--By Mike Gilpatrick
--Photo by Jared Anderson
It’s game week, Louisville Cardinals fans. The Louisville football team breaks from Summer and will face off against Notre Dame on Monday, September 2nd. When they face off against the Irish, there will be a new-look team, and coaching staff led by Scott Satterfield.
Louisville released its depth chart for the first game earlier this week. It gives fans a closer look at who will take the field during the first series, and what we may see. Here are a couple takeaways from the chart:
QB 1 has been named
Jawon Pass has been named the starter for Monday’s game, beating out Malik Cunningham. After completing 23 of 33 as Lamar Jackson’s backup in 2017, Pass had a mediocre season in 2018: completing just 54 percent of passes, with eight touchdowns and 12 interceptions.
Pass’s first season could have been worse. Nothing went right in 2018, and it became apparent that Jackson masked all of Bobby Petrino’s shortcomings as a head coach. With Satterfield at the helm, things may change. Frank Ponce, the quarterbacks coach, tutored many young quarterbacks at Appalachian State, including Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Year Zac Thomas. Ponce also tutored Taylor Lamb, the Sun Belt touchdowns leader when his career ended.
Ponce may be able to tutor Pass better than Nick Petrino was able to last year. Pass was a four-star when recruited, and showed some ability his freshman year.
Javian Hawkins beat out Hassan Hall?
One bright spot last season was running back Hassan Hall. He ran 303 yards in 70 attempts, and scored three touchdowns. He also made 12 receptions for 99 yards. Hall also did not fumble the ball in his freshman year.
Hall was beat out by Titusville, FL native Javian Hawkins, a freshman from Cocoa High School. Hawkins is a three-star recruit, and was the 26th-ranked all-purpose back in the 2019 class.
Both players will likely see ample playing time Monday. One back that will not is Dae Williams, who has not been listed on the depth chart. Williams is the most experienced running back on the team.
Pass’s Passing Targets are not bad at all
One thing that may help pass is a good wide receiver corps. Starters include Senior Seth Dawkins, Redshirt Junior Dez Fitzpatrick, and Sophomore Tutu Atwell. Fitzpatrick gained the second-most yardage on the team in 2018, and was the receiving touchdown leader. Atwell gained 16.92 yards per carry, the most of any receiver with more than 3 catches.
In 2017, Dawkins and Fitzpatrick both had more than 600 yards. With a more experienced Pass under center, hopefully their stats would creep up close to that mark again.
What happened to Bentley?
Cole Bentley was the starting center for Louisville for much of last season. The Junior was replaced for grad-transfer TJ McCoy. McCoy was a reserve lineman for the Florida Gators last year, and played in four games, including against Florida State and Michigan. Rated as a three-star transfer, McCoy was rated the 21st top-center by 247sports.
Rounding out the line is Junior Mekhi Becton, Redshirt Sophomore Caleb Chandler, Redshirt Junior Robbie Bell, and Redshirt Senior Tyler Haycraft.
Monday should be interesting. The Cardinals play the Irish at 8:00 pm.
--By Mike Gilpatrick
--Photo by Jared Anderson
Next Monday, the Louisville Cardinals will kick off their 2019 college football campaign; and will hope to wipe away the terrible 2018 campaign that saw a coaching change and lackluster performance.
With Scott Satterfield at the helm, 2019 already has a different field than last year. Louisville will *probably* win more than two games this season, but how many will they win?
Here’s a game by game breakdown of the season:
Week One: Louisville vs. Notre Dame, September 2nd, 8:00 pm.
Notre Dame lost two of their top four receivers, multiple defensive starters, and it took a while for their offense to get going last year. This game will still be very tough for Louisville to win.
The Irish were in the College Football Playoff last year, losing to Clemson 30-3 in the Cotton Bowl. QB Ian Book stepped in for Brandon Wimbush last year, and the season took off. Book is very accurate, and completed 68% of passes.
Louisville will need to hold Notre Dame on third down, and many times to have a chance at winning. The Cardinals will also need to take advantage of the fresh interior defense for Notre Dame, after Jerry Tillery and Jonathan Bonner both departed.
Prediction: Notre Dame 45, Louisville 14
Week Two: Louisville vs. Eastern Kentucky, September 7th, 7:00 pm.
Eastern Kentucky finished 7-4 last year, but their defense was not good against Marshall and Bowling Green. EKU is an FCS school, which are typically shoe-in victories. It should help Louisville get one win under their belt entering week three.
Prediction: Louisville 38, EKU 10
Week Three: Louisville vs. Western Kentucky, September 14th, 4:00 pm *NASHVILLE*
WKU’s offense disappointed last year, but they have 10 starters returning. Their line did well with pass protection, but not rushing. Their defense returns six starters, but the Hilltoppers allowed 422 yards and 28 points per game.
Louisville will need to prepare for a strong passing game, and keep pressure on their offense. The Cardinals are about to go 2-1 to start 2019.
Prediction: Louisville 35, WKU 17
Week Four: Louisville at Florida State, September 21st, TBA, Tallahassee
Last year was a late-game disappointment against the Seminoles. Louisville had the lead late in the fourth, but surrendered a score in the final minutes of the game.
The Seminoles are coming off an equally disappointing 5-7 campaign, which ended the ‘Noles 36-year bowl streak. Wille Taggart has a new-look offense, and returns multiple defensive stars. James Blackman will most likely take over at quarterback, after only appearing in four games last year. They also bring in former Baylor head coach Art Briles’ son, Kendal; as offensive coordinator. Briles spent stints at Baylor, FAU, and Houston.
It will be tough for Louisville to win this game, especially on the road.
Prediction: Florida State 38, Louisville 21
Week Six: Louisville vs. Boston College, October 5th, TBA
The Eagles had a lacking offense last year, that sputtered down the stretch. QB Anthony Brown only completed 55% of passes, the offensive line lost three key players, and AJ Dillon is most of BC’s rushing game. They also lost a lot on defense.
Boston College is expected to have won their previous four games before this matchup. With the game at Louisville, the Cardinals could take advantage of all the losses to BC’s defense, hope the offensive inefficiencies continue, and that Jawon Pass can hit Dez Fitzpatrick and Seth Dawkins for decent yardage and score.
Prediction: Louisville 27, Boston College 24
Week Seven: Louisvills at Wake Forest, October 12th, TBA
Wake Forest started a freshman at quarterback, and a sophomore after Sam Hartman broke his leg. The Demon Deacons won two of their last three games, became bowl eligible, and won the Birmingham Bowl.
They lost wide receiver Greg Dortch to the NFL, and the core of their offensive line. Wake also picked up three of their top five highest-rated prospects in school history. Because of injuries on the defense, they will not be the deepest team.
If the game was in Louisville, the Cardinals may have an easier time of winning. Since it’s in Winston-Salem, the game may be complicated a little. The big key to this game is going to be the injury report, and how each team adapts.
Prediction: Wake Forest 33, Louisville 27
Week Eight: Louisville vs. Clemson, October 19th, TBA
Clemson is No. 1 in the preseason rankings, and is coming off a national championship where they destroyed Alabama. They obliterated Louisville 77-16 in 2018, and finished the season undefeated.
Not much is expected to change this year. Louisville is just going to fight to not make it a total blowout.
Prediction: Clemson 60, Louisville 21
Week Nine: Louisville vs. Virginia, October 26th, TBA
Virginia scored the most points since 2002, played a similar speed to their basketball team, and featured a spectacular QB in Bryce Perkins. They also have a ton of talent coming back on defense.
The key to the game will be to shell the defense, if possible, and keep Virginia from scoring in the red zone. Before losing 27-3 against the Cavaliers last year, the Cardinals defeated Virginia three years in a row. It will be tough, but Louisville could take advantage of the slow offensive play.
Prediction: Louisville 31, Virginia 27
Week Eleven: Louisville at Miami, November 9th, TBA, Miami Gardens
Miami brings a new offensive coordinator, Dan Enos, from Alabama; into Miami. Enos was the quarterbacks coach for the Tide, and he can help teach Mark Richt’s young QB corps, including Tate Martell, N’Kosi Perry, and Jarren Williams. They’ll be forced to deal with a newer offensive line, as five linemen left last year.
Miami ranked first in havoc rate last year, and kept offenses honest on run and pass plays. They also had a few transfers in on the defensive side of the ball.
This may be a defensive game. The key will be to keep the ball moving, and to not turn the ball over. Louisville may struggle more, since this is a road game.
Prediction: Miami 24, Louisville 13
Week Twelve: Louisville at NC State, November 16th, TBA, Raleigh
NC State will look like a brand new team. They have changes at quarterback, running back, receivers, and three new starting offensive linemen. All of this will lead to a rebuild year, albeit a different type than Louisville’s.
Ryan Finley is gone. So is Kelvin Harmon and Jakobi Meyers. For a team that relied on their offense last year, these are huge blows.
There are a few defensive prospects coming up, and the defense may be decent.
Prediction: NC State 28, Louisville 24
Week Thirteen: Louisville vs. Syracuse, November 23rd, TBA
Dino Babers runs a quick offense, and they have a manageable schedule. They switch from Eric Dungey to a pocket-passing quarterback. It will lead to a few questions on offense. They’re loaded on the defensive line, experienced in the secondary, but aren’t as concrete from linebacker.
After a 10-win season, the Orange are definitely expected to do more than years ago. It finished 2018 with its highest AP ranking since 1998.
Their high-tempo offense will test Louisville’s defense, who are missing more than a few pieces. Some of the long-term players are also going through with their fourth coordinator in as many years.
Prediction: Syracuse 35, Louisville 21
Week Fourteen: Louisville vs. Kenutcky, November 30th, TBA
Kentucky is coming off one of their best campaigns in football history-especially recently. Benny Snell and Josh Allen are both gone, which will make an impact on both sides of the ball.
The Wildcats are projected to have five wins at this point in the season, according to ESPN’s FPI. Louisville fans (myself included) would love nothing more than to win the Governor’s Cup in Lexington, and keep the rival school from going to a bowl game.
Unfortunately, Kentucky has a decent amount of talent, and may make a bowl game this year. Louisville may lose this game, but we will get them next year, and in both basketball seasons.
Prediction: Kentucky 24, Louisville 21
Final Record: 4-8
--By Mike Gilpatrick
--Photo by Jared Anderson
Louisville football: Three questions for the new year
Happy New Year, Louisville Cardinals fans. Today was Louisville football’s media day; giving the media opportunities to get to know the new team. This year, there is a new coach at the helm, an all-new staff, and different feel to the program.
Scott Satterfield took the reins in December, and has began the process of rebuilding the team after last year’s abysmal season.
How much damage did Bobby Petrino do?
Nothing went right last year. The year after Lamar Jackson’s departure led to Louisville’s worst season since 1997. Much blame could be placed on former coach Bobby Petrino, who couldn’t seem to keep a decent defensive coordinator, and whose offensive mindset apparently ran out.
16 players entered the transfer portal and left the program, or intend to leave, after last year. Notable players include running backs Trey Smith and Malik Staples, Defensive end Michael Boykin, Linebacker Jonathan Greenard, and defensive back Jairus Brents.
Those players will leave a hole in the team. Combined with the last recruiting class in the Atlantic Coast Conference, a significant amount of damage happened. Time will tell how quickly the team can recover.
How long will it take Satterfield to rebuild?
Scott Satterfield is a winner. At Appalachian State, Satterfield led the Mountaineers to three consecutive Sun Belt championships, and did not finish worse than third in the conference in his five years there. He also oversaw Appalachian State’s move to the Sun Belt from the FCS.
It may take time for him to build the team. Satterfield’s second season was his first with a winning record. Then, he led the Mountaineers to 10 or more wins three of four seasons.
Satterfield already has made some good coaching hires. Offensive Coordinator/Offensive line coach Dwayne Ledford spent three seasons with NC State, and helped construct one of the best offensive lines in the ACC.
Defensive Coordinator Bryan Brown followed Satterfield, and led the Mountaineers to the sixth total defense in the nation last year. Frank Ponce is one of the top Florida recruiters, and tutored some of the best Sun Belt offensive quarterbacks.
One of the best moves was the return of Cort Dennison, who was one of Louisville’s top recruiters before he left for Oregon in 2018.
Currently, Louisville has the 30th overall recruiting class in 2020. Dual-threat four-star QB Chubba Purdy leads the class. In the meantime, however, Louisville is ranked 69th for the 2019 class. It is the worst in the ACC.
If the stars align, it may not take too many years for the team to recover.
What should we expect from the 2019 Cardinals?
2019 is a rebuild year. The ceiling is low, but is above two wins. According to ESPN’s Football Power Index, the Cardinals are projected to go 4-8. Louisville has a 97.6% chance of beating Eastern Kentucky, 66.8% against Western Kentucky, and 61.6% against Boston College. They have a more than 35% change against Virginia, and Syracuse.
Five wins may be a stretch. Four wins are more realistic.
One major determinant is how the existing players adapt to the new coaching staff. Jawon Pass was a four-star when recruited, and is listed as co-starting QB alongside Malik Cunningham. Hassan Hall, who was a bright spot last year, returns for his second season. Seth Dawkins and Dez Fitzpatrick both return to the wide-receiver slots.
There will be growing pains for the Cardinals, but fans should trust the process, and know that Louisville will not be down forever.
But soon, there will be football at Cardinal Stadium. Which is almost always an exciting time. The first game is Monday, September 2nd, at 8:00 pm against Notre Dame.