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Thursday afternoon Cardinal news and notes

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Parker Reynolds is watching film and getting his mind right for Saturday afternoon.

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—Spread check: Louisville by 2.5.

—Your third-ranked and undefeated Louisville volleyball team is back in action this weekend, hosting Boston College on Friday and Syracuse on Sunday. Here’s a preview of the weekend ahead.

—Jordan Watkins and Marshon Ford talked with the media after practice earlier this week. You can read what they had to say here.

—Bryan Brown and CJ Avery were the U of L representatives who took questions on Wednesday. Brown was very critical of his defense’s performance in last week’s loss to Wake Forest.

(On how he would grade out the defense against Wake Forest)

I would grade those guys out as a ‘D’. It wasn’t great for us at all. We had some spurts, but playing in this league and playing against really good offenses, you have to bring your a-game every week, and we didn’t do those. Especially times in need when we need to make plays, The third and 12th play on the sideline where they had to review to play, if we’re off the field, that’s seven points off the board. We do a good job of wrapping up the quarterback on one of the runs, that’s four points off the board because they had to kick a field goal. Just things like that. When we got a guy blitzing, he’s supposed to be covering running back, the quarterback’s get ready to go down. He throws to the running back, and now he got a first down and they score. Little stuff like that, it always adds up, and that’s one thing we didn’t do this past Saturday. We didn’t do our job. We had guys trying to do other things that wasn’t in call for that defense. We have guys supposed to blitz, they blitz it and then they pop out. If they stay in that gap, they may get that tipped ball on that first draft. Just little things like that we got to most definitely have to clean up in order to be a better defense. Right now, we’re a ‘D’ as far as my book from this last game.

(On the cause of the lack of execution in the Wake Forest game)

I think the one thing is you got to try to create those moments in practice, to where it’s chaotic. Because that’s what happens in the game. In the game, it gets a little chaotic, because motions and shifts, they go really fast. When you’re going against tempo teams, it’s hard to kind of replicate that tempo. We’re trying to create it as best we can within that, and put them in tougher situations to where they understand, “hey, I got to focus”. I got to focus on my key, my reads - and I think that’s one thing, is this a lack of focus at times when they get tired. We got to continue to get better with that.

(On why the defensive metrics have taken such a significant dip from last season)

I think because we’re not making as many plays as we did last year. When you’re not getting off the field on third down, now you’re adding extra plays, and now you’re adding extra yards. If you’re not getting off the field on third down, you can continue to play more plays, and now your numbers most definitely will continue to dip. Because you’re playing 80-some odd snaps, as opposed to some games last year you’re playing 60-some odd snaps. Now the yard is most definitely will be down. So if you can’t get off the field on third down, you add more plays, and you’re giving the offense another opportunity to score with a touchdown and the field goals. If you can’t get off the field on third down, those numbers will dip drastically if you can’t get off the field, because you play more plays.

—The 23rd-ranked men’s soccer team is back on the road to face a top 10 opponent for the second straight Friday. The Cards will take on No. 9 Virginia Tech tomorrow at 5 p.m. in Blacksburg. Here’s a preview.

—The “Omar whistle” could wind up being a fixture at Ravens home games.

—It appears as though Chris Mack and Jerry Eaves have mended some fences.

—Mack and his staff spent a chunk of their Thursday visiting with class of 2022 shooting guard Bryce Lindsay from Baltimore. Lindsay currently has planned visits to Oklahoma State and Virginia Tech, but now says he’s planning a visit to U of L as well.

—After two games, Louisville baseball’s annual “Pizza Bowl” series is knotted up at one win apiece.

—The 7-2-1 women’s soccer team hits the road tonight to take on No. 24 Notre Dame. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. and Bally Sports South has the TV coverage. Here’s a full preview.

—Not crazy about the result of the play, but this is pretty awesome.

—More than 100 youth soccer teams will converge in Louisville for the “Just for Kids” Fall Classic at the Lynn Family Sports Vision & Training Center.

—Louisville Report’s Matt McGavic is taking the Cards over Virginia this weekend in a 41-38 shootout.

—U of L has announced some reminders about what to expect inside the KFC Yum Center for home basketball games this season.

Health/Safety Plan: To address health and safety measures, masks are recommended to be worn in all areas of the KFC Yum! Center for UofL events, regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status.

Cashless Concessions: All concession areas within the KFC Yum! Center are cashless. Fans should be prepared to use a credit or debit card for all transactions.

Mobile Ticketing: Mobile entry will again be utilized with ticketing for men’s and women’s basketball games this season. For more information on this process, visit GoCards.com/TicketHub.

Bag and Purse Policy: All bags are subject to search upon entering the arena. Backpacks of any kind, including drawstring, fanny packs, computer bags and camera bags are prohibited. Bags no larger than 14” x 14” x 6” will be allowed into the arena for University of Louisville events. Medical bags are permitted and subject to search.

—Two separate drivers struck a female pedestrian near Bashford Manor in the early hours of this morning. Both left her for dead, one after briefly stopping. She died.

The collective lack of empathy that is on full display in stories like this on a daily basis is horrifying.

—Hana Ryskova tied for ninth overall as the University of Louisville women’s golf team tied for sixth place at the Blessings Collegiate Invitational.

—Carlik Jones balled out for the Mavericks in his NBA preseason debut, coming off the bench to score 13 points.

—Racing Louisville lost in its return to the pitch Wednesday night, but that wasn’t the evening’s top storyline.

—Scott Davenport’s Bellarmine Knights have been picked to finish third in the Atlantic Sun this season by the league’s media, and fourth by the league’s coaches.

—Pro Football Focus ranks all 130 FBS starting quarterbacks and has Malik Cunningham at No. 20.

20. MALIK CUNNINGHAM, LOUISVILLE

Cunningham lands here at No. 20 because of the danger he poses in the ground game. He has picked up 14 explosive gains of 10 or more yards and broken 18 tackles on 62 attempts — 45 of which were designed and 17 were scrambles. His 88.6 rushing grade is second to only Malik Willis at the quarterback position among FBS quarterbacks.

Cunningham can also get the job done through the air, as evidenced by his 74.6 passing grade in 2021, but just know he’s a bit limited in that regard. He has only three big-time throws in five games, which forms one of the lowest big-time throw rates in the country.

—Attention U of L fans in South Florida: There will be “U of L Alumni Night” festivities during the Ravens-Dolphins Thursday night game at Hard Rock Stadium on Nov. 11. More information can be found here.

—The Louisville offense set numerous season-highs in last week’s loss to Wake Forest, and it appears to be on the verge of reaching even greater heights.

—U of L announced Wednesday it secured a record $201.5 million for research in the 2021 fiscal year. That number is an increase of more than $30 million over the previous record set last year.

—Jack Harlow for mayor.

—Turns out that Jon Bostic hit on Teddy Bridgewater in the 2013 Sugar Bowl was a violent collision featuring two pretty cool human beings (Athletic link).

—A scholarship (or even preferred walk-on offer) to Louisville would mean a great deal to Franklin, TN native Logan Frazier.

—Jeff Greer was at the Louisville men’s basketball practice on Wednesday and wrote about what he saw.

I was particularly impressed by Noah Locke, who is a savvy, smooth scorer with way more to his game than a jump shot. This was one practice on a Wednesday in the early stages of the preseason practice schedule, so read what I’m about to type with that very large caveat in mind: I wouldn’t be shocked if Locke is Louisville’s primary scorer. Every jumper he releases looks like it’s going in, and he can drive or drop in a floater, too.

Sam Williamson’s new jump shot comes off smoother and should be more reliable. He is still pound-for-pound Louisville’s best rebounder and just exudes confidence. Mack’s belief in Williamson’s potential is evident in the way he pushes the 6-foot-7 junior.

To steal a phrase from Jon Rothstein, there is palpable buzz (yeah, I said it) about Williams. Because I didn’t see him practice on Wednesday, I am relying on those who have regularly seen him, but he looks primed for a big senior year if — and it’s, of course, a big if — he can stay healthy.

Locke’s fellow elder statesman in the backcourt, Jarrod West, has the respect and attention of his teammates. He is very much the floor general and a vocal leader of the team. El Ellis showed flashes of why he was the top junior-college prospect in the country, and there is optimism in the program that he is close to “getting it” and turning a corner. He is still working through learning moments at this level, and that’s why having West and Mason Faulkner helps, but he has the quickness and athleticism the team needs.

—Bill Bender’s latest bowl projections for The Sporting News have the Cards taking on Utah in the Military Bowl.

—Streaking the Lawn’s latest ACC power rankings have Louisville at No. 8.

—It’s the 105th anniversary of Georgia Tech’s 222-0 win over Cumberland, which makes today the perfect day to revisit this work of art from Louisville’s own Jon Bois:

—Louisville has become a hotbed for field hockey talent, and that was on full display Monday night at Trager Stadium.

—It appears Shannon Russell has covered her last season of Cardinal hoops as the CJ is looking for a new U of L men’s basketball beat writer.

—There are just three remaining undefeated college volleyball teams remaining in America — Texas, Louisville and Pitt.

Louisville

Record: 14-0

AVCA ranking: No. 3

Best win: 3-0 vs. Purdue in Cincinnati, Ohio

Toughest remaining matches: vs. No. 2 Pittsburgh on Oct. 24 and Nov. 24

Next match: vs. Boston College | 7 p.m. ET on Friday, Oct. 8

Louisville has been making strides in college volleyball since its big upset over Texas in the 2019 NCAA tournament. From then to now, they have gone from underdogs to a top-5 team in the nation, and now, a top-3 team. The Cardinals have almost entirely the same lineup as that 2019 team, with Tori Dilfer running the offense, Anna Stevenson, Aiko Jones, Claire Chaussee and Amaya Tillman. Tillman ranks second in the NCAA in blocks per set. Last year, they added Anna DeBeer, the ACC Freshman of the Year. She currently leads the offense with 3.33 kills per set, followed by Chaussee with 2.76 and Stevenson with 2.75 kills per set.

Louisville took down then-No. 6 Purdue in straight sets to march themselves right into the top 10. The Cardinals also defeated No. 8 Kentucky, the reigning national champions, in a five-set thriller, (the last time Louisville beat their in-state rival was in 2012) and they took down Nebraska in a sweep as well. This team is the second-best blocking team in the country, but also got its offense and defense working well this year season.

—Tyler Greever of WHAS has a good feature (video) on Dani Busboom-Kelly’s Cardinals.

—Cardinal Authority has a photo gallery from Wednesdays’ Louisville men’s basketball practice.

—UVA’s 247 Sports looks at the Tale of the Tape between the Cards and Cavs.

—That’s a big board.

—Bryan Brown’s defense needs to be on its “A Game” against a Virginia passing attack that enters this weekend as the second-best in the country.

—Brown and company are preparing for a “unique” attack from the Cavaliers.

—U of L freshman big man Roosevelt Wheeler is happy just to be healthy and back on the court.

—Lamar remains the best.

—The Virginia defense knows it’s up against a tall task this weekend in slowing down Malik Cunningham and the Cardinal offense.

—Cardinal Authority plays know the foe with UVA.

—Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman likes the Cards over the Cavs by a touchdown.

—And finally, we’ll have Bennett Conlin of The Daily Progress on The Mike Rutherford Show today to break down Louisville-Virginia. We’ll also be talking about Mike James, T-Will and the other big stories of the day. You can listen the old fashioned way on 1450AM/96.1FM, or stream the show here.