Inside Enemy Lines: A Louisville Preview

It's the Louisville Cardinals invading the home turf of the Kentucky Wildcats. Here's a preview of what Kentucky fans will see from Louisville on Saturday.

Louisville Cardinals (2-0) @ Kentucky Wildcats (2-0)

Saturday September 15, 2007 7:30pm EST.
Commonwealth Stadium (67,000)

Getting familiar with the enemy:

School: University Of Louisville
Founded: 1798
Enrollment: 24,000
Nickname: Cardinals
School Colors: Red and Black
Conference: Big East Conference
Head Coach: Steve Kragthorpe (West Texas State '87)
Record: 29-22/4 (Tulsa University)
@ Louisville: 1st season

Steve Kragthorpe, the former head coach at Tulsa University and the architect of one the nation's most heralded rebuilding efforts, was named the 20th head football coach at the University of Louisville at a press conference on Jan. 9, 2007 in the press lounge at U of L's Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.

Named as the Golden Hurricane coach on December 18, 2002, Kragthorpe turned around the Tulsa program immediately. Prior to his arrival, Tulsa was a combined 2-21 in 2001 and 2002. However, it didn't take Kragthorpe long to turn around the Golden Hurricane program, compiling an impressive 29-22 record and guiding Tulsa to bowl games in three of the last four seasons.

"Steve has everything I look for in a head coach," said U of L Vice President and Director of Athletics Tom Jurich. "He has a proven track record and has high integrity, great morals and values. I like that he's a coach's son and his father Dave is a highly decorated coach. Steve is a great fit for this community. He has produced extraordinary results in a difficult situation at Tulsa and has endeared himself to that community. Everyone I've spoken with nationally says Steve is a great young man and one of the top young offensive minds in the nation. We welcome Steve and his wonderful family to our community and hope they call Louisville home for a long time."

2007 Schedule

Murray State W 73-10 (1-0)
Middle Tennessee State W 58-42 (2-0)
@ Kentucky
@ North Carolina State
@ Cincinnati
@ Connecticut
@ West Virginia
@ South Florida

When Louisville Has The Ball:

College football fans will be hard pressed to find a more dynamic offense than the one Louisville will field in 2007. Heisman candidate Brian Brohm returns for his senior season in which he looks to plant the Cardinals in firm conversation for the National Championship race. The talent doesn't stop with Brohm, as several speedsters return on the offense including All-American candidate WR Harry Douglas as well as 6'6 touchdown maker Mario Urrutia. As if the two before mentioned targets weren't enough of a headache for defenses, tight end Gary Barnidge is one of the top players in the nation at his position. Michael Bush has moved onto the NFL, but there are still quality backs in bruiser Anthony Allen and scat back George Stripling. Three starters return on the offensive line which will be anchored by former All-American center Eric Wood.

Offensive Strategy:

Under previous coach Bobby Petrino, Louisville was a physical running football team that possessed a deadly play action passing series. Kragthorpe is more known for a spread option attack, but don't look for him to change what has worked so well for the Cardinals in previous seasons. You will see multiple formations with several different receivers as well as multiple tight ends. Formation shifts and motion will be used near every play to confuse the defense as well as to overload one side of the ball for the running game, something Petrino was well known for. The passing game will dominate the just of the offense as Brohm is one of the most accurate passers in NCAA history.

When Kentucky has the ball:

The Louisville defense lost DT Amobi Okoye to the Houston Texans with the tenth pick in the 2007 NFL draft, as well as corner William Gay (Pittsburgh Steelers), and Nate Harris (Kansas City Chiefs). Still there are several playmakers that return beginning with linebacker Malick Jackson who became a terror the second half of the season for opponenets. Earl Heyman will man the defensive tackle position now in his third season and former 5-star defensive end Peanut Whitehead will look to continue to spend time in the backfield harassing the quarterback. In the secondary, Rod Council will be one of the top corners in the Big East, however both safety positions will be a concern as not much experience returns as Latarius Thomas is gone for the season with a knee injury.

Defensive Strategy:

Defensive coordinator Mike Cassity is well known for his attacking defenses, and nothing will change that approach this season. Look for pressure to be brought from all areas of the field to force the offense into making mistakes. A strong push from the front four will be needed to help the secondary out as they will play a lot of press man when pressure is applied. Okoye was a big loss as was Harris; UofL has struggled the first two games of the season, but the talent is defiantly there to be a solid unit.

Special Teams:

Art Carmody is the returning Lou Groza winner and is as automatic as they get. Jujuan Spillman and Trent Guy are both electric return guys in both punt returns as well as kickoff's. Todd Flannery returns as a veteran punter, however consistency has often been a problem.


Kentucky finally has the talent at all of the skill positions to beat Louisville. The interior lines on both sides of the ball are getting better for UK, but the depth factor still is in favor of the Cardinals. Both Brohm and Andre Woodson should have their way with the secondary's being somewhat suspect for both programs. Whoever can run the ball most effectively is usually the winner in this rivalry; both teams have done that very well through two games so far in 2007. UK will have to hang in there early, and must get to Brohm and force him into throwing passes with pressure in his face.

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