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The Wynnedbag: Week Three

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You’ll be shocked to know that people have questions about the defense.

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

To say I got a large amount of questions this week would be an understatement. So I’m going to try to bunch some together that are similar.

The answer to Presley’s question kind of answers Mark’s. I think they will fix the busts that we saw against Miami. The reason I think that is that they were pretty obvious. Last season they had busts and I still don’t know how some of them happened. The three we saw against Miami were easier to figure out and I think they are all alignment-based issues that Bryan Brown should be able to fix with film. However, I can completely understand why it’s a concern for some. We saw it last year and we haven’t seen it fixed yet.

I don’t know that you bench Hayes going forward because of these busts. If they were deeper and they had a more certain option to replace him, I would say go for it. At some point you have to raise the standard but I don’t think they’re yet. They don’t have that kind of depth and maybe more importantly, Hayes played well against WKU.

I think there’s an unknown here as well. What led to the busts by Hayes? Biting on play action is one thing. If he was freelancing on the long run play and either not staying back or setting the edge that would be a different story. If Brown can’t trust him to stay on assignment, you might as well go with Jenkins and accept the potential mistakes he’ll make. But I don’t think any of us can say we know what really happened at this point.

I think it’s a bit too early to change things up if you’re Bryan Brown. They are trying to create more havoc than they did last year and it seems to be working, overall. Against WKU they got 10 tackles for loss as well as a good amount of stuffs at the line. Miami averaged 5 yards per play outside of the three big busts. I think that’s at least a solid start to the season.

However, I think that they do need to be more basic while staying aggressive. The stunts and exotic things they want to do need to be saved for obvious passing situations. They kept it basic in week one and they were really good against the run. That led to long yardage plays where they could do some different things. I think they did a better job with their base look in the second quarter against Miami but it’s hard to know if they would’ve continued with that success because they immediately started busting in the third.

If UofL can force two field goals and two punts like they did in the second quarter, I think they have something that can work. I just think they need to fix their alignment issues that Miami exploited and they have to buy in to the scheme which is built on doing your job. Overall, I don’t think that they’re having major issues as an entire defense. They’re having individual issues that lead to highlight plays that get blamed on “the defense”.

It didn’t change anything for me, personally. Up until last week I had called this a loss. My mind changed after the way the defense played in the first game. But before that point, I was certain that last year wasn’t a fluke and it turns out that it wasn’t.

I think the Pitt game will tell me more about this team. Is the offense just going to be more conservative this year? That would give me a lot of concern going forward. Will the defense have these same types of busts that we saw last year and against Miami? That’s a big issue that will lead to closer games or a loss or two. But if you change those things about this game, we probably see a different outcome or at least a different type of loss.

FROM STEPHEN VIA EMAIL

Which players will benefit the most from the extra playing time they’ll get this season, with the new rule that the season doesn’t cost them a year of eligibility?

I missed Stephen’s question last week because my real life is a bit hectic right now. But it’s not game specific so I’ll answer it now. Players won’t lose a year of eligibility this season due to the NCAA changing the rule for one year. That means that seniors could come back and freshmen can play and still be freshmen next season. It’s going to lead to some weird situations but there are guys who will definitely benefit.

In my opinion, we won’t see much of an impact this season but we could see it lead to an extra season for a player down the road. UofL has a good amount of seniors but all of the contributors have a shot at the NFL as a draft pick, UDFA, or maybe a scout team role. Coming back for another year wouldn’t help any of them, in my opinion. Age starts to become a factor for those guys. I could see a guy like Dayna Kinnaird sticking around for another year after next season, though. Maybe Malik Clark or Josh Johnson does the same to try to get more playing time.

Monty Montgomery is the main guy to me. He’s undersized and he doesn’t get as many snaps as he could with CJ Avery and Dorian Etheridge in front of him. Could he come back as a junior next year and then use the extra year to get two years as a starter?

I think the Offensive Line played well against Miami but it’s fair to say that they didn’t look like a super athletic group. I would say that’s more due to Miami being very good up front than anything else. FSU did the same last year and if I had any memory of the game, I’d imagine Clemson made them look pedestrian as well. Louisville has a good line but they’re not as gifted as the defensive fronts they’ve seen. I think they looked good against everyone but DeAngelo Malone against WKU but they had some issues handling their athletic Linebackers.

Miami just has freaks up front and they are probably going to make a lot of people look overmatched. I wrote in the #W2W4 that Nester Jade Silvera would be a problem but they did pretty well against him. Jaedan Phillips and Quincey Roche made some plays but that’s not a surprise. Overall, I think the line is holding up well, especially in pass protection. After Pitt, things get easier but they should improve as the year goes on and we could see a group that’s a strength by the end of the season.

I actually have a very real concern that Miami gave everyone a blueprint on how to slow down Louisville’s offense. Kentucky showed it last year and Miami adjusted what they normally do to use it last week. It’s all about keeping everything in front of you. UofL is explosive but if you can take away the one-on-one opportunities that we saw all of last year, you force them to run the ball and stick to intermediate passes. While that’s not the end of the world, it requites much better execution than a bunch of big throws down the field.

So what Miami and UK were able to do is put Louisville in a position where they have to stay on schedule and they have to convert third downs. Louisville gives up a bunch of negative plays and they’ve been inconsistent on third downs. That’s a terrible recipe if the defense can do what UK and Miami did. I’m not sure it really works if you don’t have the athletes Miami and UK have up front but I’d imagine some other team will test that theory.

Louisville has to be as efficient as they were against WKU when the had 5 negative plays until the very last drive of the game and they were 7-10 on third downs at one point. That’s a tall task, but it feels like the book is out on the explosive offense we saw last year and they have to adapt.