This week I caught up with John from Card Chronicle to discuss Friday night’s matchup between Louisville and NC State. Check out his answers to my questions below; my answers to some questions from John will be up at Card Chronicle today as well.
1.) With so many new faces and a new coaching staff, has this start exceeded your expectations for the Cards?
How’s a “yes and no” answer for you to firmly cement my position? When the schedule came out earlier this year I think most Louisville fans thought a respectable squad could start the season 4-0 with the level of competition they had in the first four games. Neutral site games against GT and Indiana and a couple home games against Murray State and Boston College isn’t murders row, so while sitting at 4-0 is exciting, it’s not really shocking. The “yes” of that answer is the way the offense has adjusted to the new scheme and is putting up solid numbers in both the passing game and ground game. I felt like there was going to be a learning curve but dropping 56 points twice and 39 in the opener is pretty “dagum good” in their first four (shoutout Dayton) games.
2.) Of the transfers who joined the program this offseason, which have had the biggest early impact?
Tough to judge on a scale of “most impactful” as there are more than a handful who have come in and fulfilled their role. Near the top of that list of course is QB Jack Plummer who was with Brohm at Purdue for years and then spread his wings and went out to California to throw up some crazy numbers for the Bears before flying back to The Ville. Plummer knows the offense well and after a shaky start appears to have settled in and is putting up some gaudy numbers thus far. He’s been consistent enough through Week 4 to have a Top 6 passer rating nationally. Outside of Plummer wide receiver Jamari Thrash is a weapon in space averaging over 21yd/rec and 100yd/game along with 5 touchdowns. Wideout Kevin Coleman is another great addition and on defense Storm Duck and Devin Neal have helped bolster a secondary that needed depth.
3.) How is Jeff Brohm putting his stamp on the program? How has the team’s personality changed?
The vibe is just different around the program. It’s easy of course to ride the wave of success at 4-0 but I feel like even if they drop a few this year the fans are behind the staff who has a lot of local ties and really support the university on and off the field. Brohm of course played here at Louisville (as well as Brian Brohm, Greg Brohm) and the feeling around the program is the hometown kid is here for the long haul. After having a run of coaches who always appeared to be looking for the next big thing it’s nice to have some stability...especially with a guy who can win football games. The offense is exciting, the defense has played well, and the success in the transfer portal earlier this year helped point toward a place where players wanted to come and compete for championships. It won’t always be puppies and rainbows but right now the energy is on the rise. Not looking over NC State (I really hope) but the school just announced the game next week against Notre Dame is a sellout. Not sure if they’re 4-0 or if they sell out the game with Satterfield still running the show.
4.) What are your biggest areas of worry for Louisville at this point?
While the offense has had some rough quarters (and halves), I feel more confident that Brohm and his playcalling can get them out of any funk they may get trapped in. The defense on the other hand looked porous for a quarter against GT, and let Boston College slice them up a bit last week after the Cards jumped ahead. The defensive scheme is not designed to get a ton of pressure up front unless the front four beat their man, so it really relies on forcing the QB to make throws and for them to make tackles and limit the long plays. My concern would be having an average offensive game and the defense can’t do enough to stop the opposing offense from finding spots in the zone or beating their man. A mobile QB worries me, and a game changing wideout can cause problems.
5.) How do you see the game playing out on Friday?
Back in August we always do preseason predictions (groundbreaking, I know) and this was the first loss on the schedule for me at that time. I figured the combination of a Friday night game, on the road, in really their first true road environment, against a solid defense, and an offense led by a QB who has had success against the red and black in years past....it was just too much to overcome. Having watched them both play this year my scales have tilted a bit more towards the Cards and I think they can sneak out of there with a win if they settle in early and score some quick points to quiet the crowd. I don’t see a back and forth but more of a sloppy slugfest that’s close near the end. I’ll say a Jawhar Jordan TD late puts the Cards ahead and the defense holds on one last time as the clock expires. Cards 24-21.