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The Wynnedbag: Week Thirteen

NCAA Football: Eastern Kentucky at Louisville Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

I ended up with another MegaBag this week with a bunch of questions. My apologies if I didn’t get to your’s this week but I got flooded which tends to happen after a win. We got some good stuff about the future of the program as well as the Syracuse game this week.

As always send me your questions via Twitter (@keith_wynne) or email (

Louisville is last in the country in tackles for loss allowed this year which is obviously surprising with how well they have run the ball this year. They’re sack total is pretty rough too but we all know that the quarterbacks have been the culprit on a lot of those plays. When it comes to the TFLs there seems to be a few issues that lead to them giving up so many negative plays.

The first issue that I’ve seen is guys getting blown off the ball. No one is exempt from this but Cole Bentley and Robbie Bell seem to be the guys you see it happen to the most. That’s not unexpected as they are guys that have played different positions since they got to campus. That’s something that will hopefully improve over time as they get more experience with Dwayne Ledford.

The other main issue I’ve seen is guys allowing too much space between their blocks. It’s creating lanes for defenders to shoot through that the back can’t run through. It’s a little tough to visualize but if Bell isn’t getting enough push on his guy while Tyler Haycraft is, Javian Hawkins can’t cut through that hole and he has to keep going outside. The defender, on the other hand, has a clear shot at Hawkins by splitting that gap between the two linemen. The first half of the FSU game was where we saw this a lot. With time, we’ll see the line do better with moving as one unit so that these gaps are only there for the backs.

It should also be pointed out that NC State and App State weren’t consistently great in this area. Some of this is just part of what you deal with in a zone scheme. It’s no different than a basketball zone. Guys are going to find gaps in your zone and hurt you. What Louisville needs to be able to do, in my opinion, is counter the aggression they are seeing from teams by utilizing play action more often.

The big question with Jawon Pass has an answer that none of us will know. His future hinges a lot on his academic situation because he will have to sit if he transfers without graduating first. Would a guy that is missing nearly all of this season want to sit for another one? Does he want to take a step down to FCS to play quarterback instead of sitting? Is he on pace to graduate and none of this matters? There are just a lot of unknowns and him being injured could make things harder on him. Guys are looking to transfer earlier now so that they can get as much time as possible to get a starting spot and that’s especially true for quarterbacks.

We also don’t know if Pass is willing to get healthy and look to win his starting job back. That might be answered after the season or during spring ball before he’s fully healthy. If it lasts all the way through the summer, he could have the same shot as the rest of the guys to win the job and he might go for it. The elephant in the room is what if he’s willing to change positions? Maybe he’s willing to try tight end or H-Back?

Personally, I don’t think that Jawon Pass will see the field as a quarterback here again. He may have been able to finally reach his potential this year but he ran into some bad luck. He’ll get the chance to get his job back but I don’t see him pulling it off.

So I have a post coming on this after the season is over but that face is what I think these coaches expected in 2014 but they never made it when Lamar Jackson wasn’t under center. This year has shown how important creativity is in all aspects of the offense. I’ve been breaking down games all season and every week I end up posting the same plays and they keep working for some reason. That’s because Scott Satterfield has been very creative with his formations and pre-snap looks. It’s unbelievably simple but somehow complicated.

To me, it seems like it’s all about making the defense question things and guess. So many offenses are about making the defensive calls hard instead of making it hard for the actual guys on the field. Eye candy will always work in college football because every defense is full of young guys that won’t ever have the time to watch enough film or digest a full game plan with tendencies and habits. So throw a bunch of different looks at them and they’ll play reactive football. That’s why you keep seeing guys chase Tutu Atwell outside when he goes in motion. What play do you think stands out when they watch film? The one where he’s streaking down the sideline after a pop pass. So you run him in motion and call plays off of that motion.

This offense is a legit big play offense and there’s no way that anyone that watched last year’s team expected this. There’s more film on the offense now but all that film is showing is that you can’t stop all of the weapons Satterfield has deployed. I’d make that face, too.

I watched this game again this week and I think it’s a bit of fool’s gold. It was 14-6 for a good while even though Duke never really had a chance. It felt close but it really wasn’t. But the score was at least close until Duke just started giving the ball away. Cuse got 21 straight points and all of them were off of turnovers. Syracuse scored 49 points on 59 plays even though they only averaged 6.69 yards per play. The numbers don’t really add up to a normal “blowout” win. Their defense just flipped this game on it’s head in the third quarter and it got out of hand really quickly.

I do think that their defense played better than they had been to start the season and it will be interesting if they can keep that going. Duke is very bad and they’re awful on the offensive side of the ball but they’ve put together a few good performances this year. Syracuse shut them down from the start and didn’t let up. Coming off of a bye week with a new defensive coordinator, they looked like a veteran defense with multiple NFL guys. They hadn’t looked like that before last week.

I’ll be very surprised if they lose anyone this year from the top level staff. I’ll honestly be surprised if they lose anyone. Part of that is because they have so many guys that have ties to Satterfield. Three coaches have no ties to the current staff. ShaDon Brown had a relationship with Bryan Brown before he took the job and his story about meeting Satterfield at a coaches convention a few years back because he was eating by himself is one of my favorites.

So, it would take one of the coaches that have been on Satterfield’s staff for some time now to leave or for Norvall Mckenzie, Cort Dennison, or Gunter Brewer to decide to leave. We all know that anything can happen but I don’t personally see it after one year with these guys. Brewer has stuck at everywhere he has worked until he went to the NFL last year. Dennison was looking to come back to Louisville early last season and he actually bought a house this time around. Mckenzie is more of an unknown as a very young guy with young kids. He might be more willing to move on before he grows roots.

The guy I’m most worried about jumping ship early is actually Bryan Brown. I don’t think it will happen soon but he told Cam Teague earlier this year that he took the time to think about whether or not he wanted to take a run at a head coaching job before he took the DC offer. He’s not ready and this year definitely puts a bit of a blemish on his resume, but if he gets this defense straightened out in a couple of years, he’s probably going to take his shot.

I’m completely bought in on the idea that Satterfield provides a working experience that most head coaches don’t. It’s one of those “Dabo” things that I think a lot of fans have been hoping for when the hire happened. Staff continuity is a high priority and we all know Vince Tyra will be willing to pay to keep guys around. So it’s about quality of life and these guys and their significant others all seem to be sold on that aspect.

Louisville is in good shape when it comes to redshirts. If you read this site, you know how much I hate that a couple of guys had their redshirts burned last year on special teams. As of now, Evan Conley should be the only freshman that won’t redshirt this season. In my opinion, that’s a good thing. Ja’Darien Boykin was the only guy I saw getting time this year in the 2019 class and he didn’t qualify. So being able to save a year with these guys is a good thing.

I do wish they could have found a way to utilize the four games with more of the guys. Zach Edwards will likely play four games and I know they planned on getting Dorian James in for these last four games but he got hurt on the first play of his season. Jackson Gregory got in against NC State so you should expect to see him play over these nest few games also.

I’d say that any freshman that is healthy will see the field in some capacity if Louisville gets up by three or four scores late in a game. I’ve noticed that pretty much all of them are dressed out and ready to go if they get a chance. I also can’t stress how important the bowl practices are. It’s like an extra spring for all of these guys without veteran guys in front of them. They’ll get some valuable time to learn the system and get coached up.

Louisville trades out Miami for Virginia Tech next year and EKU for Murray State. I watch their opponents a lot and I end up getting a pretty good understanding of their rosters and recruiting because of it. Notre Dame and Clemson will still be ahead of Louisville but FSU will have a new coach and there’s a real possibility that they lose a lot of talented guys from a bowl team. That leaves a group of teams that UofL beat this year.

Louisville is bringing back at least eight full or part time starters on offense and eight on defense. Special teams has questions with a new kicker and punter but the staff has options. At this point it’s all about depth. Louisville is still going to be short on defensive linemen and the second group of offensive linemen will likely be full of redshirt freshmen. But, they should have experience everywhere else. Guys like Trenell Troutman, Marlon Character, Jack Fagot, Trevor Reid, Zach Edwards, and others will at least have JUCO experience to help them step into bigger roles. I don’t know if they’ll win more games next year, but I’d be a little surprised if they win fewer without something unexpected happening.