Louisville Football Head Coach Bobby Petrino previews Friday night’s match-up with the Syracuse Orange.
“Alright, just trying to work this different schedule you know. We play Thursday night Friday night so we’re kind of off on schedule plus the holiday. So actually what we did was we came in last night and had meetings and went out and had a short practice and then came in this morning and lifted weights. Had meetings early this afternoon and actually got to practice a little bit earlier, which actually will help us on the recovery time and getting ready for Friday nights game without school today. Tomorrow we will be back to a normal schedule, so that will be good. Just looking back at the game after watching the video. We only got to play our first team a half. I did think that our offensive line got better as the game went on. You know they kind of came in with the philosophy they were going to throw everything they had at us. It didn’t allow us really to settle down and run the ball much. When I look back on it, I didn’t like that we were only able to call that many runs in the first half, but we executed. Got better in our pass protection as the game went on. I thought Lamar really did a good job in the second quarter seeing things and going through his progressions. It was nice to get everybody involved. You know, I really do think that Lamar has done a nice job where we’ve said don’t worry about who is at X or who is at Z or Y or whatever the position is. Just read the coverage and deliver the ball and let the players make the plays for you. I think we did that. That’s why we had so many different guys make plays. And it was great to get everybody involved you know in the second half. Defensively, I thought our front guys were real strong. Played fast. You know that’s the fastest we’ve looked all fall with our defense. We gave up one big play on a double move where we just weren’t real disciplined with our eyes. We were looking in the backfield, but I like the way we played on defense. You know we had some errors in the second half. Obviously, that punt return not catching the ball. He did the right thing going for the ball because it was the 10-yard line and we’re supposed to catch the ball on the 10-yard line, but he did hesitate. Just showed the inexperience, but again it was good to be able to get him in there and get that experience. Now we’re just looking forward to the Syracuse game. You know I thought they played well. They have a very fast offense fast tempo. Their quarterback we know well from last year, a lot of respect for him and his ability to throw the ball. His toughness, he’s a tough kid. They do have a really good group of receivers. So we’re going to have to do a good job defensively getting ourselves lined up and playing fast and not hesitating at all on defense. Offensively, we’re going to have to block line movement. They really like to move their front, the angle. They run a lot of line games. They play fast at linebacker. They’re not real big, but they play really fast and physical. I’m looking forward to the game. I think it will be a very hard fought game and we’re going to have to work hard and get better as the game goes on you know and take a step forward from last weeks game.”
We talked about it being a road game and being there in the Carrier Dome. You’ve played some games there. What do you think of that atmosphere?
CP: “Yeah, that’s a loud place you know. They’ll probably have a good crowd, and it is loud no matter how many people are there. It’s loud playing inside. It’s always loud. So we’ve been working hard now. This will be our second week working hard with the noise at practice. Gives me a headache you know, but you have to do it. But we’ll have to communicate. We’ll have to be able to use silent cadence. We’ll have to be able to use verbal cadence at times. Defensively, you know we got to be able to get our front guys with a guy communicating, a linebacker communicator, and a secondary communicator. So you know it’s a concern there because all three groups need to be on the same page, and it’s going to take three different guys to do that. So, it’s a good challenge for us. It’s something that we really need.”
Not sure what you can take from their Colgate win, but how do you think they’ve adjusted to life under a new coach?
CP: “They look like they’re doing good. You know, we watched their spring game and then the Colgate. They’ve gotten better. They’re playing fast. That’s one of the things they brag about, is how fast they go. We’ve got to see if all of that’s legal because there’s a few times they’re snapping the ball and the down markers haven’t even been moved yet. So we do need to check in to that and see how that works. But I think they look good. They’re very well coached. You know, even when we go back and watch the Bowling Green film, they do a really good job of coaching what their schemes are, and their players play hard. So I’ve got a lot of respect for their coaching staff.”
Is this a good time to play them since they are still getting used to it, or do you think maybe jump on them and take advantage?
CP: “Yeah, I mean you just play the schedule. Good time, bad time, we don’t even think or worry about that. You just play one game at a time. What our issue is we’re trying to be better in practice today than we were last week at this time, and we need to be better tomorrow than we were today.
Bobby, do you anticipate the dime package with Josh [Harvey-Clemmons] playing where he was and a kind of faster defense will work and is pretty well suited for this game?
CP: “Yeah, I mean it’s the reason that we put it in was because in these first two games you’re basically playing spread offensives and four wide receivers in a bunch so that’s the reason we were in it last week, and you’ll certainly see it again this Friday night.”
Josh is so versatile with where ever he lines up and what he can do, just kind of talk about what you saw with him on the game. How do you think he did?
CP: “Yeah, I though he did a really nice job. He slips blocks, and he understands schemes, and he’s a really good tackler. He’s got good match-ups in his cover skills, and, it’s like you said, we now have him playing three different positions, so he has great knowledge of our schemes. But he’s just a really good football player. He knows what offenses try to do. He doesn’t hesitate, he makes decision and goes gull speed with it, so I think you’ll continue to see him play fast and make a lot of plays for us.”
After looking at film, was Lamar’s game as good, as spectacular as his stats would seem to indicate?
CP: “No, uh uh, no. It’s always that same deal, nothing’s as ever as good as it seems, and noting’s as ever as bad as it seems. Reality lies somewhere in between. So we’re going to go with that.”
What did he need to work on?
CP: “I mean everything. You know, we need to be better with our footwork. We need to be 100% correct on all our reads. I did think that he really delivered the ball well, and it was good to see him keep his focus down field and deliver the ball as he’s getting hit standing in there. I thought the two-minute drive was probably great for him because I thought he made three of his best throws in the tow-minute drive.”
How is Ja’Quay Savage doing?
CP: “He was out there tonight going full speed. He’s had a shoulder issue, and the decision was made last week that he wasn’t going to be ready to play. He’s kind of on a day-to-day basis right now, but I did like what I saw from him today out there. He was going full speed and was able to catch the ball above his head, so hopefully he’ll be available to play.”
You said last week that the one question mark was the special teams, how would you say they did? Especially Mason? You used three different guys first of all, was that by design?
CP: “It was by design. I thought it was hard on him in the first quarter, which was great. We had to go into the wind, and it was hard on the kickoffs. It was hard on the punt. I thought that was a really good thing because what that does is challenge you to come back and utilize your technique, and don’t panic and try to over kick. Mason is [King] going to do a good job for us. We did go into the game saying we were going to use three different kickoff guys. We anticipated we were going to score a lot of points. There was a game one time where we played Houston at Houston. We scored a lot of points. We used one kickoff guy, and I don’t think he ever kicked off again. It was just too… we just wore him out. It was just too much. So we knew going in we were only going to have one guy kick so many times, and I thought that was good experience too.”