As usual, send your questions to me on twitter (@keith_wynne) or email (email@example.com). I’ll also try to remember to throw any questions in the comments into the next week’s bag. Big thanks to Leeroy Jenkins for the new title for the mailbag. I think it’s fitting.
Not sure what your predicted win total was before the season but do you want to adjust that after the ND game? Also, how refreshing was it to see misdirection and jet sweep plays in this offense ?— LJ tha King (@LJthaFiasc0) September 3, 2019
I felt like they could get to four wins somehow this season and that hasn’t changed yet. I think they played well on Monday and there are tons of things they can build on but it’s just one game. The next two weeks are the most important games of the season, in my opinion. Louisville has a chance to iron out the issues they had against Notre Dame and they have two bad teams to do it against. They need to improve stopping the run and throwing the football. Until I see those things, I’m not sure they’re good enough to change the win prediction.
The offense is fun, right? A good amount of folks labeled it as “boring” because it’s run heavy but we all like big plays and we saw how that happens on Monday. I still think there’s more to come and we’ll see it on Saturday. Notre Dame fell into some of the traps from the misdirection but it didn’t translate to the passing game. Obviously, EKU and WKU don’t have the coaching or athletes ND did. Folks will get a good look at just how fun this offense is.
Do you think the ball security issue can be solved in two or three weeks of practice?— BigCardinalFan (@CardinalBig) September 3, 2019
I would typically say no but Scott Satterfield seemed genuinely surprised that they had issues with ball security and snaps. I think the snaps could be helped by picking a center and going with him. Rotating centers is just odd and I think it led to some of the issues. I tend to think that Pass will only get better with his ball security as he runs more. He really didn’t have an issue taking hits in the pocket last year but open field running is a different world. Five fumbles is a lot but I’m feeling pretty good about more game reps helping more than anything.
Seemed on multiple times the inside line backers where out of position to make a play on a QB run and a crossing route. Was this bad execution on their part or ND scheme?— Kevin wild (@Kdwild01) September 3, 2019
Such a great question. I think the linebackers had a solid game overall but they really left a lot to be desired on the edges and in coverage. The crossing routes really stood out to me because it looked like different guys were playing different coverages. The corners passed off the crossers but the receivers that were running off coverage on the other side of the field had defenders running with them. That’s the goal of the play for ND but someone has to pick up the crosser. No one did and that’s why we saw those routes get caught and go for yards after the catch.
The run game had tons of issues. Guys just weren’t playing their gaps well. On Notre Dame’s second touchdown Dorian Etheridge avoided a block to the inside instead of working to get across the block. Also, I still don’t know what C.J. Avery was doing on the first play of the game (I wrote this before Satterfield called this a “mental error” but I’m leaving it in). It looked like he might’ve been mixed up and thought he was supposed to blitz and he tried to correct himself. Running with your back to the play like he did didn’t make sense though. These are the types of things that you look to be corrected over the next two weeks. The execution just wasn’t where it needed to be.
What do you think the chances are we see Evan Conley starting before the year is up?— *Mr_JUNE_1st* (@ErronMcAlmont) September 3, 2019
Barring injury, I don’t think Conley will see the field outside of four games. I could see him playing in the next two games as well as two other games at some other point. I think that even if the team gets eliminated from bowl contention they will play all three guys. But, it would take Pass and Malik being unimaginably ineffective or injured for them to go to Conley. I just feel like if Conley was good enough to be the starter, he would have had a chance before the season starter. He’s been here since December and he hasn’t even been mentioned as an option so far. Just getting him game reps this year in those four games would be enough, in my opinion.
My feeling on things is pretty simple. They’ll have a full competition for the starting quarterback job next spring and fall if Pass doesn’t play well. I think the staff knows that and starting Conley wouldn’t change that. Really it just comes down to the fact that he never seemed like a real competitor for the starting spot. If he was in the mix, I’d feel differently.
From Stephen via email:
I was going to ask your opinion of EKU’s 3rd-string QB, just for old time’s sake. But, since I don’t know who that is, how long will the fan base have to wait before we can expect to regularly go bowling again?
Year three is the most fair bar to me. By then, the roster will have three recruiting classes that they’ve evaluated as well as three full offseasons to get all of the culture stuff the way they want it. This staff has already addressed some position issues on offense and they did some good things for the defense in their initial class. If they can keep recruiting the way they have so far, they should have a handle on a lot of the roster issues by then and they will likely have a lot of guys on the field that they recruited. To me, the excuses are pretty hard to come by in year three. If you’re recruiting like you should, you at least have sophomore players at key positions.
“Regularly” is a key part of this though. Louisville is a program that shouldn’t have trouble getting to six wins each year. However, they haven’t backed down from a tough non-conference schedule over the next few years. They have Notre Dame again next year and Ole Miss, UCF, and (potentially bad) USF. Then you have a potentially solid to good UK team each year. If the ACC continues to trend slightly upward on their side of the fence, you don’t really have a schedule with a handful of “gimmies” like they had the first few years in the conference. I wouldn’t be shocked if Louisville somehow made a bowl one year but slid back with some close losses in another year. I think we’ll know more after we see more from this current team over the next handful of weeks.