Hell in the Hall – Louisville Sports Blog

Dedicated to the joyful noise of the Card faithful

Only Partly “Sunny”….. Cards 21 — Murray St. 9

Posted by frankpos on September 1, 2011

In his first start since 2009, Will Stein shone in most of the first half, leading the Cards to an early 21-0 lead on 10 for 15 passing, including 2 for TD's. But Will staggered in , hitting only 7 of 17 after the half. Afterward , he acknowledged he had no wheels after the half--that he rolled and popped his ankle on a play late in the first half.

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Louisville QB Will Stein took the podium first at the post game presser… he wasn’t  “Sunny.”

Neither was Head Coach Charlie Strong….

Coach Charlie Strong's irritation with the mess he had seen after the half was barely contained in the post game presser. He acknowledged there was much to do, particularly on offense. But he praised the effort by the D and the cornerbacks.

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Looking like he’d been roughed up by blitzes pretty good in the second half,  “Partly Cloudy” Will Stein mouthed the given sports  mantra after such a god-awful mess : ‘It was a win.’   He also frankly admitted that  he and the team were flustered by Murray St. intensifying the blitzes and gap shooting–frankly simple adjustments, that ANY team makes –even an FCS team that gave up 30 pts./game last season and ranked 100 in total D in FCS level .

We SHOULD have been able to counter that with our “greater” talent.     Instead Will and the Cards folded a bit.

WR Devante Parker celebrates after his spectacular, go-up-and-get-it grab for a TD.

(BY the way–Sam Hunter ‘Sam34Gtr’ took pics for Hell in the Hall http://www.flickr.com/photos/fpos/sets/72157627580097620/detail/)

As predicted our D appears to be even  more solid than last year’s squad– and frankly saved the game, when things got a bit tense at 21-9  with about 9 minutes left, and Murray St. knocking again.  Our  question-mark corners played more than capably.  Make no mistake– Murray State’s QB is good. (And their punter and RB Harris were legit too.)  They were ranked 5th last year in Total FCS offense, and returned most of their key skill players there.  Our D actually surprised me a bit–I figured Murray St. would get around two touchdowns or the equivalent.  Our lack of O is the only thing that kept the game close.

Our D came to play, sacking Murray St. 's QB sensation Casey Brockman twice, and holding him to under 150 yds passing, well under his avg.

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Back to that lack of offense.  There are definitely issues with the  lack of O-line experience–a bunch of new guys–and their lack of production.  We got very little “push” out of the line, and they  didn’t open any gaps  of consequence for our running backs to squirt through in the second half–nor did they protect the QB all that well.

I frankly don’t think Will Stein will be able to withstand the kind of weekly physical abuse that he is going to have to endure.  That worries me–more than somewhat, because frankly our other QB’s can’t do any better–at least at this point in time.  Will admitted to taking a beating –and rolling and popping his ankle pretty good.  He had no wheels in the second half–and it showed in his scrambling and in his  pivoting to throw.  It got truly ugly on some of his passes in the second half to wide open receivers.

Kicker Chris Philpott shocked everyone, showing some real wheels in scampering for 48 yds and a first down on two fake punt plays.

Coach Strong was visibly concerned too…although he mouthed the same mantra about any win being a good win, yada, yada…

He stated the obvious– that there is much work to be done, between now and when FIU comes to town.   My personal observation: I think he is VERY concerned about the O-line…and about what the hell is going to happen with the all-important QB position as the season wears on.

There were positives.  Our improved D.  Vic Anderson motoring strongly again. Backed by an explosive Jeremy Wright.  Our wealth of receivers.  And in  Will Stein doing a good job building that 21-0 lead initially.

It was a triumphant return for Vic Anderson,back to his outstanding freshman production levels, as he churned out 61 yds...................and thanked the heavens for this first TD in two long years.

....and thanked the heavens for his first TD in two long years.

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Hey…it’s a first game… yep, it was ugly, and there were drive-killing penalties and turnovers galore.  And we wasted a few timeouts on first downs for god’s sake, just because of confusion.

I say :  Let’s have a Woodford to steady our always jangly nerves after this kind of mess.   And let’s relax and let Charlie and his superb staff work A LOT of magic this week.   Then…let’s see if panic mode is truly warranted…..

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BTW– Jared Swopshire was in the press room and I got a chance to talk to him briefly.  He took in most of the first quarter, and indicated to me that he knew a lot of the guys on the football team, and was there to support them.  Thought the new FBall guys were really going to make a difference….

Now…I also asked him  how things were shaping up with him.  He smiled broadly and said that he “will be ready to go.”  (He also made a point to say this to everyone basically in the press room at one time or another, because…well, we all wanted to know–and I think he truly wanted to let us know he is ready –ready not just to play, but to show his full  talent again.

I asked him what new BBall players surprised him , and he said really no one in particular– he was impressed with the talents of all of them.  Very diplomatic, very well-mannered–and with a good sense of humor– and also sporting a goatee I had not seen before.  Jared, my man…have a great year.

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And now…..just because……the Ladybirds–in pics and video

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