Series History

Louisville won the 1st ever meeting over Florida State 41-14 when Johnny Unitas led the Cards BIG over the Seminoles in 1952.  After that game, the Cards lost 12 straight to FSU.  During that time the Noles beat the Cards…..BAD, by an average of 32 points per game.

Then 2002 happened when the Cards beat the Seminoles 26-20 in Overtime during the remnants of Hurricane Isidore when Henry Miller made his legendary run.  Here is the full game.

Louisville vs. FSU Podcast

HYPE VIDEO

Louisville vs. Florida State 2014 Hype Video from Mark Blankenbaker on Vimeo.

Stat Comparison

Louisville Florida State
Scoring Offense (ppg) 30.9 (58th) 37.9 (19th)
Total Offense (ypg) 370.4 (94th) 442.6 (46th)
Passing Offense (ypg) 225.8 (72nd) 316.7 (14th)
Rushing Offense (ypg) 144.63 (90th) 125.86 (104th)
Scoring Defense (ppg) 14.6 (4th) 21.6 (29th)
Total Defense (ypg) 245.8 (1st) 374.4 (53rd)
Passing Defense (ypg) 177.0 (10th) 227.9 (63rd)
Rushing Defense (ypg) 68.75 (1st) 146.57 (49th)
Punt Returns (ypr) 7.54 (72nd) 11.82 (27th)
Kickoff Returns (ypr) 24.22 (21st) 18.8 (107th)
Opponent Punt Returns (ypr) 9.33 (84th) 8.83 (77th)
Opponent Kickoff Returns (ypr) 22.28 (98th) 18.03 (18th)
Punting (ypp) 41.58 (67th) 40.04 (96th)
Field Goal % 78.6% (41st) 100% (1st)
Opponent Field Goal % 93.3% (123rd) 75.0% (74th)
First Downs (per game) 19.4 (92nd) 23.7 (36th)
Opponent First Downs (per game) 13.0 (1st) 20.7 (68th)
Penalties (ypg) 53.0 (59th) 53.3 (61st)
Turnover Margin (season) +3 (38th) 0 (59th)
Time of Possession 33:11.13 (13th) 29:28.71 (74th)
Sacks (per game) 3.5 (7th) 1.57 (98th)
Sacks Allowed (per game) 3.38 (121st) 2.14 (73rd)
Tackles for Loss (per game) 7.50 (15th) 6.14 (58th)
Tackles for Loss Allowed (per game) 7.75 (119th) 6.0 (66th)
Interceptions (season) 15 (2nd) 7 (55th)
Passes Defended (per game) 6.25 (6th) 5.14 (36th)
Fumbles Recovered (season) 3 (99th) 6 (48th)
Fumbles Forced (season) 4 (99th) 10 (8th)
Fumbles Lost (season) 12 (127th) 5 (56th)
Kicks/Punts Blocked (season)
3rd Down Conversions (%) 39.39% (71st) 45.24% (33rd)
Opponent 3rd Down Conversions (%) 23.97% (2nd) 43.36% (98th)
4th Down Conversions (%) 66.67% (22nd) 0% (128th)
Opponent 4th Down Conversions (%) 12.5% (3rd) 25.00% (12th)
Red Zone Conversions (%) 87.5% (38th) 97.06% (2nd)
Opponent Red Zone Conversions (%) 70.00% (9th) 70.00 (9th)
RedZone TD Conversions (%) 71.88% (19th) 67.65% (37th)
Opponent Red Zone TD Conversions (%) 30.00% (1st) 43.33% (13th)
Kickoffs (ypk) 62.98 (24th) 62.19 (48th)
Plays 588 (8 games) 478 (118th)
Yards Per Play 5.04 (105th) 6.48 (24th)

Louisville Offense vs. Florida State Defense 

Florida State Rushing Defense vs. Louisville Rushing Offense

  Yards Rank
Louisville Rushing Offense 144.63 90th
FSU Rushing Defense 146.57 49th

Florida State’s Rushing Defense allows 146.57 yards on the season and has held opponents to an average of 13 yards less than what opponents have averaged for the season thus far in 2014, or about 94%.  Only Oklahoma State & Wake Forest were able to go over their season averages, with Wake Forest being such a paltry number that it shouldn’t even count.  But this is a stat evaluation.

The two most recent games the Seminoles have allowed over 150 yards on the ground and have also done so in 4 of 6 games vs. FBS opponents.

Louisville on average gains 144.63 yards per game on the ground and has averaged about 24.4 yards LESS or 81.39% of what opponents typically allow.  The Cards have been all over the map in both who they use at Running Back and production ranging from a low of just 12 yards vs. Florida International to a high of 215 vs. Wake Forest.  The Cards have been over 160 yards in 3 of its last 4 contests on the ground.Just using stat guesses we should expect Louisville to gain anywhere from 119-135 yards on Thursday Night.The reality is that Louisville is heavily skewed by both extremes of high & low on the season, While FSU has been mostly static throughout the season.

Still it will be interesting to watch to see if Louisville can break out of the suggested range or if they even play below it.  With Michael Dyer running like he did last Saturday I’d trend this one higher also given FSU’s recent rushing defense performances.  We’ll see.

Rushing Offense Florida State Allowed vs. Deviation from Avg. % Gained of Avg
Oklahoma St 156.25 161 4.75 103.04%
Clemson 140.75 101 -39.75 71.76%
NC State 180.75 161 -19.75 89.07%
Wake Forest 34.5 40 5.5 115.94%
Syracuse 179 156 -23 87.15%
Notre Dame 162.86 157 -5.86 96.40%
Average -13.02 93.89%
Rushing Defense Louisville Gained vs. Deviation from Avg. % Gained of Avg
Miami (FL) 147.63 130 -17.63 88.06%
Virginia 100.38 79 -21.38 78.70%
FIU 155.38 12 -143.38 7.72%
Wake Forest 178.5 215 36.5 120.45%
Syracuse 131.75 178 46.25 135.10%
Clemson 101.38 52 -49.38 51.29%
NC State 187.75 166 -21.75 88.42%
Average -24.4 81.39%

Louisville Passing Offense vs. Florida State Passing Defense 

  Yards Rank
Louisville Passing Offense 225.8 72nd
FSU Passing Defense 227.9 63rd

The Seminoles allow 227.9 yards per game through the air and typically allow about 16 yards or 105% of what opponents typically have done throughout the season.  Twice this season FSU has limited opponents UNDER its season average, Oklahoma State & Wake Forest.  All other games the Seminoles have allowed opponents to gain more yardage than the season average.

Four of six games FSU opponents have been able to throw for over 250 yards in 4 of 6 games, with a low effort of just 86 yards gained by Wake Forest.  Without Wake (although the game did happen) Florida State has allowed 287.4 yards per game through the air which would rank the Noles just in front of Tulsa at 115th in passing defense.  FSU has played 3 of 6 teams in the Top 50 in passing offense, and 2 teams in the Top 30.

Louisville has used two QBs for most of the season, but the results really haven’t been too erratic.  One thing that IS very interesting when you look at Louisville’s opponents are that of the 7 FBS games the Cards have played UofL has faced FIVE teams in the Top 35 in passing defense.Also very interesting is that despite Louisville’s low output through the air in 2014 Louisville has actually gained more than its opponents have allowed by 21 yards per game or 113%.  In fact, the Clemson Tigers are the best secondary the Cards have faced in 2014 and the Cards actually gained 44.7 more yards than Clemson allows, with Miami just behind and Louisville gaining about more yards than average against the Hurricanes.

With DeVante Parker back in the fold for the Cards Louisville has a big opportunity against a Florida State secondary that is struggling due to a lack of pressure on the QB.  Louisville MUST protect Will Gardner to gain an advantage here, and protect the football as the Seminoles do a great job of forcing fumbles.

Based on current ranges Louisville should see anywhere from 239-258 yards through the air on Saturday.

Passing Offense Florida State Allowed vs. Deviation from Avg. % Gained of Avg
Oklahoma St 246 203 -43 82.52%
Clemson 291 306 15 105.15%
NC State 225.5 359 133.5 159.20%
Wake Forest 179 86 -93 48.04%
Syracuse 197.8 256 58.2 129.42%
Notre Dame 285.1 313 27.9 109.79%
Average 16.43 105.69%
Passing Defense Louisville Gained vs. Deviation from Avg. % Gained of Avg
Miami (FL) 171.6 206 34.4 120.05%
Virginia 236.3 203 -33.3 85.91%
FIU 188 324 136 172.34%
Wake Forest 179.8 206 26.2 114.57%
Syracuse 227.9 174 -53.9 76.35%
Clemson 167.3 212 44.7 126.72%
NC State 206.9 203 -3.9 98.12%
Average 21.46 113.44%

Summation

Personally I think Louisville is sitting on a big game offensively.  Thursday will be Aaron Epps’ 17th day working with the #1 unit along the offensive line.  His presence really allowed the offense to make a huge leap forward against NC State.  More than just Epps, but also Quarterback Will Gardner made his 1st start since being injured vs. Florida International, DeVante Parker saw his 1st action of the season, and Michael Dyer finally looked like the guy Cardinal fans thought they were getting when he arrived last summer.

Louisville’s offense hasn’t been amazing all year but when the Cards hold on to the football, the UofL offense runs more smoothly.  Turnovers have been a problem for the Cards and FSU does force a lot of fumbles…but the Noles are EVEN in turnover margin on the season and don’t do a great job of getting pressure on the Quarterback.  On top of that, Florida State is an awful 3rd Down Defensive team.

PJ Williams is an ELITE Cornerback and Florida State is probably going to try and match Williams up with DeVante Parker throughout the evening…….I like DeVante in this match-up, but the bigger deal may be getting James Quick in single coverage on the other side, and away from P.J. If Parker wins some early 1-on-1 battles Florida State will have to move a Safety over to shade and that’s when things finally open up for Eli Rogers and Gerald Christian.

But a huge problem for FSU could be Louisville’s running game if Bobby Petrino gets the production he believes he can get out of his stable of finally healthy running backs.  Starting with Dyer, Louisville may be primed for a big game on the ground against an OK run defense.  But if things remain static on the ground, I do think that Louisville will have an enormous game through the air and I think we can expect that UofL will be able to move the ball reasonably well, Syracuse scored 20, North Carolina State posted 41, and Oklahoma State put up 31.

Total Offense FSU Allowed Deviation from Avg % Gained of Avg Allowed
Oklahoma State 397.4 364 33.4 91.60%
Clemson 440.1 407 33.1 92.48%
NC State 406.3 520 -113.7 127.98%
Wake Forest 206.7 126 80.7 60.96%
Syracuse 406.3 412 -5.7 101.40%
Notre Dame 448 470 -22 104.91%
Average 0.97 96.56%
Louisville 370.4 Projection 371.37 357.64
Total Defense FSU Gained Deviation from Avg % Gained of Avg Allowed
Oklahoma State 420.7 476 55.3 113.14%
Clemson 282.7 317 34.3 112.13%
NC State 394.6 531 136.4 134.57%
Wake Forest 357 475 118 133.05%
Syracuse 357.4 482 124.6 134.86%
Notre Dame 344.7 323 -21.7 93.70%
Average 74.48 120.24%
Louisville 245.8 Projection 320.28 295.56

 Florida State Offense vs. Louisville Defense 

Louisville Run Defense vs. Florida State Run Offense

  Yards Rank
FSU Rushing Offense 125.86 104th
UofL Rushing Defense 68.75 1st

Florida State isn’t exactly known for its strong running game.  The Noles in its 6 FBS games in 2014 have rushed for just 125.86 yards per game and have only beaten the average yards allowed of its opponents once this season.  Despite that FSU has been over 160 yards 3 times on the ground.

The Seminoles on average gain 28 yards less than what opponents have allowed on the year or just 74.33% of what opposing defenses are allowing on the season. In fact, the only time FSU exceeded the average yards allowed on the ground was against Syracuse a few weeks ago.  Every other game and Florida State has played below the average of its competition.

Rushing Defense Florida State Gained vs. Deviation from Avg. % Gained of Avg
Oklahoma St 142 106 -36 74.65%
Clemson 101.38 13 -88.38 12.82%
NC State 187.75 166 -21.75 88.42%
Wake Forest 178.5 171 -7.5 95.80%
Syracuse 131.75 165 33.25 125.24%
Notre Dame 101.86 50 -51.86 49.09%
Average -28.71 74.33%

Louisville on the other hand is allowing 68.75 yards per game, and have allowed opponents over 100 yards just twice in 7 FBS games.  The final results are skewed a great deal by the negative rushing total that Wake Forest allowed but Louisville has allowed ZERO opponents to meet or exceed its season average thus far in 2014.

The Cards are allowing 71 yards LESS than what opponents typically gain or just 39% of opponents average.  The Cardinal Rushing Defense has been outstanding in 2014.

Rushing Offense Louisville Allowed vs. Deviation from Avg. % Gained of Avg
Miami (FL) 187.38 70 -117.38 37.36%
Virginia 170.13 114 -56.13 67.01%
FIU 113.63 88 -25.63 77.44%
Wake Forest 34.5 -22 -56.5 -63.77%
Syracuse 179 59 -120 32.96%
Clemson 140.75 72 -68.75 51.15%
NC State 180.75 128 -52.75 70.82%
Average -71.02 39.00%

FSU’s Running Back situation is in flux without Mario Penders and the status of Karlos Williams who is ‘under review’ for battery to his mother’s child and also wanted in questioning of an armed robbery over the summer.   Jameis Winston is the biggest historical threat to do damage on the ground against the Cardinal Defense. But Florida State recruits nationally and it’s expected that FSU would have talented backs…..they just haven’t showcased that this season.

Based on the math available, the range for FSU to gain on the ground is 40-51 yards on Thursday night.  That figure probably is too low for what we’ll see, even if Williams and Penders do not play because of the style that Florida State will employ and the threat to run from Winston.  But we’ll see if the Noles can buck the trend.

Florida State Passing Offense vs. Louisville Passing Defense

  Yards Rank
FSU Passing Offense 316.7 14th
UofL Passing Defense 177 10th

Florida State can throw the football.  No surprise, the Seminoles have the reigning Heisman Trophy winner at Quarterback in Jameis Winston.  In these stats it is a side note that Jameis did not play against Clemson, a game in which FSU threw for 304 yards. That game is notable because Clemson’s passing defense is ranked a tad higher than Louisville’s and also saw Florida State have ZERO success on the ground (gained just 13 yards) and were forced to try and win the game through the air……considering Louisville’s rushing defense, we’ll probably see the same thing on Thursday night.

Florida State has thrown for over 300 yards in 5 of 6 games vs. FBS schools and have surpassed EVERY opponents average yardage allowed this season.  The Seminoles have been throwing for 104 yards MORE than what opponents typically allow during a season or gain over 151% during a given game.  THAT is impressive.

Passing Defense Florida State Gained vs. Deviation from Avg. % Gained of Avg
Oklahoma St 282.1 370 87.9 131.16%
Clemson 167.3 304 136.7 181.71%
NC State 206.9 365 158.1 176.41%
Wake Forest 179.8 304 124.2 169.08%
Syracuse 227.9 317 89.1 139.10%
Notre Dame 242.9 273 30.1 112.39%
Average 104.35 151.64%

Louisville has been very effective as well against Passing Offenses. Currently the 10th best pass defense team in the nation, Louisville has limited every opponent except for one under its season average through the air.  Syracuse was able to eek out a 3 yard difference as the loner overachiever against the Cardinal defense (a game in which the Orange abandoned the running game).

The Cards have held passing offenses to 56 yards LESS than the average or 75% of the usual output.

Passing Offense Louisville Allowed vs. Deviation from Avg. % Gained of Avg
Miami (FL) 242.4 174 -68.4 71.78%
Virginia 241.6 171 -70.6 70.78%
FIU 179.8 117 -62.8 65.07%
Wake Forest 179 122 -57 68.16%
Syracuse 197.8 201 3.2 101.62%
Clemson 291.3 157 -134.3 53.90%
NC State 225.5 223 -2.5 98.89%
Average -56.06 75.74%

THIS is the big disparity coming into the game. Who wins out?  FSU’s passing offense is explosive with Jameis Winston at the controls with Rashad Greene as an outstanding wide receiver.  Louisville has the nation’s leader in INTs in Gerod Holliman to go along with Safety James Sample who has been the biggest surprise of 2014.  Terell Floyd was recently moved back to his more natural Corner spot with the return of Jermaine Reve at NICKEL, and Quarterbacks have basically ignored Charles Gaines’ side of the field throughout the season in fear of testing him.

Something has to give in this match-up.  Right now the statistical information suggests that Florida State will be able to gain 239-281 yards through the air.  That is a big gap, and is the biggest gap of these breakdowns.  Can Louisville limit the FSU passing attack?  Or will FSU move the ball as it usually does against the Cardinals?

In the offense vs. defense match-ups this is the one to watch the most.

Summation

Louisville’s Defense has been awesome. Even with Karlos Williams I don’t expect Florida State to be able to run the ball with any reliable regularity.  Florida State is going to rely, as you might expect, on its Heisman winning Quarterback and All-American Jameis Winston to move the ball.  As mentioned above the entire game tomorrow really depends on who wins the battle between the FSU passing attack and the Louisville pass defense.

Florida State will have a problem dealing with Louisville’s pass rush and I think Jameis Winston will see very few clean pockets to throw from.  The bad news is that Winston doesn’t really need clean pockets to make plays and is as much of a danger to run when pressure provides a lane to run through.  Those lanes as a result of over-pursuit have happened on occasion with the Cardinals’ aggressive blitz packages.

Rashad Greene & Jameis Winston have magnetic chemistry and I do expect Greene to make a few plays here and there.  Whenever Jameis or anyone from FSU makes a great play against good coverage or an almost sack, the Cards have to move on and play the next play.  Florida State is the defending national champion for a reason.

It’s also important to note that Florida State has the best kicker in the country who virtually never misses.  Louisville keeping Florida State out of field goal range is crucial.  Points will be at a premium in this one.

Total Offense UofL Allowed Deviation from Avg % Gained of Avg Allowed
Miami (FL) 426 244 -182 57.28%
Virginia 407.3 285 -122.3 69.97%
Florida International 293.4 205 -88.4 69.87%
Wake Forest 206.7 100 -106.7 48.38%
Syracuse 406.3 260 -146.3 63.99%
Clemson 440.1 229 -211.1 52.03%
NC State 406.3 351 -55.3 86.39%
Average -130.3 63.99%
Florida State 442.6 Projection 312.3 283.21
Total Defense UofL Gained Deviation from Avg % Gained of Avg Allowed
Miami (FL) 327.4 336 8.6 102.63%
Virginia 331.3 282 -49.3 85.12%
Florida International 343.4 336 -7.4 97.85%
Wake Forest 357 421 64 117.93%
Syracuse 357.4 352 -5.4 98.49%
Clemson 282.7 264 -18.7 93.39%
NC State 394.6 369 -25.6 93.51%
Average -4.83 98.41%
Florida State 374.4 Projection 369.57 368.47

My Prediction

Thursday Night Football holds some great memories for Cardinal fans.  The atmosphere is going to be top notch, the weather is looking perfect for a late October tilt and the defending national champion, winner of 23 in a row, and Heisman Trophy winner come to town trying to break Bobby Petrino’s 22 -game winning streak at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.

The scene is set and Bobby Petrino is cast as an unlikely white knight in a game that most of the country will be hoping for a Cardinal victory.  That hope, won’t be enough. Louisville fans will probably make more noise than ever…but the fans don’t play football.

On the field we see nothing about the Florida State Defense that might affect the progress the Cards have made on offense…..in fact, through the air I think Louisville may see its most effective game of the season.  But Florida State has Jameis Winston and Louisville has that Defense.

In the end, I think Louisville is a really bad match-up for Florida State.  Louisville’s pass rush and rush defense should leave Florida State one dimensional.  Winston’s quick release will break a few plays and if anyone is going to break this Louisville defense it will be Jameis.  But I don’t think it will be enough.  Especially with what I think is coming from Louisville offensively.

Louisville 24- FSU 17

Attending, Listening, Watching

7:30, 10/30/2014

Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium

SOLD OUT

Game will be broadcast on 840 WHAS by Paul Rogers, Craig Swabek, and Doug Ormay.  Also you can hear the game on Sirius 139 or XM 197.

ESPN will televise the game with Rece Davis, Jesse Palmer, David Pollack, and Samantha Ponder.

University of Louisville football fans attending Thursday night’s football game against Florida State in Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium are encouraged to arrive early.

A large Future Farmers of America convention event at the Kentucky Exposition Center, racing at Churchill Downs and normal evening traffic on Thursday will add to the congestion in the vicinity of the stadium. The reserved parking lots surrounding the stadium will open at 2:30 p.m. for tailgaters attending the matchup with the nation’s second-ranked team.

Regular traffic patterns for game days will not change. Drivers should cooperate with the police directing traffic. U of L students who regularly park at the stadium on weekdays will be parking at an alternate location on Thursday.

While Halloween falls on Friday evening and fans may wish to be festive, costumes may be worn to the game but masks will not be permitted.

Pre-Game Videos

Coaches Transcript from October 22, 2014

BOBBY PETRINO
LOUISVILLE

BOBBY PETRINO: We’re excited to have a bye week. We played eight straight games, including a Monday night game and a Friday night game, and I’m proud of the way our players and assistant coaches grinded through it and did a good job in our preparation. We’re looking forward to the challenge that we have with Florida State coming in here next Thursday night, and we’ll get back on the practice field here this afternoon and have some fun getting ready for the game.

Q. So we asked you on Saturday after the game, you know, obviously, you had said you wanted to go back and look at some film, but now that you’ve had that chance, how would you rate the way the offense performed, especially the offensive line? And what did you guys take away from that that you can kind of work on this week?

BOBBY PETRINO: I thought we improved. We ran the ball. We did a good job of running it not only early in the game, but when we had to to win the game. I thought we improved on our pass protection. So like I continue to say, we’re a work in it progress, but we certainly showed some improvement.

Q. And did you, from what we were told, it was more nicks than anything else, but are Lorenzo (Mauldin) and James (Quick) ready to practice this week, or where do they stand?

BOBBY PETRINO: We’re encouraged by where they’re at, and all indications are that hopefully they’ll be ready for the game.

Q. What stood out to you the most about the way Coach Grantham has taught his defense to the players you inherited there? BOBBY PETRINO: Todd does a great job of teaching and coaching on the field. I think our players are doing a really nice job of understanding what our philosophies and what our schemes are, and in doing that, we’re able to play real fast and
physical. Todd also does a great job of making sure our players understand what the other team is trying to do against us.

Q. You guys have been really good down by the goal line. What’s been the key to that success?

BOBBY PETRINO: We’ve been good on first down, down there. We’ve been able to penetrate and get negative plays and hold people to field goals instead of touchdowns. It’s certainly been a big factor in us going 6-2.

Q. What is your general feeling about playing Thursday night games? I mean, it helps that you have a bye before you face Florida State, but how do you feel about playing those Thursday night games?

BOBBY PETRINO: I’ve always enjoyed them because you do get a little bit of time to prepare for it. You’re able to get a couple of days off where players get to relax and rest. This is a good time for us because we haven’t had any byes. So they actually get to get away from the facility for a couple days, away from the coaches, and get refreshed and ready to go. I’ve always enjoyed playing them because I think the recruits are watching the games on Thursday night because Saturdays, a lot of times they have their own things to do, whether they’re playing or watching the video of their Friday night game. So I
thought it’s been good for the program.

Q. From your experience, what’s been the benefit for the Florida program? Maybe in terms of game planning. Most cases, it’s kind of a short week, but you have kind of a difference now with the bye.

BOBBY PETRINO: Yeah, I think that’s the benefit is having some time to work on your game plan and do a couple things in recruiting and just be able to use that extra time.

Q. Coach, I just wanted to ask you about (Devante) Parker. Playing his first game,he obviously had a huge impact. He played real well. How does he come out of that game physically?

BOBBY PETRINO: He had a big impact, probably more than I imagined he could. He did a great job running after the catch and getting open, catching the ball in his hands. He was sore after the game, obviously. He hadn’t been hit for a long time and been through the things that he did in that game. But we’re real encouraged that the next day he felt better than he ever thought he would.

Q. And you mentioned a couple other guys. Just getting your team back healthy, can you talk about just how that impacts you going forward?

BOBBY PETRINO: This has been a pretty good grind for us. We opened the season on a Monday night, played the next Saturday, and then have had zero byes. So it’s been a good grind, but our players have done a nice job of handling it. We’ve got an excellent medical staff that does a great job of getting them ready and fresh and prepared each week, but it is good to have a couple days extra to get our bodies and our minds ready to be fresh in the game on Thursday.

Q. Hey, Bobby, I was hoping to ask you one more thing about Todd Grantham. I think it’s the first time you guys have worked together, and I’m just curious, how do you go about kind of getting to know coaches that you’ve never worked with before and building a chemistry with a new staff and guys who are working together for the first time?

BOBBY PETRINO: I think it’s just getting together, whether it’s in the meeting rooms, out on the practice field, studying video together, and just getting to know each other. It’s been a lot of fun for me watching Todd and his staff put this defense together because they’re all very familiar with it, and Todd’s an expert at exactly what we are trying to do on defense, and watching him teach it to the players. So it’s been really a lot of fun.

Q. Have you guys run a three-four defense in your past as a head coach?

BOBBY PETRINO: Well, forms of it, not exactly what we’re doing now, but we used it more as a dime package in the past. But we had to line up and play against Georgia when Todd first went there. We spent the entire off-season basically studying the Dallas Cowboys’ defense because he had just came from Dallas to Georgia, and we had two games early in the year that we should win. So we took a long time to get ready for that game and watched what he did the remainder of that year and the next year. I thought he did an excellent job. I’m excited that he’s here with us and doing a great job here.

Q. I just wanted to check with you here. Some of the biggest things that you’ve learned about this Cardinals team, I know you talked a little bit about the defense and getting to know some of the staff that you have and whatnot, but as far as what you’ve been able to take away from the team as a whole and the success that you’ve had here in your first year so far.

BOBBY PETRINO: Yeah, we’ve got a group of guys that really enjoy football. They like preparing for it. So they like going to meetings. They enjoy going to practice and competing against each other. And the thing that I think has really shown up on our team is in the fourth quarter how competitive we are, and we’ve had to win some games in the fourth quarter, and we’ve been able to keep our poise and play extremely hard.

Q. And then as far as looking forward and the game that you have coming up next, I know you’re going to have some time to get ready for this one, but what you’ve been able to see from Florida State and where you feel your team is at in going into a big matchup like this.

BOBBY PETRINO: Well, they’re a great football team. They’re very strong offensively, defensively, special teams. It’s exciting for us to prepare for a game like this. This is the type of games you like to play in and prepare for. So we’re going to have a good time in doing it and excited that they’re coming into our house to play.

JIMBO FISHER
FLORIDA STATE

JIMBO FISHER: Again, very excited about our team and the way we played against Notre Dame and how to compete in the game. It was a very — it was great for college football, I think, two brand-name teams, national brand name teams, two top-five teams going toe-to-toe for the entire game, and it was a great contest. It was great for college football. It was great for the ACC and great for us to be able to come out victorious. Notre Dame has had a very good team,
very well-coached, and like I say, it was a great venue. Fans were great in that game. I think the home field advantage was very critical, and our fans did a great job in the game.

Saying all that, we’re looking forward to getting back this week, getting back to fundamental things, working on some Louisville things, but working on fundamental things like you’re able to do on on off practice or two as far as that game preparation, to keep staying fundamentally sound in a lot of things you do and trying to get some of our guys that get nicked and knacked at this time of year, try to get them fully healthy. Got a very important stretch run. Got a
great opponent coming up in Louisville. Louisville is a heck of a football team. They’re doing a tremendous job on defense. Bobby Petrino does a great job as a head coach. He’s a terrific offensive mind. They’ve got their quarterback coming back, they’ve got their big receiver coming back. They have a lot of weapons and have a great atmosphere there and good on special teams. We’ll have our hands full. But we’ve got to get healthy this week and get ready to go out and play.

Q. I know the ACC meetings in July, you talked about how the College Football Playoffs were going to be uncharted territory, but you were excited about what it might bring. Now that we’re on the verge of the release of the first poll, knowing full well that there’s a lot of football to be played, as a fan, are you excited to see what the committee is going to produce next Tuesday when it’s announced?

JIMBO FISHER: I don’t know if I’m excited, but, yes, we’re all anxious to see what the criteria is and where things are going. Again, those are things we can’t control, and we have to control how we play and how we prepare. I’m interested to see what the standings and what the criteria — I think we’ll get a first sense of how they look at things.

Q. Just wanted to go into a little bit of Karlos Williams and just what he’s been to you not only in a game in general, but at the end of the game, what he did against Clemson and of course what he did against Notre Dame, I should say.

JIMBO FISHER: I think Karlos is the ultimate competitor. I think he’s a total team guy. I said that to him yesterday. I pulled him aside and said, boy, you played one heck of a football game. He only had 25 yards, but the type of runs when he had them, picking up blitzes, two critical catches in a game, and he was coming off an injury that most guys miss a lot more time with than he did. I think that’s a great tribute to him as a person and as a teammate to how much he cares and how much this team means to him and the way, how hard he plays, and I thought he played very well in our football game. It was a huge part of our success.

Q. And then as far as the team as a whole, just everything on and off the field that you’ve dealt with, the team has had a great response to adversity. What can you say not only with yourself as a coach, but with the rest of your staff and the team coming together and playing in games like this and being able to compartmentalize things and be able to go forward and win games like this?

JIMBO FISHER: I think that’s one thing you hit dead on. Our staff does a tremendous job with it. Our players respect our staff, and our staff respects our players, and they do a great job of getting these kids in the right mindset and making adjustments during the game and coaching and being with them all week as far as, not just as players, but as people and helping them keep things in perspective. Our staff does a tremendous job, and we have a great group of players who believe in the system and the things we’re doing and have a lot of character, and they’re able to do that.

Q. Jimbo, as you’ve started to look at Louisville on defense, that’s kind of been the story for them this year. What’s stood out at you so far in what you’ve seen on the tape?

JIMBO FISHER: Not many people get many points, and not many people get many yards. They’re very good. They’re multiple up front, three down, four down, a lot of blitzed packages, mix the coverages up well, and have very good players. They’re a well-coached, well-disciplined, really good football team. They really are.

Q. Have you faced Todd Grantham a lot in your career?

JIMBO FISHER: No, I haven’t. I’ve known Todd a long time. Todd’s a friend. I know him, and his brother Tony actually GA’d for us at LSU. He was on staff with us. I have a lot of respect for Todd. He’s a very good coach and a good guy.

Q. Jimbo, you’ve had — Florida State’s had a host of great receivers over the years. Now Rashad Greene holds all the receiving records. What has enabled him to do that? How has he separated himself?

JIMBO FISHER: One, he has great ability. I mean, he is very talented. He’s fast. He has all the physical skills. But Rashad is a relentless worker. He’s a great teammate, how he practices, how he prepares. He has a drive inside to be great. He’s selfless, and in those big moments, he’s an ultimate competitor. Even though he’s quiet, that guy competes. He’s tough. He has all the intangibles you just talk about over and over and over. And the way he practices, he practices
every play like it’s the National Championship, and that’s the way, he prepares that way, so he ends up playing that way. He’s a tremendously selfless
guy. The thing about him too, he’s very intelligent. You can move him to a lot of different spots and teach him a lot of different things. He’s a very intelligent young man.

Q. How does that preparation and work ethic rub off on other guys?

JIMBO FISHER: It does tremendously. I always say, you guys want to do this, this is the best number-wise that’s ever played here. Maybe ever. It’s all an opinion, but guys, look at how — it’s no — it’s the reason why he is great is how he prepares. If you want to have that kind of career and be thought of that way, do the things he does.

Q. Question for you. For last week’s tough game against Notre Dame and such a hype and all that stuff, how can you get your players ready to go for next week knowing you have a week off and play Louisville on Thursday night? How do you get everybody on the same page?

JIMBO FISHER: You have to do it every week. That’s what we do every week. You know everybody is going to bring their A game to us. Everybody is going to play well. It’s a big game. It’s an important game. If you have your goals and spirations of where you want to go as a team, and to get there, you’re going to have to go through it. It’s going to be very difficult. We talk about those things all the time and get ourselves mentally and physically ready to play. That’s just what we do here at Florida State.

Q. After last week’s game, the final minute with the passing interference call and all the great battle back and forth, did you take some time off and think about how great that game was for you as a coach and also for college football?

JIMBO FISHER: I think I felt it at times for college football. As I look back on it, it was great for the game and promotes the game. Someone told me it was like the highest rated game that’s been on TV, a non-BCS game for the last two or three years or something. You had two brand names. Like I said, I was blessed to be able to coach in a game like that. I’m very fortunate. That’s why I love being at Florida State. But you don’t have a lot of time. You reflect on the things you did well and the things you did poorly, and like you said, we don’t have time to get ready for Louisville.

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@UofLSheriff50. Louisville native, University of Louisville Business School Grad c/o 2004. Co-Founder of TheCrunchZone.com

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