LOUISVILLE ABSOLUTELY HAS TO FIX THEIR ISSUES ON THIRD DOWN
I’d take a wild guess that most people aren’t aware of the fact that Louisville’s defense is ranked better on third downs than the offense. Before the Wake Forest game, Louisville’s defense was ranked in the top 25. The fact that they have fallen so far over the last two weeks is either a testament to the offenses they’ve played or a sign that teams have started to prepare much better for what they do.
I tend to think that it’s probably a mix of both but the more likely issue is the fact that they have faced offenses that really push the pace and the defense has run out of gas late in games. Wake and UVA both ran over 80 plays and we all saw how the defense finished the game. The staff needs to have a better plan for rotating players or this will be an issue all season. Get guys like CJ Avery, Kendrick Duncan, Q Cole, and others a breather and they can make some plays in the second half.
On the offensive side of the ball, I have no clue why they are struggling on third downs. This team avoids negative plays better than any team in recent history. They should be staying on schedule more often. However, the passing offense is very average on third downs, only completing 58% of their passes. The running game isn’t much better with 10 first downs on 33 attempts. This offense is getting itself in manageable situations much more often than in the past but they are absolutely awful at converting for whatever reason.
BRYAN BROWN NEEDS TO FORCE DENNIS GROSEL TO BEAT HIM
Boston College has lost their last two games because they abandoned their running game and tried to force the issue with the pass. The issue for them has been the inconsistent play of their second-string Quarterback, Dennis Grosel. Grosel is one of the most experienced and effective backups in the country. That needs to be pointed out. But he is also a limited player who hasn’t shown the ability to win a game on his own.
Bryan Brown’s game plan should test that by putting players in the box to stop the run and put this offense in obvious passing situations. When they get them in those situations they should mix things up to keep Grosel off balance and force him to work hard to make plays. Louisville has made it too easy for Quarterbacks to find open guys.
The 3-man rush has been talked about a lot but my issue is the lack of complex coverages behind the rush. UofL can get stops with a 3-man rush. We know that because we’ve seen it this season. The issue that I’ve seen is that offenses are running plays that attack cover two and basic zones and they are finding guys open in the gaps that are designed to be there. The Cards need more looks that are designed to confuse and I think they will force more incompletions and maybe more turnovers.
LOUISVILLE NEEDS A BIG WIN AT HOME
I talked all summer about the need for Scott Satterfield to win games to get fans back on his side. Well, he missed two major potential wins that both fall on coaching. Satt excited the fanbase in his first year because he won the close games. It wasn’t really talked about much at the time but close games are always decided by coaching. So when he lost the close games in year two his coaching was questioned. Especially when it came to personnel.
After self-sabotaging himself this offseason it was obvious that he would have to win and he would have to have a season close to or better than year one to win people back. A big home win this week will go a long way to providing some hope for the second half of the season. Plenty of fans are still on board with this program right now but they need something to hold onto to believe that this team can be more than a 6-6 squad that grabs a bad bowl game.
The staff also needs to get some sort of momentum with high school recruiting for the 2023 class. The 2022 class is mostly done and the staff will be hitting the transfer portal hard to add some veterans to a very young roster. But the 2023 class has a little bit of juice from a potential standpoint. They have multiple four-star prospects scheduled to visit for the Clemson game. Getting a home win by a couple of scores only helps the selling points for the recruiting staff.