– Tyler has kept you well-informed of the injury situation, but it should be said again: this team REALLY needed a break. “You can’t help but feel better,” Stoops said. “It was nice to have one day off.”
Even so, a week might not have been enough. Dorian Baker is done for the year, Kyle Meadows probably is too, Towles’ ankle is tweaked, and those are just the people we know about. The ‘banged up’ qualification probably applies to more than not. Hopefully the Bye Week gave them enough mental rest to overcome the physical pains for just one more week.
– Get Reggie Rattled. When it was announced the Reggie Bonnafon would be Louisville’s starting QB for the final two games of the season, UK fans became optimistic that the defensive line could rattle the true freshman in a big game. That changed last week when a composed Bonnafon went to Notre Dame Stadium and threw for 180 yards and a touchdown while rushing for 35 yards and two scores. “I’ve been impressed. [He’s] very cool. He’s just been very poised back there, making good decisions.”
– About the play-actions. Stoops may have only briefly mentioned Petrino’s play-action passes, but it was enough for me to exhale. There isn’t one thing that could disappoint me more than if the Cats gave up a deep ball to Devante Parker off a play-action on the first play of the game. They did it against Florida State. Petrino did it at WKU against the Cats and I can name at least a handful of personal memories from Petrino’s last tour at Louisville, with Urrutia’s stiffarm against Miami the most memorable.
The bad news: the corners were pretty banged up after Tennessee. It also doesn’t help that stopping the run will be the #1 priority this week on defense, making them even more susceptible to the play-action. “Any offense that has the balance that can run and pass, they put you in that situation where they can get him (Parker) in some one-on-ones because they can run the ball.”
Stoops is going to add some wrinkles to apply additional pressure on Parker in underneath coverage, but if UK’s corners are stuck in one-on-ones I do not like our chances.
– Patrick Towles could enter the NCAA record books, for the wrong reason. If you haven’t been paying attention, Louisville has the best defensive back in America. Gerod Holliman has recorded 13 interceptions this season, one shy of tying an NCAA record that has stood since 1968. To give the stat some perspective, 17 UK players have caught passes this season: Holliman has more catches on defense than half of them do on offense. To make things even more difficult, he isn’t a corner you can throw away from, he plays centerfield of the defense as safety, “The other safety, #2, is just as good. He doesn’t have the numbers, but very good football players, both of them.”
– At the end of the day, it’s either win or go home for the Cats. Despite the obstacles that lie ahead and everything that’s at stake in this game, Stoops is confident his team’s effort will not be lacking, “I think we all know what we’re playing for. They know that. There’s no point in hiding it from them.”