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September 10, 2013Despite a 44-7 win over the Eastern Kentucky Colonels, Cardinal fans are a little uneasy over the inability of the Cards to effectively run the ball against the FCS team.
UofL managed only 78 yards for the game and an anemic 2.8 yards per carry. At least three times the Cardinal runner was dropped behind the line of scrimmage.
Should UofL fans be concerned? Without a doubt there is reason for cautious trepidation, but a replay of the game indicates some competitive reasons for the poor ground game showing.
Evidently the Eastern coaches made a pre-game decision to stop the run and throw caution to the wind on the passing game. Their plan was to keep seven players in the box and pressure Teddy while shutting down the run. The final score indicates how effective that play worked.
Covering DeVante Parker, Damian Copeland, Kai DeLaCruz, Eli Rogers, Gerald Christian and Robert Clark one-on-one is not going to be a successful way to beat Louisville. Especially in some cases when Clark and Christian are being covered by a linebacker.
Another problem with this strategy is that with Louisville's diverse offense the opposing team never knows if Louisville is going to pass or run regardless of the situation. On several plays Eastern was so devoted to the run that they didn't cover the tight end. Christian and Hubbell had six catches, the most by that position in Charlie Strong's tenure at Louisville.
As to the plan to pressure Bridgewater that worked about as effective as building a bridge over the Ohio River waters. In spite of sometimes rushing seven players they never laid a hand on Teddy. He was so lonely in the backfield that in the second half at one point he tried to become a coach. The offensive line has obviously spent a lot of time practicing protecting the golden goose and they are doing a good job.In two games the opposition has one sack.
Cardinal fans also need to give some props to the Eastern defensive front seven. They are an experience group with three fifth-year seniors and at least two years at every position. They also use several backups to keep the players fresh. They have a lot of speed and are well-coached. Eastern picked their poison and it turned out to be lethal.
A better evaluation of UofL's running game will be this weekend against Kentucky. They have three highly-regarded defensive linemen and will not stack the box. It will be a good test for the still developing offensive line of the Cards.