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Countdown Q&A - Week 2, Indiana State

NCAA Football: Louisville at Alabama Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to a semi-new series here at ‘Card Chronicle’ where during the football season yours truly, CardinalStrong, will go tit for tat with a writer from the Cards upcoming opponent each and every week, tossing out some questions and hopefully getting some well thought out and intelligent responses (that a ‘them’ problem, not a ‘me’ problem).

For those that follow ‘The Cardinal Countdown’ in the summer you are likely already familiar with the concept and have seen my opening week opponent Q&A the last few years. My extended Q&A with ‘Roll Bama Roll’ can be found here for all the masochist who want to relive that nonsense, but for those who want to look ahead at the bigger and brighter future we have in store, have I got a special treat for you...Since the Indiana State message boards aren’t exactly popping off daily AND the in depth knowledge you crave pertaining to the Sycamores’ is likely minimal in relation to our future opponents this week I decided to pick the brain of Mr. Keith Wynne, whose work is riddled throughout the site every single week covering the offense, the defense, and everything in between for the Cards upcoming adversary. Not to mention, the slacker has only had like four other posts this week...whats one more? Lets jump right in, kiddie pool style.


CS: I know many of us are trying to move on but we’d be remiss to not at least go back and drop a couple questions about the Alabama game and its potential impact to the Cards moving forward, both physically and mentally. There is no denying the fact that Louisville was dominated in all three phases Saturday, but for me I was able to identify a few bright spots on offense and defense throughout the night where the Cards did some things that offered me a sign of encouragement. Did you see anything the Cards can build on moving forward or is this a “watch the tape then burn the tape” type effort?

KW: I went back and watched the game a couple of times to look for some things that they could hang their hat on and there weren’t many. They did start off the game with some great energy on the defensive side of the ball and some individual players did some things that jumped out. Mike Boykin showed some great quickness early on and he beat his man off the snap a few times. That’s what they need from him and others up front to create some havoc. Dee Smith also looked pretty good in run support. The overall scheme looked pretty good, however. I think that if they can stop the run well, they should have some success on defense this year.

I’m more bullish on the offense than I think most are. I think the line looked really bad for most of the game. The pass protection was solid in the first half but it was exposed once Bama started bringing different pressures. The run blocking didn’t look good from anyone throughout the game. I also think that the Tide defense didn’t play very well. I know that sounds crazy, but it didn’t surprise me at all when Saban flipped out after the game.

Alabama v Louisville Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Louisville had a lot of open receivers running through the middle of the field. There were a lot of coverage mix ups and guys being out of position. But, it was definitely a good sign that Jawon Pass capitalized on nearly every opportunity that they had. I was also really happy to see Seth Dawkins make a big play where he made the first guy miss. UofL needs those plays this year from their receivers.

Another lasting affect we were all trying to avoid in Week One was injuries, but yet again the Cards are hit with a significant one on the defensive side of the ball as Petrino announced on Monday that Jon Greenard would be out “a while” due to a hand/wrist injury suffered in the first quarter against the Tide. If I had to pick one player on defense to keep safe this year it would have been Greenard as I think his leadership and athleticism is going to leave a big hole on that side of the ball. If I know anything about BVG it’s that he hates unfilled holes. Who, or what groups of guys, is gonna try and fill that ‘Greenard-sized’ hole?

Losing Jon Greenard is big. I think he provided the “scheme versatility” that BVG was going to be able to utilize a lot this year. To put that in some context, Greenard started the game at outside linebacker but the play that he was injured on was a play that he was lined up at defensive tackle. He just can do so much for the defense and I don’t know that they have another guy that can be that versatile.

NCAA Football: ACC Media Days Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

I would have to say that Tabarius Peterson will be the first guy they look to to make those plays as an edge player but Amonte Caban playing well against Bama is definitely a good sign. Those two at defensive end is pretty solid. I do think that BVG has to find ways to get Boosie Whitlow on the field in passing situations, though.

While it’s really just a microcosm of my perpetual frustration with the Cards continuing to stack up penalties like Russ Smith does waffles why in the world is there a personnel group and an offensive formation that have the same name, and how was it just discovered, and then discovered again, and then discovered again, and then discovered again on Saturday?

I’ll just be blunt. The answer that Petrino gave doesn’t make any sense. Two of those penalties were on the offense and two were on defense. So, he seemingly only addressed half of them. Also, at least three of those penalties appeared to be called due to an upperclassmen making the mistake. So his blaming it on “true freshmen” doesn’t seem to make sense either. Penalties are just a part of what this team does under Bobby Petrino. It’s not the end of the world when players make mistakes because they’re young guys and you kind of expect those things from time to time. What you don’t expect is your veteran coach to make these types of weird mistakes or for him to not own those mistakes.

Ok, moving forward now, the Cards get the Indiana State Sycamores this week for the home opener, at night, in a new expanded/renovated Cardinal Stadium. I believe the current spread is (looking...looking…) approximately 97 points as the Sycamores, even after a win over Quincy (Jones?) last week, are now 1-13 the last 14 times they stepped onto the field. Is this going to be a game at all, and if it is should we be concerned when starting to look at the games ahead?

This won’t be a game at all. ISU has to be feeling good about how they played last week, but Quincy is a bad school in a lower division than the Sycamores. They pretty much did what UofL should be able to do this weekend. I’d be very concerned if Louisville has issues on either side of the ball. Specifically, if Louisville has trouble running the ball or defending the pass. Those would be big red flags to me.

You may have touched on it above but is there one guy who can hurt the Cards enough that it would warrant the casual fan keeping an eye on him during the game (a Greg Ward Jr type athlete)?

They feel pretty good about their quarterback. He adds a running ability that they have schemed around a bit. I wasn’t too impressed with him but I think he might do pretty well for them at their level of play. I actually liked their running back Ja’Quan Keys on offense and Katrell Moss at middle linebacker. Both are big guys that can move well. The Sycamore defense ran well to the ball last week and Moss was in on almost everything.

A huge thanks to Keith for taking some time to help us pin some very insightful answers onto these extremely difficult and hard-hitting questions (wow, thank you me). Next week be on the lookout for me and a representative of the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers to go back and forth about the impending Week 3 matchup. Maybe it will be noted WKU alum Willie Taggert? Maybe it won’t.

Only one way to find out. See you next week.