This should be a good game, and a fairly stern test for UC. I have already gone in depth about Louisville on both sides of the ball and what you can expect to see from them. As always there are a couple of things that I am going to be watching for as a UC perspective.
- Watch the play of Sean Hooey up front at right tackle. He is stepping in for Alex Hoffman who is out for this week's game with a sprained MCL. Hooey played well in that spot after the injury against Miami, but Louisville is more talented up front and much more adventurous in their blitz packages and line games. If Hooey can play to a draw with the Cards DE's it should be all systems go for the UC offense. This may be the first of many starts for Hooey, he will be a multi year starter by the time he walks away from Clifton.
- D.J. Woods should be in for a big week after deferring a bit to Binns last week. Louisville didn't have a ton of depth in the secondary to begin with. They switched Darius Ashley to corner from RB to shore up depth at corner and my understanding is that he has played a lot of nickle so far. D.J. should own that matchup.
- The Run Defense. I have a lot of confidence in this group to stop the run based on what I have seen to date. But this is the first properly good running game UC has faced, Oklahoma and NC State have talent at running back, but neither of them run their offenses through their RB like Louisville does. If Derek Wolfe and Co. can keep Bilal Powell bottled I will retire my questioning until I am given a reason to.
- UC's nickle package, this has been the base personnel grouping for the UC defense since the six minute mark of the third quarter in the Oklahoma game. They had four series against Miami and surrendered 19 total yards before yielding to a 4-3 base after going up 28-0. That's the best group and should see the field for most of the game.
- Isaiah Pead. The Cards could defiantly get Pead On. UofL has faced some good backs to date, but with all due respect to Quizz Rodgers and and Derrek Locke, both of whom went for 100 yards and multiple scores against UofL, they don't come close to matching the explosiveness of Pead. If Pead plays to his average from the past two weeks UC will win easily. If he doesn't its anyone's game.
- Ball security. Apart from the Miami game this has been an issue all season long. I want to know if Miami was an aberration or if it is a sign of things to come.
- Takeaways, UC is 110th right now. When your defense struggles to turn the ball over the margin for error gets very very thin. I like the guys in the secondary, I think they have a ton of talent. But they have yet to express that talent in making big plays. They can, but they haven't so far.