College Football Preview: The 2014 Louisville Cardinals
2014 College Football Preview
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2013 Review: The Louisville Cardinals had arguably their best season in program history which included 12 wins and a second straight bowl victory. The Cardinals didn’t win the AAC due to a loss to the UFC Knights, but three bowl wins in the last four years proved that Louisville is a lot more than just a basketball school. However, Louisville now enters the ACC and has experienced many changes during the offseason. Let’s take a look at how things stack up for this program heading into the new season.
Offense: The biggest change for the Cardinals comes with the loss of quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. He was easily one of the best quarterbacks in the country and often bailed the Cards out in hairy situations. The good news is that all isn’t lost with Louisville, as running back Dominque Brown and wide receiver DeVante Parker return for another year. Brown led the Cards in rushing yards and Parker is an elite receiver who is going to be one of the best at his position in the ACC. There are pieces in place on this side of the ball, but it all comes down to if Louisville can help mask the loss of Bridgewater.
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Defense: The concerning losses mainly come on the defensive side of the ball, as Louisville returns only five defensive starters. There’s only one starter returning on a defensive line that racked up 43 sacks last season. Lorenzo Mauldin is the only recognizable face along the defensive line, as he had 9.5 sacks last season. The secondary should remain solid for the Cardinals, as Charles Gaines and Terell Floyd are back, a duo that combined for nine interceptions a year ago. Louisville’s young defense is going to experience growing pains with a boost in competition.
Special Teams: John Wallace made 83.3 percent of his field goals last season and Ryan Johnson averaged more than 41 yards per punt attempt. Both will hold down their starting positions again this season.
Outlook: No Bridgewater and no head coach Charlie Strong. When you add that to the fact the Cards move to the ACC, this has the makings of a subpar season written all over it. Louisville isn’t built to compete with Clemson and Florida State just yet, and they’ll also have to play Notre Dame and Miami. Bobby Petrino has shown us before what he can do with this program, but that was also playing against poor competition. Louisville is now participating at the big boy table and it’s likely going to take some time before it can compete. Don’t expect much this season.