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Junior College Running Back Jeremy Smith Chooses Louisville Over Alabama & Notre Dame

Photo: LA Football

Photo: LA Football

The Louisville football program’s hot streak on the recruiting trail continued on Monday evening as they picked up their seventh commitment in the month of December.

Shortly before midnight on Monday, junior college running back Jeremy Smith informed the Louisville staff of his verbal commitment.

Smith attended Fresno City College during the 2014 season and he’ll have four years to play three collegiate seasons.

Most JUCO signees only have two years of eligibility left, but Smith has only been out of high school for one season.

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Weekend That Was: Back to Belk Edition

Its Monday morning, and you don’t want to be at work. Good news is that its time for another edition of Weekend That Was. Its your weekly recap on everything cool and important that happened over the weekend.

But before we get started, let’s remind everyone at home what Belk is:

belk1

That’s right, Belk is Carolinas’ version of Dillards. According to Urban Dictionary it smells like grandmas and enjoys taking all of your money. So there’s that.

  • The biggest news from the weekend was Louisville’s placement in the 2014 Belk Bowl against #15 Georgia. The selection was bittersweet with several fans hoping for a birth in either the Russell Athletic Bowl or the Music City Bowl. However, getting a shot an SEC team is really cool.
  • There was a lot of buzz after the College Football Playoff rankings were released that Louisville was headed to Nashville to play either Tennessee or Louisiana State. Then word emerged that LSU did not want to play the Cardinals and ended up with Notre Dame. This made a lot of people unhappy, considering that all of the ACC procedure reported that the Irish could not be selected over Louisville, Duke, or Clemson. Stay tuned to the Cardinal Connect for more on this.
  • In the end, Louisville got a great match-up. Facing Georgia means that Louisville Defensive Coordinator Todd Grantham will face off against his former boss Mark Richt. Several players recently dismissed by Georgia fled to the Cardinals. And let’s not forget that Georgia cancelled a series against Louisville in 2010. Now UofL is finally getting its chance against the Bulldogs.
  • Unfortunately for Louisville’s players, SB Nation ranked the Belk Bowl as the worst bowl game gift basket. Johnny tell them what they’ll get! Each Cardinal will receive a brand new Fossil watch, and a shopping trip to a Belk department store. Keith Kelsey what are your thoughts?


*Kelsey intelligently deleted his original tweet.

  • Congratulations to Kentucky who will play in the…(shuffles papers)…oh yeah.
  • In other football news, this was yet another big weekend for recruiting. Several recruits were on campus this weekend, including several already committed to larger programs. As of Sunday evening, only Jaire Alexander has been confirmed as a commitment, the three star athlete was previously committed to South Carolina. Recruiting has apparently been going really well, because the Cardinals have cut ties with offensive tackle Troy Thingstad who had been pretty firm with Louisville. Having to get rid of kids in order to “make room” is just an awful part of recruiting. Its not really anyone’s fault, but a fact of life. Best wishes to Thingstad and any other recruits Louisville parts ways with in the near future.
  • The Lady Cards had their big battle against Kentucky. The first half went extremely well with Louisville up 42-29 at the break. But the Cats stormed back and outscored Louisville 48-26 in the second half. They would win 77-68, in an extremely disappointing loss for Jeff Walz’s team.  The Louisville women have now lost four years in a row to Kentucky.
  • The Wildcats were deservedly excited so decided to leave a parting gift for the fans:

You guys are just the best. The coolest of cats.

  • Teddy Bridgewater had his best performance since his debut against Atlanta, with a 30-24 victory against the Jets. He threw for 309 yards and 2 touchdowns, including an 87 yard pass to Jarius Wright to clinch the victory in overtime. Teddy continues to impress, and has more wins than the other rookie quarterbacks combined. He will likely be considered a candidate for Offensive Rookie of the Year, but with all the amazing first year receivers I doubt he wins.
  •  Courtesy of Nick Burch here’s a cool image of Bridgewater, Calvin Pryor, and Breno Giacomini meeting after the whistle blew.

B4TGrpSCUAATlu3

  • A big congratulations to Louisville Swimming and Diving who had a big showing at USA Swimming’s Winter National Championships. Cardinals Grigory Tarasevich and Kelsi Worrell each became national champions, with Worrell winning two. This is shaping up to be a big year for Cardinal Swimming.
  • Finally, a job well done to former Louisville soccer player Andrew Farrell who started for the New England Revolution in Sunday’s MLS Cup Final. Unfortunately, the Revs were defeated 2-1, but there is zero doubt in my mind that this wasn’t Andrew’s last MLS Cup.

Its Jimmy V Classic week for the Cardinals, and we’ll be covering the game as well as all of the big Louisville events throughout the week. Keep it locked on The Cardinal Connect for everything you need.

Weekend that Was: Holliman for Heisman Edition

Its the first day of the week. So that means you’ll need a recap of whatever you missed over the past three days. That’s right, it is time for yet another Weekend that Was!

But before the shenanigans begin, let’s see how College Gameday went in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Courtesy of Twitter/@Murphy80Todd

Courtesy of Twitter/@Murphy80Todd

Cheers to you brave gentleman. Cheers to you.

  • The biggest news this weekend was Louisville’s triumph in its first meeting with Notre Dame in South Bend, 31-28. The Cardinals became only the 10th team to beat the Fighting Irish in their first game at Notre Dame Stadium. This victory is not only a fantastic signature on the season but also one of the biggest road wins in school history. Who would have guessed ten years ago that not only would Louisville play at Notre Dame, but they would win.
  • As for the actual game, it was an ugly win. But a win is still a win. Reggie Bonnafan was 8-21, 180 yards, 3 total TDs, and 1 interception that was a heave down field late in the second half. It was by no means a perfect performance, but Reggie made some very difficult throws look easy. Coming out of the half, it was clear he had somewhat psyched himself out. Thanks to the Louisville running game, the Cardinals managed to stay in the game.
  • Speaking of run game, Louisville really has something in Brandon Radcliff guys. Radcliff ran 136 yards on 17 carries, an average of 8 yards per carry. You just can’t teach how to find open space like he does. He’s shifty and hard to tackle, and he runs hard until he’s on the ground. He made several plays that were incredibly fun to watch.
  • As for the missed kick by Notre Dame to hand the game over, a lot of people wanted to blame the holder. But I really have to place blame on the kicker for these awful short pants.

Short Pants

  • The Louisville fans were incredible in South Bend, several reports saying that it was the best road crowd Notre Dame had seen in decades. Well done Card Nation.
  • Louisville basketball also played this weekend, with a 85-67 defeat of Marshall. It wasn’t exactly a dominating performance from Louisville who had foul trouble from Chinanu Onuaku and Montrezl Harrell. However, the great news is that New Wayne Blackshear is here and he’s awesome. Wayne had 16 points six rebounds and four steals. He just looks far more aggressive and its exciting to see.
  • Something I’ve noticed so far with Louisville basketball so far this season is a general inaccuracy from behind the arc. The team is shooting 21.9% from three so far this season. This is something that has to improve, as it will be a key to defeating the bigger and longer teams like Duke, UNC, and of course Kentucky.
  • Also…Free Throws…Let’s not make this an issue again.
  • Okay so before you ask: Yes there’s a decent chance that Louisville makes the Orange Bowl. Here’s how:

Louisville MUST beat Kentucky. That’s not too hard.

Florida State MUST make the College Football Playoff. This opens the Orange Bowl for an ACC team who isn’t the champion.

Georgia Tech MUST lose at Georgia next weekend AND lose to FSU at the ACC Championship. If Tech wins at Georgia its unlikely that they would fall below Louisville after losing to Florida State.

Clemson MUST lose at home to South Carolina. This is the toughest one, South Carolina has been pretty bad this season, hopefully the Ole Ball Coach can pull it off.

If all of this happens, I’ll see you in Miami for New Years Eve.

  • Seriously this is why Kentucky fans are the absolute worst. This woman drove hours and hours just to troll in South Bend:
Courtesy of Twitter/@jennyelizabethd

Courtesy of Twitter/@jennyelizabethd

#BeatKentucky always.

  • Its tourney time for Louisville men’s soccer who have moved on to the final 16 with a victory over St. Louis 2-1 on Sunday. Freshman Tim Kubel provided the late goal that moved the Cards on to the next round. They will host UMBC next Sunday at 6PM at Lynn Stadium. I highly encourage everyone to head out there and support the Cards on what is likely the final home game of the year.
  • I would love to take a second to thank the football gods for teasing us all season with non-noon kickoffs but hitting us where it hurts with the final game being a noon kickoff. Seriously that is the worst, I’ll see you at 8 AM for tailgate ladies and gentleman.
  • In your non Louisville related thing of the week. Odell Beckham Jr made the greatest catch I’ve ever seen last night, and if you haven’t seen it you absolutely must.
Courtesy of Deadspin

Courtesy of Deadspin

My New York Giants may not make the playoffs but we’ve guaranteed ourselves an ESPY for Best Play.

Finally, its #BeatKentucky week. So I’m sure we’ll be talking about everything this week. You should stick around the Cardinal Connect for all of the fun.

Clemson 23 – Louisville 17: Post Game Show

Clemson Webcast No Teeth

Losing to Clemson on the road usually isn’t anything to sneeze at, but the way it all unfolded on Saturday afternoon leaves Louisville fans frustrated. Myself and Shane Burris broke down the tough loss and the key areas that continue to haunt this team. However, we also noted the positives to take from the game.

Clemson 23 – Louisville 17: Post Game Show from The Cardinal Connect on Vimeo.

Louisville Defensive Coordinator Todd Grantham Surpassing Expectations

Pete Cautilli - The Cardinal Connect

Pete Cautilli – The Cardinal Connect

When the news broke that Todd Grantham would be joining Louisville’s coaching staff and Georgia fans did everything short of helping coach Grantham pack his belongings into trucks.

Georgia was finished with Todd Grantham’s act merely two years after four of his defensive starters were taken in the first three rounds of the NFL draft.   Bobby Petrino needed a defensive mastermind to keep Charlie Strong and Vance Bedford’s painstaking labor from going to waste.

Todd Grantham was the most qualified man for the job, and he immediately brought the racks out to play once he landed in Louisville.  Grantham is one of the highest paid coordinators in college football today, and he has earned every penny of his contract so far.

A quarter of the season has passed us by and the Louisville Cardinals rank 12th in the nation in total defense.  Opponents average 273.7 yards against the Cardinals and Todd Grantham’s defense has not allowed 300 yards in a single game at Louisville.  The Cards have seven takeaways thus far in the season, with five of those being interceptions.

Gerrod Holliman has certainly played up to the level that was promised by Charlie Strong.  Holliman forced a fumble and has intercepted the ball three times in three games.

Louisville defense has not forgotten how to get to the passer.  Six different Cardinals have tallied six total sacks thus far this season.  Lorenzo Mauldin has fit in nicely to his new role of stand up outside linebacker in Grantham’s 3-4 defense.

Mauldin is fourth on the team in total tackles and has made three tackles for a loss to go along with his sack.  Louisville’s front seven has not allowed opponents more than three yards a carry this season.

There were many question marks about Todd Grantham and his system after his departure sparked a dixie stampede in Athens.  Louisville fans have nothing to complain about in terms of a Strong to Grantham drop off.  Grantham is working wonders with Charlie Strong’s defensive players as well as recruiting some stallworth’s of his own.

The thought of a Todd Grantham coached defense holding the opponent down for a Bobby Petrino offense is a scary one for ACC teams moving forward.

Louisville vs. Miami: Predicted MVP’s

Photo: David Manning - USA Today

Photo: David Manning – USA Today

New Coaching Staff, new Quarterback, new playbook, new defensive philosophy and a new conference. With all of the “new” around the University of Louisville Football Program, we’re still going to take a stab at the Offensive and Defensive MVP’s. Here are the predictions for the Cardinals vs the Hurricanes.

Defense

This time last year I took a gamble by going with a guy who some may have overlooked. Clearly the Ohio Bobcats did as James Burgess finished with a team high five tackles, two tackles for loss and a forced fumble to open the season.

I actually believe Burgess has the ability to lead this team in tackles this year, and the Canes could be his first victim. No chance I’m leaving him off the list to kick off this season.

Offense

Some may think this is a “no brainer” or a “gimmie”, but I look at more than just the guy lining up in the backfield for Head Coach Bobby Petrino who clearly loves to pound the rock. Dominique Brown is certainly capable, but doesn’t have a big history of catching the ball out of the backfield and turning it into big gains (averaged under two catches and 18 receiving yards per game last season).

Petrino’s offense however, may change that. During his lone season at WKU, Bobby Petrino’s lead running back Antonio Andrews finished second on the team in both receptions (41) and receiving yards (478). Look for Brown to develop another weapon to his arsenal and become a threat in the air to go along with his demonstrative ground game.