The Louisville Coaching Staff wouldn’t stop talking about it throughout the Summer.

They wanted somebody – anybody- to step up to the plate and become the primary running back for the University of Louisville Football team. Running back Coach Kenny Carter has often dreamed about having a 1,000 yard rusher at Louisville it hasn’t happened since Year 1 when Bilal Powell rushed for 1405 yards.   Presumably it won’t happen again unless a Cardinal stakes their claim to tote the rock.

Wait no more.

Dominique Brown has done that, and on Saturday afternoon the Cardinals will get an opportunity to set his claim in stone when he ‘gets the nod to go out there first’ against South Florida.

“He’s [Dominique Brown] played really well. He’s had two games where he’s been really physical in his running-style,” Offensive Coordinator Shawn Watson said Tuesday. “He’s done an excellent job getting north and south. And that’s what we’re looking for.”

Physical, is the operative word when describing Brown. He’s made his defenders become familiar with his number 10 jersey by hitting them before they hit him. Time and time again it’s those runs that wear the opposing teams down while Brown remains rested and surprises them with his “break-out” ability,  like his 74-yard run against Florida International.

Admittedly, I too thought things would be much different.

I thought we’d see Michael Dyer rekindle the spark that gave him the prestigious honor of BCS Championship MVP.

Maybe even see 35 yards and a cloud of dust left behind with a Senorise Perry leading the way.

Instead it’s been ‘Brown on the Ground’. A hard rush for 3 here, a carry up the middle for 5 there, and suddenly a 35 yard touchdown burst, leaving a smiling Dominique Brown in the in-zone.

It’s been different but not hardly bad.

The carries this season – in retrospect to the other running backs – have been limited for Brown. Yet each time he gets a decent opportunity to preform, he does just last that. Last week being the latest example when we thought his 15-yard scamper to the endzone saw the Cards nearly escape from the brink of defeat against Central Florida.

We all know that didn’t happen but what has happened for Dominique Brown has been special.

“He’s put some really impressive, physical football on film,” Watson noted.

Production has been the motto for Brown. Each time he’s received over 10 carries, he’s had an average yard per carry of 5+. He’s had three of the Top 5 runs for the Cardinals. Last week at Papa John’s Cardinal served as his best performance of the season. The Cincinnati native rushed for a season best 88 yards on 12 carries for two TDs. He was so good that his fellow backs deferred to him when they reached their spot in the rotation.

“They just told me ‘It’s your show’,” Brown noted following the loss to Central Florida.

Saturday at high noon, it will be his show once again. It serves as a remarkable opportunity for Brown, with a another strong performance here, one could only think that he’ll move the needle even further on becoming a ‘feature-back’ for the Cardinals.

The Bulls will give him a great chance to do that.

South Florida has given up an average of 4.9 yards on the ground. That’s worst in the AAC. Worse than Temple, who gives up 4.7 per carry. The same Temple team that Brown rushed for 74 yards on only 11 carries against. And the bad news for Willie Taggert’s crew is that Brown has became a much better runner than he was just a mere three weeks ago in Philadelphia.

If you thought Dominique Brown was impressive on Friday, you may want to buckle your seat belt. I think he’s just getting started. It’s something that could not only effect things in 2013, but in the future as the Cardinals head to the ACC. After all, its not everyday you luck up and get a Teddy Bridgewater, and life after him, looks like a lot more ground-and-pound attack than Aerial Assualt from Shawn Watson and Company.

The Cards have much time to worry about that.

“If stays hot, we’ll continue to use him,” Watson explained.

Memo to Watson: It’s time to set #10 plays into motion…… and much more frequently.

It’s time to rescind the call for ‘someone to step up’; it’s happened.

If Louisville want’s a 1,000 yard rusher, if Louisville wants to fully prep for the ACC and a new offensive approach, Brown gives them that chance.

After Saturday he won’t need his fellow teammates to ask him to take their spot, his Coaches will be forcing him to it.

 

 

 

 

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Chris Hatfield

Residing in Louisville, KY (via Bardstown, KY). I write things about Louisville Sports. Sometimes you'll like them. Follow me @_ChrisHatfield Email me at chatfield60@gmail.com

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