he starts to scramble.

“You can tell they have been in that situation many times,” Venables said. “They know what to do. He can buy time and he finds them.”

—The U of L women’s golf team matched its second lowest team total in a tournament ever.

—Rick Pitino spent his Tuesday night visiting with U of L commit Courtney Ramey.

—Louisville volleyball will head to Lexington to face arch-rival Kentucky on Friday night.

—Would be nice to capture that big game week feeling and bottle it.

—Matt Norlander of CBS ranks the 10 best ACC basketball games of the upcoming season. Louisville makes three appearances.

Louisville at Miami (Jan. 24)

The Hurricanes welcome a Louisville team that will boast Deng Adel, Ray Spalding, Bruce Bowen and Quentin Snider. The Cardinals, a No. 2 seed in last season's Big Dance, lost a dynamite player in Donovan Mitchell, who was a lottery pick (No. 13 overall to the Utah Jazz) in June's draft. There's enough scoring and athleticism coming back to keep Pitino's team in the mix near the top of the ACC.

North Carolina at Louisville (Feb. 17)

Everyone will be shooting for the reigning national champions on the road in conference play, but this spot is especially trying. Middle of February -- the dog days of the college calendar -- against a very good team on its home court and looking for No. 1 or No. 2 seed status.

Louisville at Duke (Feb. 21)

Caps a five-day stretch in February that offers particularly tasty ACC tips. Conference games at this stage set up seeding for the ACC Tournament, with teams also jockeying for positioning in the NCAA bracket. Cardinals vs. Blue Devils should be a top-15 win for the selection committee to assess. Pitino vs. Krzyzewski -- two Hall of Famers -- is always worth viewing.

—The Clemson Pawcast is a good listen for anyone looking to know as much as they can about the Tigers in anticipation of Saturday night.

—This is the worst schedule I’ve ever seen.

There are seven non-conference games on there against teams with a KenPom ranking of 310 or worse. That is atrocious.

—What would an American map look like if each college football team got to take over the land of the team they just beat? It’s the American map you never knew you needed.

—Donovan Mitchell will be signing autographs at the U of L Campus Store on Saturday morning.

—Seedy K is rolling with the Cards in this week’s Pigskin Prognostications.

—Eric Crawford writes that U of L football is advancing towards Howard Schnellenberger’s vision.

—No I do not.

—The Athletic’s film rewind (subscription) looks at Lamar Jackson’s evolution as a quarterback.

—Meet U of L freshman Jo Griffin in the latest installment of Beat the Buzzer.

—The Cardinal Connect says that Jaylen Smith is proving that Louisville is more than just “Lamar Jackson and a bunch of dudes.”

—I think you should be allowed to say “shit” on all stations, but these reactions make me glad you can’t.

—Golden girl Kelsi Worrell will serve as the grand marshal for U of L’s Homecoming Parade.

—WDRB has five things you need to know before Saturday night’s game.

—Here’s a deal: If you work “butt stuff” into a GameDay sign and make it on TV, you get a free book.

That’s a promise.

—Clemson’s biggest position of weakness right now might be at right offensive tackle.

The right tackle position is “absolutely” up for grabs after Tremayne Anchrum and Sean Pollard struggled this past Saturday against Auburn, according to Tigers co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott.

Scott said both players have played well at times this season, but they only get noticed when something goes wrong.

“That’s kind of where we were coming out of fall camp is it was close enough we were going to let those guys compete on the field. Both of them had done some really good things in fall camp. Both of them did some really good things against Kent State,” Scott said. “There were some mistakes made Saturday night, and they also did some good things. But offensive line is kind of like the snapper, you only notice them when they make a mistake or do something wrong. Those guys up front, if they make a mistake everybody gets to see it.”

Scott added that he expects the two to bounce back this week.

“I think both of those guys are talented. I think they have a lot of pride,” he said. “I know Coach (Robbie) Caldwell’s going to work hard with them to get those things corrected as we go forward.”

—Via Brett McMurphy, Pitt and Syracuse are the only Power 5 programs that haven’t produced a perfect non-conference record at least once in the last 27 years. That’s surprising to me. I mean, I know they haven’t been stellar since the ‘90s, but they’ve each had some solid squads over that span.

—This would be a spectacular troll.

“My God ... my God Petrino’s standing on the railing of the Party Deck. HE’S CRACKING TWO BEERS TOGETHER LIKE STONE COLD.”

PJCS erupts. Cards win by a million.

—Every time I think I have a new favorite Pastner picture, something like this happens.

—The C-J hits us with five things we need to know about Louisville-Clemson.

5. The Tigers might make Saturday the biggest home game in U of L history

The Cards are 4-10 all-time against top-five teams, with three wins coming at home and the other in the 2013 Sugar Bowl against Florida. When U of L shocked No. 2 Florida State in 2002, the Cards were still in Conference USA and not in the position that they are this weekend.

Of course, they played another No. 2 team, Florida State, in Week 3 last year, also with "College GameDay" in town. But after they trounced the Seminoles, 63-20, they still had to play at eventual national champion Clemson. This year, Saturday’s winner is set up well to win the ACC.

—Is 94.5 good? Seems good.

—The weekly ACC coaches teleconference is going down this morning. You can listen to it here.

—Dabo Swinney addressed the Clemson media on Tuesday and was as complimentary of Louisville as you might expect.

"Really excited about another big challenge this week,” Swinney said at his Tuesday press conference. “Obviously, Louisville is an outstanding team, a difficult place to play, GameDay headed up there, 8:12 (p.m.) kick and it's exciting. It's exciting and I'm really looking forward to it. Gonna be a lot of fun; to me that's what you come to Clemson for, to be a part of games like that in great environments.

"We're looking forward to it, and it's a fun game to prepare for, because you just know that every play is so critical and you got to make your opportunities count when you get them. And then, just the challenge of playing against the Heisman Trophy winner. I think that's something that you get excited about, because you want to play the best.”

The Tigers and the Cardinals have met three times since Louisville joined the ACC, with the Tigers winning all three of the previous match-ups by a combined 15 points — including, a 42-36 victory last season.

"Again, got a lot of respect for Louisville -- their team," Swinney said. "We've had some incredible battles with them and don't expect this one to be any different.”

—The State looks at the impact Lorenzo Ward has already made in his first season on U of L’s staff.

—If you just can’t contain your enthusiasm on Friday night and you need an outlet, there’s a place you can go.

—247 Sports lays out the biggest games of college football’s third week.

—Clemson’s offense knows it needs to “bring it” against a high-powered Louisville team.

—How about some love for Blanton?

You always hear too much about kickers when they’re having a rough time, and never enough when they’re killing it.

—The Crunch Zone has a survival guide for Cardinal fans on Saturday.

—For Clemson’s secondary, the focus isn’t just slowing down Lamar Jackson’s passing game, it’s catching him when he breaks past the line of scrimmage.

“We always played against each other our whole life. We’ve never played on the same team,” Mullen said. “I know what he does, what type of player he is. How he is now is how he was before.”

Mullen referred to Jackson’s dazzling agility and dynamic speed. Jackson captivates spectators as he petrifies defenders. He stresses defensive backs with his accurate arm, but also with his legs.

Not simply by making them look silly as he shuffles out of their futile attempts to tackle him in space. Jackson also forces corners and safeties to work overtime in coverage.

With the grace and flair of a bullfighter, Jackson can sidestep pressure, extend plays and stretch the pocket from sideline to sideline.

Then deliver a dart downfield.

“You’re never going to take away his creativity,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said. “You’re in great position, but you’ve still got to make the tackle.

“He’s going to use his gift. He’s able now to create. Now you’ve got to cover really good players a long time, or you get anxious and you come out of coverage, and he can throw on the run as good as anybody.”

Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables said Jackson exemplifies the same mystifying skills as former Texas quarterback Vince Young, whom Venables faced during his tenure at Oklahoma.

"Sometimes the worst thing you could do against Vince Young was cover everybody. Obviously, Lamar has that in him as well," Venables said. "He's got a great arm. Tremendous natural wiry strength. Even when you've got a free hitter, it's like a 50-50 ball for us on defense."

—Keeping it Heel outlines three key stats from UNC’s loss to Louisville.

—Not quite flawless execution, but the enthusiasm is definitely there. That’s the most important thing during a big game week.

—The ACC’s official website reviews the league’s collective performance in week two.

—Trayvon Mullen is Lamar Jackson’s cousin. He’s also a sophomore cornerback at Clemson who will be trying to slow his family member down on Saturday night.

But the two of them talk every day. They are family — first cousins who spent their childhoods 20 minutes apart from each other in south Florida and grew up facing each other on the football field regularly.

Saturday will be another installment of the family rivalry when No. 3 Clemson travels to No. 14 Louisville for a primetime showdown.

Mullen is ready.

“I’m looking forward to it. I am. We talk a lot, man. We talk a lot,” Mullen said Tuesday. “I tell him we’re ready to get after him ... but we don’t even so much talk about football. We just talk because we’re cousins. We just talk. As far as talking about the game and things like that, we haven’t discussed that.”

If there is anyone on Clemson’s team who knows the ins and outs of Jackson — what makes him tick and what his nuances are — it is Mullen.


“I don’t want to say (he was) mad (after Clemson beat Louisville 42-36 last season) but he felt like they could have done things better to put themselves in a better position to win and things like that,” Mullen said. “Arguably, I think (he could be the best player in college football).”

—National champion Mallory Comerford is set to carry the sixth-ranked U of L swimming and diving team this season.

—One gambling website likes Louisville to cover Saturday night.

—CBS has Lamar at No. 6 on its updated NFL Draft big board for 2018.

6. Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville

As outlined in this week's QB Stock Watch, Jackson was studly against North Carolina ... like NFL-quarterback-prospect studly. If the Louisville signal-caller continues to improve from within the pocket, watch out. He very well could repeat as the Heisman winner and be selected in the top 10.

Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph is No. 1.

—Dabo Swinney talks about his team’s plan at running back, which is a position they’ll need more from Saturday night.

—The Tigers have thrived in big games under Swinney, and Saturday’s showdown is definitely that.

—This will get the juices flowing.

—And finally, beat Clemson.