With the Louisville Cardinals heading into Cincinnati after their tough loss to West Virginia, they need to keep their eyes open as the Bearcats remember the outcome from last seasons game on the cold, wet field of Papa John Stadium. While no one made excuses for the teams poor performance last year, no one called it a revenge game. But you could sense this game was more then a regular season game.
During the Bearcats weekly media luncheon several Bearcats and Coach Mark Dantonio spoke with the media about the programs first Big East win and what lies ahead this Saturday against Louisville.
Senior Captains Adam Roberts and Steve Eastlake both took turns talking with several members of the media. Roberts, who will be looked upon to keep the Bearcats young defensive line focused knows the results from last year will not be accepted.
"Louisville uses a lot of people on offense. You really need to know what your job is when you play them. We left with a sick feeling in our stomachs last year and don't want a repeat of that this season. Looking back I feel maybe we didn't do enough to prepare for them, we won't make the same mistake this year."
When the time came for Eastlake to speak, he stressed how the team wants to see lots of black wearing Bearcat fans on Saturday.
"Having a big fan base come out and supporting us is a big help. On third downs when the crowd gets pumped up, it helps the defense even more. So we want to get as many Cincinnati fans as possible here. Everyone needs to wear their black so we can tell the difference between them and the Louisville fans."
While most offensive linemen keep a low profile, Eastlake knows all eyes will be on him and the Bearcats offensive line Saturday as Louisville defensive end Elvis Dumervil lines up looking to add to his defensive totals.
Dumervil, who will enter Saturday's game with 40 total tackles (16.5 for loss) and 16 sacks, may look to add to his totals against an offensive line that's just gelling. When asked about Elvis, Eastlake had the following to say. "He's a great pass rusher. I played against him some last year. He's not a real tall guy but he packs a big punch and is real quick. He's very strong and very quick so he'll throw some moves on you. I've not gone against many guys like him."
When asked about what he remembers most about last year's game? "I wanted to put that game behind me as soon as we got on the bus. But it's something I've remembered every day over the past year." Said the Bearcats senior co-captain with a deep look of remembrance.
As the media waited on Coach Dantonio, Coach Bobby Petrino took questions from members of the Cincinnati media via telephone. When asked what he felt about the Bearcats, Petrino stated the following.
"I was impressed with the way they played against UConn. They do an excellent job of coaching, they've got those young defensive linemen that play extremely hard, very fast, have good moves, you look at the crew they had a year ago and these young guys are certainly going to be there and I'm just impressed with how hard they play, how physical they are and how well coached they are." They've shown continued improvement and play with effort."
After Coach Petrino finished, Coach Dantonio took the stand and spoke about the emotions of playing football. As for the UConn game, Coach Dantonio spoke highly about the Bearcats offensive line and how well both sides of the line came off the ball hard all game.
The Bearcat coaching staff named the entire offensive line Bearcat Offensive Players of the Week for their performance Saturday. Steve Eastlake, Ryan Brown, Matt Webster, Trevor Canfield and Digger Bujnoch were a big part of the Bearcats rolling up 223 yards rushing against UConn.
As for Louisville Coach Dantonio stressed the fact this was a rivalry game and for that reason the team would be motivated.
"Louisville's a very good football team, their very well coached; they've got excellent concepts both offensively and defensively. Their special teams play extremely hard and they'll be a challenge for us as is every team we play. I do think we got better as a football team last week, but we need to continue to improve and we need to set our sights on Louisville. I think good things are possible when you think that way and were going to expect to win."
While this game pits two new Big East Conference members in their annual grudge match, the 45th meeting of these two rivals should see lots of exciting action on both sides of the ball. The Bearcats lead the Cardinals 26-17-1in this series. But Bearcat fans have seen the Cardinals win six of the last seven match-ups.
Bearcat Insider will be on hand for this game at Nippert Stadium and hope to see many Bearcat fans dressed in black as the Bearcats look to hand Louisville their third loss in the Big East Conference.