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What To Watch For: Murray State

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The #W2W4 this week actually looks for some improvements from last week.

NCAA Football: Kent State at Louisville Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

A COMPLETELY CLEAN GAME FROM THE OFFENSE

Last week I wrote about wanting to see a clean game from the offensive line in the hopes that they could get over the “hump”. That didn’t really happen as Lamar Jackson was pressured early and Louisville was stuffed on short yardage runs multiple times. The line had issues with picking blitzers as well as just getting blown off the ball by guys who were just playing harder.

This week I’d like to see the entire offense play a clean game. The offensive line had their issues but let’s not forget that the offense turned the ball over four times, including three turnovers by Lamar Jackson. Dez Fitzpatrick had a pass slip through his hands which led to one of those turnovers. Josh Johnson fumbled the ball into the endzone for a touchback. Louisville played an inferior opponent and they shouldn’t have had these issues. This weekend they need a clean game with no mistakes.

A REPEAT DOMINANT PERFORMANCE ON DEFENSE

As rough as the offense looked at times last week, the defense looked about the opposite. Kent State had a couple of drives where they were able to get some small chunk runs up the middle, but the defense was opportunistic and played much better than they had this year in a game that they should play well.

Louisville also showed really good effort with guys flying to the ball and multiple players getting to the ball to make a gang tackle. Kent State had no success running the ball outside of the tackles and their option runs were defended very well with guys turning the play back inside. Trumaine Washington also got a nice pick-six in the first quarter.

Murray State is a bad FCS school. UofL should be able to dominate withe their first team and their backups. It should be another good game to improve some stats.

BACKUPS GETTING INTO THE GAME MUCH EARLIER

Louisville didn’t start getting backups into the game until the third quarter on offense and the defense didn’t make wholesale changes until then, either. Peter Sirmon started Russ Yeast and C.J. Avery and they got early minutes for TreSean Smith, also. I’d like to see Colin Wilson get into the game early and I’d really like to see Jawon Pass playing in the first half.

I didn’t totally understand why Bobby Petrino felt that he needed a bigger lead to pull the starters last week but I’d imagine he had a set number in mind. A clean game on offense should lead to a much bigger lead this week and some extra time off for the starters. Louisville needs to build true depth and they need in-game film to asses which guys they want to make up that depth.

MULTIPLE BIG PLAYS IN THE PASSING GAME

Murray State has given up a good amount of big plays in the passing game this year so we should see Louisville try to stretch the field this week. UofL hasn’t taken many shots down the field this year but they should take the opportunity to do so on Saturday. Seth Dawkins and Corey Reed are two guys that I think UofL could use well down the sideline and I think Dez Fitzpatrick is definitely a good candidate on deep passes down the middle of the field.

I don’t subscribe to the idea that teams shouldn’t “show too much” in cupcake games. I especially don’t feel that way with Louisville as they have so many looks and can run so many things out of them that it doesn’t really matter. Also, Petrino is known for taking advantage of the weakness of the defense he’s facing. I don’t think it would really matter if he did some different things or not.