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The Wynnedbag: Week Nine

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 19 Clemson at Louisville Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Louisville got blown out by Clemson last week and it has led to one of the weirdest weeks I’ve seen as a Louisville football blogger. No one seems to have lost it over the game but it feels like everyone is in this weird zone of worry. It feels like no one really knows how the rest of the season will go and they don’t want to get their hopes up. I get it and it makes sense but it has been so interesting to watch play out. Losses always bring out a little weirdness but I think last season has everyone worried that this team could lose out and ruin all the fun.

As always send your questions via Twitter (@keith_wynne) or email (keithwynne2@gmail.com).

Honestly, I think that both guys have played well enough that you’re probably better off playing both guys and then going with the hot hand at some point in the game. These guys have nearly mirrored each other so far so the real question might be who you pick out of the two. To me, that’s why we’re still seeing both guys play. We haven’t seen any real negative from what they’re doing so far.

I normally agree with guys needing to get into a rhythm and whatnot but this offense isn’t very complex and it’s probably fair to call it simple. It should be much easier for a guy to step in and play well. But I do worry that it will be much harder against teams like Clemson and Virginia who throw a lot more looks at you, defensively. It’s probably easier to adjust to the stuff they’re throwing at you as the game goes on. But until I see one of these guys struggle, I think sticking with what they’re doing is the smart play.

Louisville is probably on par with everyone else. So far, they’ve lost two guys for the season in Jawon Pass and P.J. Blue. That’s probably about average but better off than plenty of teams. They’ve also been able to avoid injuries at the key spots where they don’t have a lot of depth. Obviously, Cunningham’s nagging injuries have been an issue but he seems to be good to go now. You also have Hassan Hall’s injury that we don’t know much about yet. Overall, I’d say that’s pretty good more than halfway through the season.

One thing they have going for them is that they’ve done well to manage the freshmen on the roster as well as one of the guys who was here last year. So if they need to play Telly Plummer at safety or on special teams down the stretch, they could still redshirt him. Then you have the two freshmen running backs that have seven games left between them if Hall is out for a long time. Zach Edwards still has two games to play on the defensive line and Dorian Jones will see the field at some point at inside linebacker.

Scott Satterfield has specifically said that he could see some guys being used on special teams but I could also see them used as load management guys. Being able to put Edwards in the rotation every other time it hits for two games would be helpful. Same with Jones if you could use him instead of Monty Montgomery or T.J. Holl for a few series. Ramon Puryear is another guy they’ve used some this year. He has another two games to help out on the defensive line.

FROM CLINT VIA EMAIL

Watching the game against Clemson, I feel like our defense played on their heels in terms of bring pressure when it came to third down. I don’t remember a specific time we blitzed on third down, and watching Clemson play defense, they blitzed it seemed every single time on third down (at least it looked like they had several guys in the backfield once the ball was snapped. So my question is this:

1. Do we need to get more aggressive in bringing pressure going forward, particularly on third down obvious passing situations or are you do like what the scheme is on those downs?

Through the third quarter against Clemson, Louisville had held them to 2-8 with an interception. Bryan Brown mixed looked to confuse Trevor Lawrence with his coverage calls and it worked well twice. It also led to Clemson keeping most of their passes underneath and not down the field. So I think the goal was accomplished against Clemson. But the same can’t be said about all of the games before then. They haven’t been terrible on third downs but they have allowed too many plays in the middle of the field in long yardage situations.

I’m still standing by my prediction that the defense will look much better going forward. They’ve played the top offenses in the conference plus Notre Dame. The closest offense to any of the P5 teams they’ve faced is Miami and they’re 10th in the ACC in scoring. All of these teams have glaring flaws and I think that we should see Bryan Brown take advantage of them. One of the main things is that they all have bad offensive lines outside of Kentucky. The pass rush should start getting more pressure and everything gets better behind it.

The focus will definitely be on the offensive and defensive lines for a few years until they at least find themselves in a situation where they have the numbers where they want. Right now we’re watching a defensive line that has the total number of scholarship guys that they want but half of them don’t fit what they do. They’ll be losing at least two of those guys to graduation so they now need at least one guy that can step into a big role in 2020. On top of that, they still need about four guys until they have the bodies they need for their rotation. So it will take time to get to where they want to be up front. The have done a great job fixing the numbers on the offensive line though.

Outside of that, I think they’ll look to add a running back or two in the 2021 class. They also will need some linebackers. The spots where they like to rotate guys will be where we see them put their focus. There won’t be a ton of wide receivers or defensive backs but we’ll see them look to get more guys at the non-skill spots where you see more injuries and guys needing more rest. I also think we’ll see them look to utilize walk-ons at tight end to get to their numbers. I don’t think they’ll use more than one or two scholarships on special teams.

If I had to take a stab at it, I’ll assume the scholarship breakdown would look like this long term:

QB: 5

RB: 7

TE: 5

WR: 10

OL: 15

DL: 12

LB: 12

CB: 9

S: 9

ST: 1