HOW THE OTHER HALF LIVES: A glimpse at the Louisville Cardinals

We got the chance to catch up with Louisville Cardinal beat writer Noah Allison this week and he gave us some insight into the upcoming matchup between FIU and No. 18 Louisville in Miami.
How much has Lousiville had last season’s game on their minds heading into this rematch?
NA: Without a doubt they have given last year’s game some thought in order to understand what they can’t do going into this year’s match, the team’s has spent more time thinking about the upcoming game though. U of L is a considerably different team this year than the one FIU faced last year, with Teddy Bridgewater at QB now, an experienced and matured offensive line that should do better at keeping their QB upright, and a defense that is looking to take away the big play.
How do you think your team is going to fair in hostile stadium?
NA: It will be interesting to see Louisville go on the road as they have opened up the season with three straight home games. The biggest disadvantage for the away team is they are more prone to mental mistakes, letting the crowd or the atmosphere possibly getting to them. U of L’s head coach Charlie Strong requires discipline and maturity from his team, which they have shown in the three home games thus far. I would expect them to carry that on the road, but you can never be sure.
What difference do you see between this year’s game and last year?
NA: A better U of L offensive line and an ability by QB Teddy Bridgewater to control the pace of the game with his arm or with handing it off to our RB’s. A defense that will look to take away the big play and force a lot of third down situations. For FIU, the loss of key big play receiver T.Y. Hilton, the now Indianapolis Colt, also has to fair well for U of L, as he had two TD’s and over 200 yards receiving in last year’s match.
What differences will we see in the offense this year with Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback instead of Will Stein? 
NA: Teddy Bridgewater brings a true control of the game when he is behind center. He has a steady and mature style of play for it being early in his sophomore season. Accurate and concise completions, a steadiness in the pocket, an ability to roll out of the pocket and be accurate on the move, and most importantly an ability to read the defense. Teddy Bridgewater is a true quarterback and will not be rattled easily.
Which match up do they believe will be the one to watch for Saturday’s game?
NA: The match up early on will definitely be FIU’s defense’s ability to stop U of L from establishing the run. If there is one thing U of L wants to do and wants to do early it is being able to control the trenches and grind out yards on the ground to set up short third downs and tire out the defense for big plays. If FIU can force long third downs and contend along the line of scrimmage it should pose for an interesting game.
How do you think the Miami Northwestern connection will factor into this game?
NA: The only thing Miami Northwestern alum Teddy Bridgewater has had his mind on is this weekends game, and what he and the Cardinals need to do to win it. A return to his hometown is definitely special for Bridewater, and he would like no better showing in front of his friends, family and the greater Northwestern family than to walk away with a victory.
How has Charlie Strong’s presence as Head Coach affected their defense? Has it made the unit more or less physical?
NA: The U of L defensive unit is a physical, swarm to the ball style of defense. The front seven is deep with talent that is constantly being rotated in to keep them fresh and a defensive backfield consisting of two sure tackling safeties will keep the FIU offense on their toes.
FIU is known for its spread option attack, but they were only able to manage 45 yards on 26 carries last year. How will Louisville’s defense approach this match up?
NA: The up tempo spread option attack will face an up tempo defense that rotates in able bodied and fresh players to keep up with the pace. Mature defensive play and keeping their gap responsibilities will be the key to not letting FIU establish a run game.
What’s your prediction for the game (score and why)?
NA: As a much as am a Louisville Journalist I am even more of a fan and would not feel comfortable giving a concrete prediction to the game for fear of jinxing my team. What I can tell you is U of L understands the importance of this season, it is definitely special for the program and the team understands the importance of each game, week in and week out. They will come ready to play, football being an imperfect game they will give up plays and most likely give up points. But it is there maturity and ability to respond and make plays under pressure that has launched them into being a winning team. It will be a competitive match and FIU will have to bring their “A” game if they wish to defeat the Louisville Cardinals.

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