Author Archives: Nick Coffey

Louisville vs. Miami: Four Keys To The Game

Photo: David Manning - USA Today

Photo: David Manning – USA Today

I can only speak for myself, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen the Louisville Cardinal fan base as confident for a season opener against a legitimate team. Even without DeVante Parker, I’m confident that Petrino and the Cards will pull out the win, but a loss is certainly possible. Here are my five keys to the game.

1. Contain the run: Duke Johnson may be the best running back that the Cards will go up against this season. The junior was off to a huge 2013 campaign before going down with a foot injury. He didn’t play against Louisville in last year’s Russell Athletic Bowl. If Johnson is able to get going early on, that’ll definitely help true freshman quarterback Brad Kaaya get comfortable.

2. Get to the QB early: Brad Kaaya may end up being a fine quarterback for the Miami program down the road, but the true freshman will have his hands full in his first career game. Kaaya will make his debut in a very tough environment. If Louisville’s able to bring the pressure early on, it could rattle the 18-year-old rookie. If he’s able to keep his poise in the first couple of series, he could find some rhythm.

3. Rush for more yards than Miami: Bobby Petrino’s offense is known for big passing plays, but most folks forget how effective Petrino is at running the ball. Duke Johnson may be the best running back on the field tonight, but if Louisville is able to get solid carries out of the Bronwn-Dyer-Scott-Radcliff-Lamb committee, it’ll really open things up for the passing attack. Duke Johnson is going to get his, but Louisville’s collective effort from their running backs could outweigh Johnson’s impact.

4. Convert in the red-zone: With DeVante Parker out, Bobby Petrino has lost his biggest red-zone threat. Parker may in fact be the best goal line threat in the country at the wide recevier position. Last year we saw the Cards have a lot of trouble at converting in the red-zone when Parker was out. I’m confident that Petrino will be able to use guys like Brown, Christian, Rogers & Quick effectively in the redzone, but we truly haven’t seen it yet. I’m confident that Louisville is going to move the ball without a lot of trouble, but turning long drives into touchdowns instead of field goals will be crucial.

Luke Hancock Has Signed A One Year Non-guaranteed Deal With The Memphis Grizzlies

Photo - Pete Cautilli

Photo – Pete Cautilli

Despite not hearing his name called during the 2014 NBA Draft in late June, it turns out former Louisville Cardinal sharp shooter Luke Hancock will have an opportunity to make an NBA roster for the 2014-15 season.

Shams Charania of RealGM.com was the first to report the news that Hancock has signed a one year deal with the Memphis Grizzlies.

The deal is not guaranteed and is only worth the NBA league minimum. Hancock still has to earn a spot on the roster, but he definitely provides the one thing that the Grizzlies are lacking, which is a three point shooting threat.

Prior to the draft, Hancock worked out for the 76ers, Pistons, Bucks, Jazz, Rockets, and Celtics but wasn’t selected.

He played for the Orlando Magic and the Houston Rockets in the NBA’s two summer leagues. His best showing was with Houston, but apparently the Rockets weren’t interested in his services long term.

Hancock played two seasons for Louisville after transferring from George Mason in 2011. He was named a team captain for the 2012-13 season prior to ever playing a game for the Cardinals. Hancock averaged 7.7 points that season but went on to having of the post-season stretches in the program’s history.

He was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player during Louisville’s national championship run in 2013. Hancock scored 20 points in the national semifinals against the Wichita State. In the title game against the Michigan, the Cardinals trailed by 12 points late in the first half before Hancock scored 14 straight points to cut the deficit to one by halftime.

He finished the game five-for-five on three-point range and became the first player in NCAA Tournament history to be named the Most Outstanding Player despite not starting for the championship team.

The Five Do’s & Don’ts Of Tailgating

Photo: CardNation Road Crew

Photo: CardNation Road Crew

It goes without saying that one of the best aspects of college football is the tailgating experience. Some folks get just as excited about tailgating as they do about the actual games. However, there is a right way to do it and there is a wrong way to do it. Before you head out to tailgate today, take a look at the annual Do’s and Don’ts of Tailgating.

Do’s

DO Bring car charger for your cell phone. It’s a long day, and you won’t be able to stay updated on all the action if your phone dies. Also, download The Cardinal Connect app for your iPhone. You’ll enjoy it.

DO taunt the other fan base but try to stay creative and not get personal. Telling someone that they suck is unacceptable. Giving someone specific reasons why their team sucks is better. Unless it is a UK fan or a West Virginia fan, always offer a beer after the smack talk.

DO bring a football. Its old school, you’ll likely lose it and you may not throw it throughout the entire day. However, if you do want to throw it, you’ll be thrilled you brought it along.

DO make sure your cooler is prepped to sustain the day. Space and temperature are important, and a poorly constructed cooler can ruin your day. Ice and perhaps a little bit of water on the bottom is a strong foundation for the entire setup.

DO wear black. If you’ve not heard by now that this is a “Blaccout” then I question your fan hood. Anything Louisville Cardinal related that is black will do. I’d recommend a black Cardinal Connect t-shirt (see below). If you’re one of those guys who are too fashionable to wear a t-shirt to a sporting/social event, there are other options. Louisville Cardinal polo’s, button-downs and pullovers are selling all over this city. A neutral color isn’t acceptable.

Card Connect Tailgate

First and foremost, when it comes to tailgating, this is an absolute DO.

Don’ts

DON’T take your shirt off. Ever. There is no excuse for it. The beginning of football season can be hot. Trust me, we all know that. But there is never and I repeat never a reason to take your shirt off. I understand wanting to show off your cool tattoos or maybe work on your tan, but please lets save it for a different event. Louisville football is better than that.

DON’T be the guy that curses obnoxiously in front of children. We get it. You’re intoxicated and you want everyone to know just how drunk you are. It’s embarrassing, and frankly there isn’t room at any tailgate for this kind of behavior.

DON’T wear sandals. We’ve all learned this the hard way, yet time and time again I see novice tailgaters make this mistake. I know they’re comfortable, I know they look great with your stylish cargo shorts, but exposing your feet to this day-long grind just isn’t the way to go.

DON’T make this the day you break out your favorite “Hipster Beer.” It’s a tailgate and flavor needs to take a backseat when it comes to brew. Anything that goes down easy and comes in mass quantity is all you need.

DON’T go too hard too early. It’s a long day, folks, and chugging Whiskey out of the bottle may impress your initial crew, but you’ve set yourself up for failure if you plan on making it to halftime. College football tailgating is a marathon, not a race.

 

Petrino Says Michael Dyer Looks More Doubtful Each Day

Photo:  The Cardinal Connect

Photo: The Cardinal Connect

We likely won’t know for sure until Monday evening, but Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino doesn’t seem very confident that senior running back Michael Dyer will play in the season opener.

Five days ago at his week one press conference, Petrino said that Dyer was questionable and hadn’t practiced since suffering a knee contusion two weeks ago in an open scrimmage.

Petrino stated that they wouldn’t rule Dyer out yet, but the staff wanted to see how he did throughout the week.

On Friday evening Petrino spoke to the media for the final time before the season opener and let’s just say he didn’t seem very optimistic about Dyer’s availability for Monday night.

“Hasn’t changed at all,” Petrino said when asked about the status of Dyer. “He actually gets more and more doubtful each day. He was better yesterday (Thursday), he worked harder yesterday and then came back today (Friday) and had a little more soreness. We’ll see, but right now I’d say he’s really questionable.”

With DeVante Parker sidelined, you need as many play-makers as possible and Dyer is definitively one of the top offensive weapons for Petrino. Fortunately, Louisville has some proven depth at the running back position if Dyer is out, but they’re certainly a more dangerous team with the former BCS national title game MVP in the lineup.

Four Star Dual Threat Quarterback Lamar Jackson Has Committed To Louisville

Photo: Nike Football

Photo: Nike Football

Just two days before the 2014 season opener, Bobby Petrino and the Louisville football program picked up a commitment from one of the top dual threat quarterbacks in the class of 2015.

On Saturday morning, Boynton Beach, FL., native Lamar Jackson made his verbal commitment public via his Twitter account.

The 6-foot-3, 185-pound, dual threat QB is rated as a four star prospect by Rivals.com.

Jackson is Louisville’s 15th commitment from the 2015 class and the second from the state of Florida.

He’s not the highest ranked prospect to commit to Louisville, but Jackson’s scholarship offer list is impressive to say the least.

Jackson has offers from Auburn, Nebraska, Cincinnati, Ohio State, Mississippi State, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia, South Carolina and West Virgnia.

As a junior, Jackson ran for over 1,400 yards and threw for over 1,700 yards.

The 2014-15 Louisville Basketball Roster Has Been Released

Photo: Pete Cautilli

Photo: Pete Cautilli

With incoming freshman Jaylen Johnson now officially with the program, Rick Pitino’s roster for the 2014-15 season is complete. The program released their updated roster on Monday evening with all of the of the incoming freshman listed.

All returning players will keep their number from last season, other than Wayne Blackshear. He’ll now wear No. 25, which he wore in high school.

2014-15 Louisville Basketball Roster

2014-15 roster

Bobby Petrino Officially Names Will Gardner The Starting Quarterback

Photo: The Cardinal Connect

Photo: The Cardinal Connect

On Sunday evening Bobby Petrino officially named redshirt sophomore Will Gardner the starting quarterback for the Cardinals season opener against Miami.

“I thought Will had an outstanding fall camp,” Petrino said in an official statement.

“He demonstrated good decision making and executed our offense.”

After an strong spring camp, Gardner looked to be a lock for the starting gig in the fall. Petrino spoke very highly of his 6-foot-5, 225-pound, quarterback every chance he had throughout the summer.

The Georgia native has been taking first string reps throughout the entire fall camp, but was being pushed by true freshman Reggie Bonnafon.

Next Monday’s season opener against Miami will be Gardner’s first career start. He redshirted during his true freshman season and was Teddy Bridgewater’s back-up in 2013.

He appeared six games last season. Gardner completed 5-of-5 passes for 42 yards and a score in fourth quarter appearance against Florida International. He threw for 61 yards and one touchdown in the Cards season opener against Ohio.

Both Louisville and Miami will have quarterbacks making their debut starts in the season opener. Miami named true freshman Brad Kaaya the starter on Sunday evening.

Miami Names True Freshman Brad Kaaya Their Starting Quarterback For Week One

Photo: Nike

Photo: Nike

Since spring ball ended a little over four months ago, the Louisville football program had a pretty good idea who their starting quarterback would be.Unfortunately, Al Golden and the Miami Hurricanes can’t exactly say the same thing.

Senior Ryan Williams and redshirt freshman Kevin Olsen were competing for the first string spot, but neither will play in the season opener against Louisville next week.

Williams is coming off a torn ACL and isn’t slated to be back until towards the end of September. He suffered the injury during a scrimmage in the spring and was likely the best option for the Hurricanes.

With Williams injured, it was assumed that Olsen would start in his place, however in early August, the redshirt freshman failed a drug test, which resulted in a one game suspension.

On Sunday afternoon, Al Golden announced that true freshman Brad Kaaya would be the starting quarterback for his team in week one. Kansas transfer Jake Heapps was in the running for the gig, but was beaten out by the freshman.

“As I told him, he’s our quarterback,” Miami coach Al Golden said Sunday afternoon after practice. “He’s not a freshman quarterback. He’s the University of Miami quarterback.”

The true freshman must have been pretty impressive throughout fall camp in order to land the gig. Heapps isn’t a Heisman type QB, but he’s a very safe option for a season opening conference game on the road.

He was one of the more highly regarded quarterbacks in the country coming out of high school in 2009. Heaps began his career at BYU and had a very solid freshman season. He was the first freshman quarterback to ever lead the BYU program to a bowl game. However, he was benched early on in his sophomore season and hasn’t really done much since.

Kaaya was a four star prospect coming out of high school. The 6-foot-4, 215-pound, West  Hills, CA., native chose Miami over USC, UCLA, Boise State,  Maryland and San Diego State.