An In-Depth Look at the Bearcats // Cardinal Dominance
I will forewarn you that this is lengthy. But it is of a very high quality and provides much insight to the Cards and to the matchup in general
Red zone defense at 50 percent or better. Louisville's offense in the red zone has been a dumpster fire this season. In 11 trips they managed only five touchdowns and two field goals. That means 37 percent of the time they come away empty. Yikes. Take UC by comparison, in 28 trips to the red zone they own 20 TDs and four FGs. Not allowing the Cardinals any satisfaction -- particularly early on -- will build their scoring frustrations even more and allow the trend to continue.
This is the key. Personally I could care less about the red zone scoring percentage, but keeping the TD percentage near .50 is a recipe for success.
It is crystal clear our young and inexperienced line is not able to establish a competent running game. Abandoning the run game is not an acceptable solution, but we need to become a pass first offense for the time being. Correct me if I am wrong Cardinal fans and Mr. Watson, but the only time our offense has been effective is when we play with urgency and have allowed Teddy to make plays in the backfield. I do want to watch Bridgewater scramble for his life on every play then make a miraculous, on the money 40 yard pass, but it is entertaining, and seems to be the only thing that works. Our offense has been too predictable, and slow moving this season, and it might be time to abandon the huddle on every down of every possession.
"The thing that’s really been our Achilles’ heel is penalties," Strong said. "…It’s either a penalty on defense that allows a team to continue to drive the ball, or offensively we’re getting stopped. We’ve got to stop shooting ourselves in the foot." Strong is tired of talking about them — and even more tired of seeing flags litter the field. But he doesn’t quite know the solution either. The punishment for penalties remains running after practice, but that hasn’t been a deterrent.
This is where I say again that being the most or least penalized team in the nation has no effect on winning percentage over the course of a season
Through five games this year, they have five combined takeaways, tied for No. 107 in the nation. They are at minus-4 in turnover margin, tied for the worst in the Big East and No. 98 in the country. You can bet a big emphasis for the Cardinals has been trying to get strips on ball carriers to at least try and get some momentum going for the offense.
There is the swing between UC's turnover margin and the Cards is massive 16
KENBRELL THOMPKINS (Junior) WR Coach T.J. Weist believes this offense needs three productive receivers to thrive. McClung and Woods are bankable now. Once UC gets KT on board the formula will be complete. Thompkins has trimmed down after a summer of injuries. His speed is back and the impeccable hands never left. The last link will be QB Zach Collaros developing that needed trust with Kenbrell. Earnestly Thompkins was the best practice performer in early April, prior to injury.
The Volunteers pushed around Cincinnati's defensive line, but the loss turned into a turning point. The Bearcats scored three defensive touchdowns in the first half of the next game against Akron, forced three more turnovers in the win over N.C. State, then got its first shutout since 2006 the following week against Miami (Ohio). N.C. State and Miami aren't world-beaters, but it's tough to imagine last season's Cincinnati defense shutting out anyone or holding a Big Six team to 14 points.
Get Isaiah Pead to 100+ Yards Rushing – The Cincinnati offense revolves around Zach making the proper pre- and post-snap reads. But having Pead get his yardage and keep the defense honest will only help the Bearcats’ offense score points. He’s always a threat to take one to the house but Louisville’s defensive lineman and linebackers have been very stout against the run this year. So it’s important for the offensive line to perform well in run blocking as well as Pead finding those holes and exploiting them.
If iPead can get 100 yards the game will be easy for UC. Louisville's approach will be much like Miami's, make someone other than Isaiah beat them
Test the secondary. UC saying they might open it up more should not be a smoke screen. UC should absolutely open it up more. The secondary is very shaky for the Cards. North Carolina had deep chances. Marshall threw on them. Hell, FIU beat them because they got deep. It's time to turn it over to the receivers and see what they got. DJ scored twice on Louisville last year. Repeat?
Yes D.J. Woods scored twice, but he damn near died in the process
If the Floridian is given time to throw on Saturday, he is capable of doing plenty of damage to the UC defense, but that’s a big "if" because the Cardinals’ offensive front has given up a whopping 18 sacks in its five games. Those 18 sacks rank U of L No. 116 out of 120 FBS schools.
I think that Derek Wolfe is going to have a field day. Also pay attention to the match up between Mario Benavides who is one of the better centers nationally and John Hughes who will spend a ton of time at the nose.