There’s no question University of Louisville football head coach Bobby Petrino was disappointed in the outcome last Saturday versus Alabama.
However, Petrino was able to pull some positives away from the 51-14 loss to the defending national champions.
“Alabama is a very good football team,” Petrino said at his Monday press conference. “They are solid in all three phases. … I was happy Jawon Pass stayed in there and competed. He finished the game and I was impressed with his mindset.
“Defensively, we did a lot of good things. We were able to pressure the quarterback and we ran to the football. I like the way they flew around and made plays. I also liked the sideline on both sides. They were into the game, made adjustments and we into the game.”
The Cardinals now channel their focus as excitement builds for the home opener versus Indiana State and the unveiling of a renovated Cardinal Stadium. The Cardinals open the venue at 7 p.m. on the ACC Network.
“I’m looking forward to opening up the stadium,” Petrino said. “I’m hoping we have a big crowd and they’re into the game. The stadium looks great and I’m really excited to be back at home this week.”
The Cardinals will face a Sycamore team that upped its record to 1-0 after a 49-0 win over Quincy on Aug. 30. The FCS squad snapped a 14-game losing streak and is playing with confidence under second-year head coach Curt Mallory.
“They do a really good job of coaching,” Petrino said. “Their defense is well coached. It’s a good game for us because they are going to run a lot of different pressures and bring guys. They don’t run a normal base defense. I was just really impressed on how well they were coached.”
If the Cardinals are going to crack the win column for the first time this season, they must get their ground game going.
The Cardinals uncharacteristically rushed for 16 yards on 26 carries in the loss to Alabama. Averaging 245.1 yards on the ground last season, UofL was able to generate one run of 10 or more yards – an 11-yard scramble by Pass.
“We have to establish a running game and establish an identity,” Petrino said. “We went into the game thinking we had that, but they did a good job of shutting it down. We need to find out who our running back actually is for the rest of the season.”
Giving up over 500 yards of offense wouldn’t bring a sense of optimism for the defense, but Petrino liked what he saw at times from defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder’s defense.
“We can’t give up the big plays, but I did like a lot of things I saw from our defense,” Petrino said. “We were communicating and made the proper adjustments, which will carry over to make us a better football team. The attitude is good and the willingness is there, and I know we will keep improving.”
The Cardinals return to the practice field on Tuesday afternoon at 3:50 p.m.
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