For those searching for a silver lining following Saturday’s loss to Houston, I’d say the play of quarterback Kyle Bolin and the punting performance from Josh Appleby are the only two options.
Outside of that, everything pretty much went wrong on Saturday afternoon. The Cardinals were outplayed on offense, defense and even special teams. As painful as it may be, it is time break down what all went wrong.
Lamar Jackson: There’s no way around it. Lamar Jackson was bad on Saturday. Outside of Louisville’s first scoring drive, Jackson really struggled. He tried to do too much and had three turnovers before being pulled in the second half. No one should be giving up on Jackson. We all know how talented he is, but this is what happens when you have a true freshman under center. I’m all for going with Jackson as the starter if he’s the guy who gives Louisville the best chance to win, but that’s debatable after what we saw on Saturday.
Offensive Line: Unfortunately we didn’t see much improvement from the offensive line in week two. They had their moments, but for the most part the O-Line really struggled. We knew this unit had a long way to go. Not only are they going to be over-matched in most games, but the false starts and holding penalties are putting the offense in an even bigger hole than we expected. The offense has a lot of problems, but the offensive line is the biggest at this point.
Tackling: Maybe it’s just me, but the tackling on Saturday was as bad as I’ve seen it since Todd Grantham took over the defense. There were countless opportunities to take down Houston players behind the line of scrimmage, but a lot of those plays turned into big gains for the Cougars. Keith Kelsey, Josh Harvey-Clemons and Sheldon Rankins both stood out on defense, but the majority of the others had a really tough time tackling.
Rush Defense: Two games into the season I didn’t expect Louisville to be ranked 106th in the country in rushing defense. The Cards are giving up an average of 202 rushing yards per game so far in 2015. Houston’s running back and quarterback combined for a total of 207 rushing yards. That can’t happen if you expect to beat good teams.
Penalties: The Cards were flagged for nine penalties for 80-yards on Saturday. Not only is that a lot of penalties, most of them occurred a crucial times in the game. The Cards are dealing with a lot of issues on both sides of the ball and hurting themselves with penalties certainly isn’t helping things.<