2013 Louisville Spring Football Analysis
2013 Louisville Cardinals ...
Head Coach: Charlie Strong
Why To Get Excited … Fresh off a stunning Sugar Bowl upset of Florida, the Cardinals are the heavy favorite to return to a BCS bowl game in their final Big East season. The team is loaded with proven talent on both sides of the ball, while head coach Charlie Strong has done a remarkable job of keeping the staff intact.
| 2013 Schedule|
9/7 Eastern Kentucky
9/14 at Kentucky
9/28 OPEN DATE
10/5 at Temple
10/26 at USF
11/2 OPEN DATE
11/8 at Connecticut
11/30 OPEN DATE
12/5 at Cincinnati
Why To Be Grouchy … If Louisville is going to maximize all of the skill position talent surrounding QB Teddy Bridgewater, it’ll have to patch up two gaping holes on the offensive line. The 2012 edition’s two most accomplished blockers, LT Alex Kupper and C Mario Benavides, finished their college careers in the Superdome on Jan. 2.
The Number One Thing to Work on Is … special teams. The Cardinals are quickly ascending under Strong, but they’ll need to correct the small things in order to live up to Top 10 billings. The special teams unit was a vast wasteland a year ago, struggling badly in every imaginable phase of the game.
Team Concerns For 2013: Expectations? With 19 returning starters and a big puffy chest after the Sugar Bowl win, the hype will be through the roof for the Cardinals. However, there's still work to be done for a running game that sputtered and coughed, averaging just 123 yards per game. The defense didn't get into the backfield enough, finishing last in the Big East in sacks and tackles for loss. The special teams are a major issue outside of kicker John Wallace, who hit 16-of-21 field goals. The punting game was the second worst in the nation, the kickoff returners were the third worst, and the punt return game was the Big East's worst.
Non-Conference Games: Ohio, Eastern Kentucky, at Kentucky, FIU
Realistic Best Case Record: 12-0
Worst Case Record: 8-4
Likely Finish: 11-1
Pre-Preseason Projected Wins: Ohio, Eastern Kentucky, at Kentucky, FIU, at Temple, Rutgers, UCF, at USF, at Connecticut, Houston, Memphis
Pre-Preseason Projected Losses: at Cincinnati
Schedule Analysis: There’s no excuse. There isn’t a prolonged run of road games like most Big East teams have to deal with, and there’s no one on the schedule who should be the favorite. The Cardinals don’t have a tough non-conference game – no, going to Kentucky doesn’t count – and the big conference showdown against Rutgers is at home. If this really is a BCS caliber team, going to South Florida and Connecticut won’t be a problem, and home games against Houston and Memphis should be layups before getting a week off to prepare for the toughest game on the slate at Cincinnati.
The 2013 Class Is Heavy On ... Linemen. Receiver James Quick is the best recruit by any Big East team, and Kyle Bolin is a good quarterback to develop under Teddy Bridgewater, but the class is about the lines and building up the infrastructure. The offensive side gets Cameron Fraser and Skylar Lacy at tackle - both have the right frame and body to be effective after a few years in the weight room - while defensive tackles De'Asian Richardson and Finesse Middleton are nice gets.
Linebacker Donel Elam will eventually be a starter, and Keith Kelsey
will someday be one of the team's leading tacklers.
2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 44. That Class Was Heavy On ... The lines. The defensive line needs prospects to develop for 2014 and beyond, but the bigger need haul should come for the interior of the offensive line that’s set for a while with John Miller and Jake Smith at guard, but with quality depth a must. The Cardinals won’t go heavy on tackles, but they’ll have more than their share of blockers.
2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 30. That Class Was Heavy On ... Secondary. The star of the show needs to be Teddy Bridgewater, a tall, talented passer out of Miami who moves well and is the type of calm, cool presence to make an offense shine. He spurned Alabama, Auburn, Florida, LSU, and other big names to be the main man for the Cardinal attack, and head coach Charlie Strong hopes he has his Vince Young. He’ll have a terrific target to throw to in 6-3 speedster DeVante Parker, and Eli Rogers and Charles Gaines out of Miami, with Rogers working as Bridgewater’s main man at Miami Northwestern, will help. The strength is in the secondary with safety Gerod Holliman a future Big East star and corners Andrew Johnson and Terrell Floyd two Floridians who could see time right away.
2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 42. That Class Was
Heavy On ... The passing game.
New head man Charlie Strong brought in three
quarterbacks led by Dominique Brown, and they'll
have plenty of targets to work with. Six
wideouts signed on and they all fit a type with
decent size and tremendous speed. Michaelee Harris
out of Miami is the best of the group, but Stephan
Robinson could grow into a dangerous playmaker. The
defense has its star to build around in end B.J.
Butler, a speed rusher who could've gone to Alabama
2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 63. That Class Was
Heavy On ... junior college transfers. Can you smell the desperation coming out of Northern Kentucky? Steve Kragthorpe, in need of instant help, went heavy on JUCO transfers, especially on the defensive side of the ball. The scales tipped overwhelmingly toward the D in this class, though Kragthorpe did land Santa Rosa (Calif.) College QB Andrew Froman, who’ll be in the mix to replace Hunter Cantwell.