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Western Kentucky Film Review: Third Quarter

The third quarter brought some minor mistakes but also some very nice individual plays.

NCAA Football: Louisville at Kentucky Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports


The Louisville defense started the second half like they ended the first half. Just watch how CJ Avery and Dorian Etheridge get downhill once they see a gap. They don’t start this play shooting the gap like we saw at times in the first half. They read and react and when they react they get after it.

It’s also important that Yassir Abdullah whips his man and chases this down from behind. He changes the path of the runner and Tabarius Peterson sets the edge to the other side. They won’t get credit in the stats but this play is D.O.A because of the effort they put in.


The first thing that stands out in this play is how Rodjay Burns, Dorian Etheridge, and Tabarius Peterson box it in. Burns takes on the outside shoulder of the blocker. Etheridge forces the issue instead of breaking down and “catching” the runner. Peterson reads the screen and chases it from the inside. There’s nowhere to go for the receiver. The tackle is made before the blockers even get to the area to make a block.


This was the one play of the game from the defense that looked like something we would see last year. I’m a gigantic Anthony Johnson fan but this is just a really poor effort from him. He gets turned around off the snap which is fine but it seems like he just doesn’t recover from it. He ends up face guarding and drawing a flag.

Bryan Brown has talked about wanting guys to play the football more and get turnovers. This is a play where Johnson should at least be able to play the hands of the receiver and make sure the catch isn’t made. I’m not sure if he just didn’t notice the receiver turn back for the ball or if he expected a different route, but he has the time to make a play here and he ends up not doing anything right.


I didn’t purposely clip these two plays one after the other, but that’s how they happened in the game. Tre Clark does a really good job of braking on the ball here and he plays through the receiver and gets the PBU. Clark isn’t the only guy that can make this play but we haven’t seen this from Marlon Character or Anthony Johnson over the last year.

Chandler Jones and Clark make up a pretty strong combo at corner and I would be surprised if they weren’t the starters going forward.


If Louisville gets this Rodjay Burns in coverage this year, the defense will be much better than what we saw last year. Burns has shown that he can blitz off the edge and he has been solid in zone. This is what we know he should be good at but he hasn’t been in the situation much. UofL played their “Money” package a ton last year on third downs where Etheridge came off the field and Burns did as well at times. Here they leave the base group on the field and Burns is essentially a Nickel. I don’t remember seeing this at all last year.


Logan Lupo got caught on the sideline saying that this block isn’t on him. He was right but he was very wrong to say it to whoever he was talking to. You work as a unit and the unit broke down here.

It looks like Derek Dorsey expected a rugby punt here while no one else did. He shifts to the right to put himself in the path of the rusher but gets caught off guard when the rusher just keeps going straight. It’s a miscommunication which happens. They need to clean it up though.


UofL’s Offensive Line started to get better as the game went on. They still didn’t get the push that you want but they cleared running lanes for the Running Backs. Renato Brown gets a nice kickout here to just take his man out of the play. It’s not pretty but it gets the job done.

Cam DeGeorge and Cole Bentley really stand out on this play. They get a very nice double team and give Javian Hawkins a convoy to run behind for a nice gain. The run game didn’t look great at times but it was really solid in the middle of the game.


Dez Fitzpatrick makes some absurd plays when the ball is in the air. I’m not sure how to even describe how crazy this play is. You just don’t see players adjust like this and actually make the catch. Even your most savvy receivers turn into a defender and just try to bat this ball down. Dez just changes his path and steals it away from the defender.

The throw wasn’t good but the reverse angle of this play appears to show that Micale Cunningham probably didn’t see the Safety bail out and get back into coverage. You actually can’t see Micale at all in that view. So my thinking is that he lofted this ball up because Dez was so open and he didn’t know that he wasn’t essentially laying up the worst arm-punt I’ve seen in years.


Later in the game we started to see some undisciplined play from the defense. Burns was free off the edge all game long but he had been splitting the difference well and then crashing to the running back. Here, he just takes off for the back and doesn’t even attempt to respect the QB. Etheridge keys on the back as well and the edge is wide open with no one there to make the play. I don’t think there’s much to it but these guys were being really aggressive and making plays. It’s probably fair to wonder if they lost focus and started getting sloppy.


This was a bit of a coverage bust with Chandler Jones not sinking into his zone like he should. You can see Bryan Brown on the sideline immediately getting on him after the play. This looks like a basic Tampa Two where Jones should let the receiver go like he does here but he should also drift back into the zone in case he gets behind him like he does here.

I’m not totally sure Isiah Hayes isn’t at fault for not closing on this more quickly but this play from the offense is designed specifically to exploit this coverage. I believe that Jones is supposed to pick the bigger threat on this play and that’s the receiver behind him.


Monty Montgomery is going to be a problem this year. He is spying on this play and he closes on the ball in a flash. I don’t even have much else to say. This is just crazy speed from a Linebacker.


The only play more impressive than the last play was this one on the next drive. Montgomery has something you can’t teach and it’s closing speed. Louisville is keying on guys like Montgomery on the recruiting trail, but just bigger versions of him. I think it says a lot that they found a guy like him that was overlooked and found a key role for him on the defense.


People talk about basketball in terms of beauty a lot but this play is beauty to me. The timing is really good but the flow of it on the screen is so nice to me. The ball is on a rope and all of a sudden you just see Dez coming back to the ball and catching it with his hands before he turns up field and gets the first down.

We also get a little bit of a look at how Dez gets himself so open. Watch how he slow plays it off the ball before he goes full throttle just before he leaves the screen. That is how you get a corner to open himself up and run. The goal is to be able to hit the brakes and leave the corner running up the field. The space between him and the corner is due to him setting him up so well. It leads to him being able to make a play after the catch.


I wonder if any teams will utilize pre-snap shifts like we see here. If you time it right, you’re likely to cause a bit of confusion like we see here. Robbie Bell doesn’t get a good chip on the tackle and Cole Bentley is left trying to reach him while also trying to control him. That’s nearly impossible unless you can get your head across. The end result is the tackle just pushing his way into the backfield and lucking out into Hawkins running right into Bentley. I tend to think this play would have been successful if not for the shift because Bell and Bentley had handled doubles really well earlier.


This was a bust by the defense and I’m not sure how no one noticed it. UofL has the number right initially with two corners and a Safety over the twins to the right side. But, when there’s motion, no one moves and they end up with three on three which is not really what you want with all that open space.

It’s also weird to me that Etheridge doesn’t get outside at the snap after the motion to the wide side. He needs to close the space in some way because there’s a lot of green grass without him out there. It also looks like Isaiah Hayes bites on the run action we see from the Offensive Line and that makes him late to get over and make the play. Just a weird play all around by the defense and maybe another play that was due to a lack of focus.