#30 Louisville Football 2012 Preview

Louisville Cardinals

Overall Rank #30
#1 Big East Conference
Louisville College Football 2012 Team Preview
Louisville Team Page


The Cardinals are coming off a pair of 7-6 records under the direction of Head Coach Charlie Strong. Now entering his third season at the helm, the Cardinals are looking to explode. They are primed for a breakout season, so we will find out how they deal with the pressure this season and if they can seize the opportunity that is in front of them.

2011 Record: (7-6, 5-2)  
2011 Bowl: Belk Bowl vs North Carolina State (L 24-31)   
Coach: Charlie Strong (14-12 at Louisville, 14-13 overall)    
Offensive Coordinator: Shawn Watson
Defensive Coordinator: Vance Bedford    

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Dominique Brown, QB, 588 yards
Passing:  Teddy Bridgewater, QB, 2,129 yards
Receiving: Michaelee Harris, WR, 455 yards
Tackles:  Preston Brown, LB, 52
Sacks: Marcus Smith, DL, 5.5
Interceptions: Calvin Pryor, DB, 2

Other Key Returnees:  WR Eli Rogers, RB Jeremy Wright, WR DeVante Parker, WR Damian Copeland, DB Hakeem Smith, DL Brandon Dunn

Key Losses: LB Dexter Heyman, DB Mike Evans, DL William Savoy

The Cardinals stingy defense was the reason for their success last year and if they plan on winning the Big East this year it will be the main contributor as well. They dominated all aspects on the defensive side of the football. Opponents were only able to scratch together 20 points per game, while the defense also compiled impressive stats in sacks and tackles for loss, ranking 21st and 22nd in the nation in those categories. Their run defense was like a brick wall, halting opponents to just over 100 yards per game, good for 10th in the nation. This defense will be the driving force behind this Cardinals team that is looking to win the Big East.

Louisville struggled mightily last season on the offensive side of the ball. They had many young players playing major roles, which was probably a major contributor to the poor play. This year they should be improved, but still expect struggles, especially compared to their stellar defense. Their rushing attack absolutely needs to improve in order for them to compete for a Big East Championship. They only rushed for 121 yards per game, 93rd in the nation. The outlook for 2012 does not look much better. In the passing department they faired a little better, averaging 211 yards per game, 74th in the nation. The 2012 season should see a major improvement as last year’s freshman quarterback, Teddy Bridgewater, should be much improved and his two favorite targets return. Overall this offense will still be the weak link of this Cardinals team.

The Bottom Line:
The Cardinals have a chance to be great this season and make a BCS Bowl game. For that to happen their defense needs to continue the dominance that it played with a season ago and their offense needs to be improved. They have many young weapons that have had a year to mature and grow as football players so it should be improved. Most importantly, this team needs to limit mistakes and keep their quarterback upright, as they allowed over three sacks per game last year. If they can do that, this team should wind up representing the Big East in the Orange Bowl come January.  

Projected Bowl: Orange Bowl

2011 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 121.54 (93rd in the nation, 5th in conference)
Passing Offense: 211.46 (74, 5)
Total Offense: 333.00 (103, 7)   
Scoring Offense: 21.92 (98, 8)
Rushing Defense: 100.54 (10, 3)   
Pass Defense: 227.38 (68, 3)   
Total Defense: 327.92 (23, 2)
Scoring Defense: 20.08 (17, 2)   
Turnover Margin: -.08 (T-67, 7)  
Sacks: 2.54 (21, 6)  
Sacks Allowed: 3.15 (110, 6)

Madness 2012 Football Recruit Rankings:
#175 Nick Dawson
#192 Keith Brown